Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review: Mercy

Mercy by Rebecca Lim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The back of the book tells us that Mercy is a fallen angel, and there are hints here and there within the text, especially if you know your angelology (yes, it's a word, I had cause to look it up some years ago when I found myself reluctantly dragged into a discussion on the TV show "Supernatural", which I don't watch). But by the end of the book, I don't believe it's been said outright that we're dealing with angels here. And I wonder how many people would realise that we were if the blurb didn't tell us so. It's not a criticism, mind you. Just a note.

I really enjoyed this book. Although I'd seen it in the stores I probably wouldn't have thought to pay much attention to it if Rebecca Lim (the author) hadn't been a speaker at a seminar on Public library services to YA that I went to. I was so impressed by her, and by what she said about this series, that I started buying the books soon thereafter. It took until January to find a copy of the first in the series (Mercy) and then until now to get to picking it up and reading it. But it was well worth the wait, and now I know that I'm going to want to stay on top of this series in the future. In addition, can you imagine how gleeful I am that I have three more books in the series to read *right now*?

In an interview I found, Lim described Mercy as "a YA mystery/crime novel – but with angels and Latin, choral music, school bullies and a whisper of romance thrown in." Which is basically exactly what it is. (And yay for YA books where choral music - albeit Mahler - is part of the plot.)

Things I loved: the way Mercy talked about Carmen: the sometimes disconnected/sometimes fluid connection between the two selves. I hope that if Ryan continues to appear through the series (I really want him to: I much prefer him to Luc. Although of course he may *be* Luc, which I don't like so much. After all, my angelology tells me who Luc really is... :-) ) that we find out what happened with Carmen; I'll be disappointed to leave her story here, as much as I really love Mercy.

Things I found interesting: the fact that I spent most of the book trying to work out whether it was set in the USA or Australia (the author is Chinese-Singaporean-Australian). I still can't tell. I was fifty pages from the end when I found one Australianism (mention of an Anglican church) which was followed on the next page by an Americanism ("First Presbyterian Church" - the few Continuing Presbyterian churches in Australia do not number themselves.) The issue is exacerbated by the fact that the town in the book has the exact same name as the town in the TV show "Bunheads", which is in California.

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