Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Mercy Series By Rebecca Lim—Review

SUPER LONG POST COMING UP. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.



Okay, so, here’s what happened: Some months ago, in the summer of 2012, I checked MERCY BY REBECCA LIM out from the library. And read it. And loved it. And knew there were more books in the series. But the library did not have those books. So, when I got, like, three B&N/Amazon giftcards for my birthday in September, I used some of that giftcardy-ness to buy the first three books: Mercy, Exile and Muse. But I had other stuff to read. By the time I finally had some time put aside to read this series it was December. BUUUT—I was on goodreads and I found out that there WAS ANOTHER book in the series. That was already out, no less. So I had to buy that one before I could read this series. I didn’t buy that one until February (and let me tell you—is quite an ordeal actually finding it.) Then I finally had the whole series—or so I thought. Because THEN—Rebecca Lim put up a blog post saying she was currently working on the NEXT INSTALLMENT of the Mercy series. I groaned, then commented on that blog post, explaining my predicament (because I wanted to read the whole series in one straight shot—that was the point of all this. And now I couldn’t. Now I’d have to wait for this fifth one.). Rebecca Lim commented back to me that it would take her a while to write and I should read the series now anyway. And you know what? I wanted to. So, it was this pas weekend when I finally cleared some time to read the Mercy Series. And read it I did.
But, since I did not review them separately (like I read the second one, then launched straight into the third one without pausing to review it) It will now be sort of impossible for me to review them separately—so I’m just ding a full series, spoiler-free, review on my blog.

The Plot: 4.5/5
Mercy (book 1): Mercy ‘wakes up’ in the body of Carmen Zappacosta, who is singer that’s traveling to a town called Paradise with her school to participate in a singing competition. She’s staying with a host family, the Daley’s. From Mercy’s memories of the past two people that she ‘soul-jacked’ they had some pretty sucky lives, that she went some way to fixing. But there seems to be nothing untowardly awful in Carmen’s life—Besides a bad skin condition and being one of the unpopular girls. But there is something untowardly awful with her host family—their daughter, Lauren went missing two years ago, and is presumed dead. But Ryan, Lauren’s twin brother, insists she’s alive, that he ‘feels’ her. Luc, who Mercy knows is one her true love though she knows little else and who always visits her in her dreams urges her to do nothing and he will find her. But Mercy as Carmen decides to help Ryan find Lauren anyway.
So, we kind of have a little murder-mystery going on here, but also a very interesting rhetorical choice that Rebecca Lim made for this series overall. In my literature classes, Dramatic Irony has been defined a when the audience (or reader) knows something the characters don’t. In this book, we know Mercy is an angel—whilst she has no idea. And knowing that Mercy is an Angel, it’s fairly easy to infer that Luc is Lucifer. Mercy, however, does not discover this til book three. And we also have the romance plot—Luc wooing Mercy in her dreams, but her and Ryan falling for each other as they search for Lauren.
