Mercy by Rebecca Lim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
2.5 stars and I am pissed.
This book could have been SO much better.
Let's see: the concept is interesting. Mercy is an angel who, for reasons unknown, possesses bodies of women for purposes unknown. That means that all of a sudden she wakes up in a body that is not hers and she has to live with that body for a certain period of time. In this continuous process, she tries to get to Luc, a mysterious man who she seems to want to be with.
When we meet Mercy, she wakes up in the body of Carmen Zappacosta, a timid, tiny and unattractive girl who is also a soprano and who is going with her school to an annual (?) concert hosted by another school in the tiny town of Paradise. Her host is a family, the Daleys, who's suffered a terrible event: the disappearance of their daughter two years before, Lauren, also a soprano. When she meets Ryan, Lauren's twin, Mercy quickly realizes she needs to help him search for Lauren, whom he believes to be alive. What happened to Lauren? Will Mercy unusual powers be helpful in discovering the truth? and WHO is exactly Mercy?
I'm giving this book 2.5 stars mainly for two reasons. The first is because Rebecca Lim is a talented writer. She can definitely write and her style is way, way better than most authors of paranormal YA out there. You have to check it out to know what I mean but she has a way of describing things which is really evocative and effective, even lyrical at times.
Second, Mercy is a good main character. She evolves in the course of the book, she is strong-willed and we're not really sure whether she is all good. It feels like she has a dark side and I am interested in knowing what's going to become of her.
My main gripe is about the plot. Aside from the fact that she states on page 1 that when she wakes up she no longer knows anything and then, right on page 7, she starts telling who she was in her previous lives, there were a couple of passages where logic eluded me.
On their first attempt to discover where Lauren could be hidden, Ryan and Carmen/Mercy break into a reverend's house. The reverend's family is sleeping inside and they nonchalantly stroll into the house and start checking out rooms. Finding nothing of interest, they decide to look for Lauren, who nobody has seen for 2 years, in the couple's bedroom. Since the reverend and his wife are inside, they decide they need a diversion to get them out of the house. They start bickering about who should go and distract them (family still sleeping inside the room) and Ryan decides to go. So, while Carmen lurks outside the room waiting for the couple to come out, Ryan goes and.... blows up a tree!!! He pulls out a gun and sets a f*cking huge tree on fire! WTF? Isn't it, like, a bit, excessive? But it doesn't end there. Once Carmen has made sure that Lauren is not in the house, she runs out of the house. The reverend SEES her, shouts to his wife to run after her but Carmen escapes, eluding the swarm of firetrucks that are amassing outside the house. Well, this incident NEVER gets mentioned again. Carmen strolls home and that's it. No news next day, no talks in school, no police trying to apprehend the girl the reverend saw. Again: WTF?
And it goes on. At karaoke night, Carmen slurps down EIGHT cokes laced with bourbon in a couple of minutes. Sorry, but I can't believe that. She faints and while everyone wants to, obviously, take her to hospital, Ryan picks her up and takes her home. Another WTF?
But most of all, when at the end of the book, the culprit is discovered, it turns out he had a track record for stalking and harassing a soprano girl. So when ANOTHER soprano girl disappears, why nobody EVER thinks to check on him? Unbelievable.
Sorry to say these facts among others - calling Lucifer and Uriel with lame nicknames LUC and URI is just plain... lame - just irked me to no end.
So if the author could please STOP trying to channel American paranormal YA and be herself a little more, the book would have been so much better.
Because the author is Australian and this was the main reason why I picked up this book. Do we realize the story is set in Australia? NO. It could be the US. We even have a Tiffany bitchy nemesis.
I'm seeing potential in this series and I am willing to read what comes next. We all agree that, at the moment, Australia is like the hen that laid golden eggs in YA lit, so why not exploit this advantage to its fullest instead of trying to be something else?
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