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After I finished reading a funny light hearted book I felt like starting a book a little different with a mystery involved. As this book is described inside as 'an electric combination of angels, mystery and romance' it sounded a perfect read. Unfortunately I have never wanted a book to end so much, I wasn't going to stop persevering through the book but due to the fact I was totally confused through the whole book and barely understood anything that was happening, I thought the book was never going to end. Last night, to my relief, I finally finished the long 280 pages but am still not entirely sure what I read.
The book is about an angel who is named Mercy, although that is not her real name, as she doesn't know who she is or where she comes from, or anything else about herself. Mercy is inhabited in another humans body to try and help them out. In this book she inhabits Carmen, who goes away for a music thing with her choir. Carmen lives with a family whilst away in the room of Lauren's who disappeared a while ago. Lauren's parents don't believe she is coming back but her brother Ryan still believes she is out there somewhere. Carmen helps Ryan try to find out the mystery behind the disappearance and return Lauren home but its not as easy as they think.
From this point on to about twenty pages before the end of the book is the part that confused me most. The ending of the book was good but not as good as i'd have hoped for the length of time I spent reading this book.
My favourite part of the book (which was the only bits I vaguely understood), were the chapters with Mercy and Ryan as I found they had a good relationship and had good descriptions. I really liked when Ryan saw Mercy glowing as it was interesting to see how she would respond.
I think the concept of book is a great idea but the writing could have been better. I feel I know no more about the book now than when I started! The likelihood of me picking up the next book to read is very slim.
The moment I read the synopsis for Rebecca Lim's young adult novel, Mercy, I was drawn to this book. Angels may well be the new vampires, but this sounded very different. Promising an "Electric combination of angels, mystery and romance", a fallen angel searching for her way back to heaven, and a suggested love triangle between Lucifer himself and a human boy it sounded like it could be absolutely amazing and I had to read it. I was right in that Mercy is extraordinarily different and from page to page I had no idea what to expect, however it wasn't quite what I feel I was lead to believe from the publishers blurb.
The book begins with Mercy waking up in a stranger's body. She doesn't know where or who she is, only that this happens again and again. She has no idea why this happens or whom she was before her constant journeying from host to host began. This time she's in the body of quiet misfit Carmen, aboard a coach with the school choir visiting another school in order to perform with them. The students are placed with local families during their stay, only Carmen seems to have drawn the short straw and finds herself placed with the tragic Daley's whose own daughter and local star soprano, Lauren, mysteriously disappeared two years ago. Drawn to angry and vengeful brother Ryan, Mercy feels she has been sent here for a purpose, but what exactly will that be?
I was sucked in to this book immediately by the beautifully tragic prose Lim uses in her opening chapters as Mercy finds herself falling into Carmen's life. It's almost poetic and completely captured my imagination. I was all set for something truly amazing. However I was quickly surprised to see the book taking a different path from what I had originally presumed from the synopsis. The main focus of this book is the mystery of Lauren's disappearance and although Mercy discovers some pretty amazing powers on her journey, the paranormal element is a definite undertone.
That isn't to say this was a bad thing, I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, which in itself was gripping and well executed. I thought Lim imagined the overwhelming despair and depression of Lauren's parents perfectly to the point I could feel the weight of it as I read. Ryan is also perfectly crafted as the brother angry at a world who has now written his sister off as dead but refuses to stop believing. I particularly enjoyed the developing trust and tenderness between Mercy and Ryan. In contrast to many other YA Paranormal characters, there's almost no romance between the two. It's built on respect and trust, and while Mercy does mention a couple of times feeling attracted to him, that's as far as it goes. Again this relationship completely sets apart this book from many others on the market.
However I felt the publishers blurb found on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads may have been a little misleading and is possibly an overview for the whole series rather than this book. It's actually only from reading this synopsis on the internet that I know what Mercy actually is, as by the end of the book although closer to knowing the truth, she's still in the dark. There's no mention at all of Lucifer, although we do get brief glimpses through her dreams of a mysterious Luc (who could possibly be Lucifer?), and other possible fallen angels, though it's all very vague. Again, if it weren't for the blurb I wouldn't really have had a clue who or what these beings may be and found this confusing. I also felt Carmen, Mercy's human host could have been expanded upon and would have liked to know more about her other than she could sing. It seemed to me a shame to hijack this characters life and induce some attachment to her, and then discard her without any thought.
At just 270 pages of quite large text, the problem may be that there was just too much story left uncovered. This almost felt like two different books at times, the mystery of Lauren's disappearance being one, then the occasional vague and confusing celestial thread another. It's a very complex plot and pretty amazing how so much was fitted into relatively few pages. On the upside, this made the book a very easy and breathtaking read and rarely lost pace. On the other side though it did leave me feeling confused at times. Rereading my review I'm left wondering if the series was written as a book, but then someone decided to split it at the last minute.
For the most part, despite the flaws, I very much enjoyed reading this book (more than my review may indicate) and think the series does have huge potential. Rebecca Lim uses language beautifully and evokes emotions and imagery very well. I was gripped by the unpredictability of the story and never knew where things were heading. I read the book in two sittings and will certainly be following Mercy's story in the future, as the book tells us at the end, Mercy awakes in May 2011.
~ Other Information ~
Mercy by Rebecca Lim
Published October 2010 by Harper Collins