Exile (Book 2): Mercy ‘wakes up’ as Lela Niell of Australia, whose mother is terminally ill and dying. Lela works at a coffee shop and… Lela actually has a pretty boring life. This book had the weakest plot, if you ask me. Anyways, Luc tells her in her dreams to find Ryan Daley—a human boy who fell in love with her, Mercy, in her past life, as Carmen Zappacosta. (Mercy remembers nothing of her life as Carmen) Luc says if she finds him and returns to his home—Paradise, that he will find her. So Mercy as Lela promises a guy who comes to the coffee shop a date if he’ll help her look up some stuff online. First she has him look up Carmen Zappacosta—because she can’t remember anything of her time as Carmen. Then she asks him to look up Ryan—and he does. I THINK that they find Ryan on Facebook (not sure, though). So anyway, Mercy asks this guy to help her set up a facebook account so she can communicate with Ryan. The guy, Ranald, sets up a facebook account for her, using his email because Mercy doesn’t know if Lela has one—or if she does, what it is. I’m not the most internet-savvy person in the world, but as soon as Mercy started communicating with Ryan, working out a plan where he’ll come and get her before her promised date with Ranald—I saw the problem. Long story short, we had some pretty epic stuff at the end of this book.
One thing that drove me to distraction whilst reading this book was the dialogue. They did the dialogue with single quotation marks, instead of double. Showing this to some of my friends, they agreed that it would drive them insane too. If I had given up, it would have been at this book. With that quotation fail and a weak plot—but I soldiered on, and I’m glad I did.
Muse (book 3): Mercy ‘wakes up’ as Irina with an unpronounceable last name, who is a nineteen-year-old famous Russian supermodel. Mercy now remembers her life as Carmen—and her other lives—and other things in general. She finally starts figuring out some of the things. It’s in this book we meet by name a lot of the other angels and have conversations with them, and generally start getting the whole story on what exactly happened to Mercy. We also have a quite a large battle at the end, when Mercy finally also figures out that Luc is the devil.
It was in this book that I realized that Ryan and Luc look just about the same. I mean, I think there had been something about hem looking similar in one of the dreams with Luc in Exile, but I didn’t actually realize they look the same. I mean it was in this book Mercy said that they could be twins except Luc had golden hair, eyes and skin and Ryan had pale skin and dark hair and eyes.
The quotation fail continued in this book, but it bothered me less. Maybe I’d been getting used to it, maybe because the plot was stronger here, I don’t know.
Fury (book 4): There’s not much I can say about this book without spoiling. Mercy finally gets and uses her own body. She and Ryan have quite a few cool moments. Um… more stuff with angels. The rest of the plot about what happened to Mercy and why gets unraveled some more. There’s this whole internal struggle—because if Luc gets his hands on Mercy, he’ll be able to end the world as we know it. And it would be so easy for him to get his hand son her—if anyone says her real name, the shit hits the fan. There’s quite a lot of action going on this book. It’s just—when I closed it late last night, I could say nothing for about five or ten minutes. When I finally could say something it was: “Oh. My  God. So. Frigging. Epic.”
I honestly don’t see how there will be another book in the series. I mean, okay, there were a couple things left unexplained—the connection between Luc and Ryan, for example. Lim went to all that trouble to make sure I realized they looked like twins—so they must be somehow related or connected, because I don’t buy coincidences. Not like that, and certainly not in a book. We also didn’t learn Mercy’s real name, but I think I’ve guessed it. And, I mean, with how this ended—I’m just not sure how another book could be written with out pointlessly drawing out something that’s already ended.
And, more than that, it ended. BUT I’M OKAY WITH THE ENDING. Do you have any idea how much I detest endings? I am NEVER happy with endings. NEVER. But I am cool with this one.
Also, though the quotation fail continued in this book as well, I BAREY NOTICED IT. Either because I was finally used to it or it was just that good of a plot, or both, I don’t know. But I barely noticed it.

