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Book Reviews

Review: “Mercy,” Rebecca Lim

August 21, 2011
Review: “Mercy,” Rebecca LimMercy (Mercy #1)
Written by Rebecca Lim
Published November, 2010 by Angus & Robertson
280 pages
Genres: Angels & Demons, Mystery
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two-stars

Mercy ‘wakes’ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business… or thinks they do. But Mercy has a secret life. She is an angel, doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, taking on a new ′persona′ each time she does, in an effort to resolve a cataclysmic rift between heavenly beings.

The first of a brilliant new series sees Mercy meeting Ryan, an eighteen-year-old whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is presumed dead. When another girl is also kidnapped, Mercy knows she has to act quickly and use extraordinary powers to rescue her, even if it means exposing her true identity.

Mercy unfortunately falls into the basket of ‘a paranormal book without much paranormal’. Like other angel books before it, this debut by Rebecca Lim falls a little short. While some readers will grasp on to the potential of this series, I find myself unable to do the same.

I really wanted to like Mercy, but it was just… okay. It’s not bad, it’s not good. Rebecca Lim’s writing was quite beautiful but the story itself felt a little bland. I found myself confused about where the story was going, what we as readers were meant to ‘know’ firsthand before diving in, and feeling completely unattached to any of the characters.

Mercy – as Carmen – was an alright storyteller, but I can’t even remember if we’re even told explicitly she’s an angel or if I had just gathered that from the blurb on the back of the book. For the most part I think she’s in the dark, although it’s painstakingly obvious from what’s happening to her – and the ‘angelic like’ creatures that keep invading her dreams – what her true heritage is. Not to mention she also glows and can do all sorts of strange, angelic things.

Ryan, as a love interest, was pretty generic, and although I could fathom the friendship forming between he and Mercy, I didn’t see any attraction despite Mercy insisting there were sparks. I don’t want to be told. I want to feel the connection.

I found myself halfway through the book and still feeling as if I was within the preliminary chapters. For the most part, Mercy was set in a school where there is some kind of musical/choir/singing workshop being held. I was pretty uninterested with the social dynamics that were being laid out and described (Tiffany, etc.) and the singing information in general. I felt they took a lot away from the promised supernatural plotline. Instead of learning more about the angel lore and history of the characters, we’re learning who’s got the best singing voice and who can triumph over whom vocally.

There’s also the mystery-on-the-side of who abducted Ryan’s sister, Lauren. Although Mercy has the ability to touch people and ‘see’ into their souls, she only puts this to good use a couple of times.

I think Rebecca Lim had some great ideas, but her execution didn’t carry them to their full potential. I’m so confused about the ‘angel’ aspect of the book (about Luc and his angelic brothers) and I’ll admit I was counting on at least some of the loose ends to be tied up by the end of it. Instead, Mercy ends with a cliffhanger that offers nothing in the way of angelic resolution.

Reading the blurb for the next one, I kind of just sigh. It doesn’t sound like the book has evolved and I dread that it’s going to start over from scratch again. If I had more patience I would probably read Exile, but at this point in time I’m a little over expending my reading time on series I can’t grasp with enthusiasm straight off the bat. For me, Mercy is another series – much like Alyson Noel’s The Immortals – that I’ll decided to skip.

Recommended to: If you’re curious about this series, give it a go. The beautiful covers certainly drew me in. Like I said, Rebecca Lim’s writing makes it finishable and the book itself is easy to breeze through. Think The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting, mixed with angels.

About Rebecca Lim

Rebecca Lim is a writer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a commercial lawyer for several years before leaving to write full time. Her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Polish.

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