Now, there’s a lot more of the plot that threads overall through the series that I wasn’t able to explain in my individual plot breakdowns, but it’s all very good.

Characters: 5/5
Humans-
Ryan: Ryan is the most awesome, beautiful, amazing, character—and he was real. The doubts he had, when he had them? They were real and they were at the places here they would have happened for a real person. More than his doubts, his love. He chased Mercy around the world. The only thing was, maybe, at one point he could’ve questioned Mercy as to why he looked exactly like Luc—which probably would have led to us figuring out their connection.
Lauren: I kind of wish we’d had more interactions with her. She was one of the main forces driving the plot of book 1, and we had one real interaction with her, in book 1. We had a couple more interactions with her in book 4, but one was phone conversation, and in the others, there were so many other people there. But Lauren’s conversation with Michael—that was cool.
Ranald: Ranald was I’m calling a mini-antagonist. Meaning, the real antagonist was unable to do anything to really drive the plot forward, but something needed to happen, so the author employed the technique of using the mini-antagonist so that something would happen. Not saying that I don’t like him as an antagonist. I do. His role as the mini-antagonist is pretty much what made book 2 for me. If he hadn’t been there, I may have actually stopped reading at book 2.
Justine: Oh, wow, Justine. Her back story is so… so awful, but real, you know?
Gia: I LOVE Gia. She has got to be my favorite secondary character in the series. I actually wouldn’t mind a spin-off centering on Gia, if the author has anything like that in her mind. My favorite Gia line: “Oh, the sexy ex,”
Angels-
Uriel: I feel like all the angels are ‘related’ they’re all brothers and sisters, but in a sort of abstract sense. But Uri and Mercy are more literally brother and sister. Probably because they were described as looking alike. And when they were in Peru, the natives thought they were brother and sister, too. And also, the interactions we have with him in the fourth book, just make me feel like they were more closely related than the other angels.
Gabriel: You know, I sort of wish that if Rebecca Lim is writing more to the Mercy Series, instead of going forward (which I believe is pretty much impossible at this point) she’d go back so we could get the FULL story on what happened, and also we’d get a more in-depth look at Mercy’s relationships with all of these angel characters. But from what we have seen so far, I think Mercy’s relationship with Gabriel was amazing. It was a friend thing. I love friend things. Even though I’ve said boy-girl best friendships are hokey unless one is love with the other, but recently, I’ve been wanting more boy-girl best friendships WITHOUT one being in love with the other. Call me a hypocrite.
K’el: You know what, I really liked him. I feel out of all the Angels we interacted with, we got the most out of this character in the interactions we had with him. I did pick up some intense romance vibes from him to Mercy.
Nuriel: Again, I wish we could go back in time for the next book to get some more in-depth looks at the character relationships here. My favorite Nuriel line: “Tell him I broke when I couldn’t bend.”
Raphael: We had exactly (what amounts to in my mind) one half of a character interaction with him. But he caused everything.
Mercy: Well, here is our main character. I wouldn’t be reviewing like this if I hadn’t liked her, because if I hadn’t liked her, I would not have read the whole series. I mean, in the first two books, she had this situation where she didn’t know anything. She didn’t know the what of it, the why of it, the how of it, but she did the best she could. And also, I agree with her views on free will—nothing is preordained. And in the last two books, how she took everything that was thrown at her and did what she could with it—and the human reactions to what was happening to her: Who lies to me? Who lies? Figuring it out, yet still feeling something for Luc, even knowing what he did to her. Still wanting him, being jealous of him—very human reactions. Especially for an angel.
Luc: And here is the main antagonist. He’s—I understand. I kind of understand what drove him to—you know, fall. It’s the same thing in every story, he was vain, he was arrogant, he thought he was better than God. And I sort of understand that, I sort of—empathize with that. You know the worst thing for a reader? Is when you’re reading, and all the sudden you realize that you wouldn’t be the main character. You’d make different choices, selfish choices. And the worst thing is realizing the character you’re most similar to is the antagonist. That’s happened to me before. Not with this book, not quite. With this series, I’m probably more similar to Nuriel or Lauren. I kind of wish I’m most similar to Gia. But what I’m saying is—I get why Lucifer, the Devil, did what he did. And that’s kind of scary.

Romance: 5/5
Mercy seemed to be in high demand. Because, there was obviously her romance with Luc, but there were also some major hints dropped about there being something between her and Raphael. I also think I picked up on some romance vibes in her interactions with K’el, too. You know what? Maybe there are just too few female angels.
But the main romance was that of Mercy with Ryan, which I just loved. I’ll be talking about their romance as it is in the last two books Muse and Fury. I loved how profound it was, because there were boundaries between them, and Mercy knew—she knew it was dangerous for him, so she tried to push him away, and Ryan, he knew too—that it was dangerous. There was this sort of tug-of-war thing going on, especially in the last book here at some points Mercy would try to push Ryan away, because of the danger, but he’d insist on staying. Mercy always made it very obvious that it was his choice. At one point, he said something like “I can’t help it, it’s fate.” And Mercy said: “No, I’m not your fate, Ryan. I’m your choice.” That whole choice thing was very important to her, and he chose to stay when she was pushing him away. But then, at other times, Ryan would suddenly be like “I’m a liability, aren’t I? Without me, you would go faster, be stronger, be able to do what you need to do—I’m unnecessary.” And Mercy would say, “You are necessary, you’re necessary to me.” so, in the last book, there love was very much her pushing him away but his insisting to stay, then him pulling away, but her puling him back—and it went back and forth, back and forth. But it wasn’t tedious. It all went down the right way, to make sense, made it seem real, like the way two real people would react in their situation. 


Overall grade: 14.5/15
And the only reason it's not 15/15 is because of book 2.

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