Mercy by Rebecca Lim was one of those books that stopped me in my tracks upon seeing the cover. It was shiny, had raised bits, and a solemn-looking girl surrounded by her “hidden” wings. It was everything that would attract a reader from a mile away. The cover was a little beguiling, though.
Mercy is one of the exiles who fell with Lucifer from Heaven. However, being an exile isn’t her biggest problem. She doesn’t remember who or what she is. She seems doomed to spend her days trapped in one human body after another. She’s begun to put together the pieces that she’s supposed to help these humans overcome their crises. When she’s helped one person, she gets dropped into a new life to take over for an indefinite amount of time.
When Mercy wakes up at the beginning of the book, she finds that she has taken over the body of Carmen Zappacosta, a young girl who is aspiring to become a singer. Carmen is constantly at battle for her part as lead soprano in her choir simply because she is the smallest and seems the weakest of all the soprano singers. When Mercy/Carmen is placed with a sponsor family on a choral fieldtrip, she meets Ryan who is still grieving the loss of his twin sister, Lauren. Since his sister’s kidnapping two years prior, Ryan has believed his sister is still alive; and for some reason, Mercy thinks so too. When Mercy begins to grow closer to Ryan, a battle ensues within her. Who is she meant to help in this lifetime – Carmen or Ryan? The choice is difficult: go traipsing around town with this very handsome, edgy, bad-boy-esque guy or help Carmen get her singing career on track. Meanwhile, Mercy is dealing with her own problems. At night, in her dreams, she is haunted by a beautiful creature who cautions her not to help either person.
On the outer core, Mercy is definitely an enthralling tale. There were certain points when I just could not put this book down! Lim had a great premise and weaved Mercy’s background story flawlessly. As the book trailed on, Mercy’s thoughts became sharper as her experiences helped her to begin discovering who she was. The puzzle pieces began to easily fit together, bringing in the picture clearly.
The biggest flaw I found with Lim’s writing was the spotty description. At points the story was so overwhelmed with description that the story itself was put on the back burner. There would be so much description packed in about things that weren’t even essential or relevant. I was often very discombobulated by these parts and found myself having to flip back through the pages to reread section after section to discern what had actually happened in the scene. And at other points, the story had next to no description. I kept wondering what it was that actually made up Ryan’s handsomeness besides his black hair and edgy persona. I think Mercy could have stood having its descriptions spread out through the book, rather than just jam-packed into certain sections. The only other qualm I have with this book is the fact that Lim never really elaborated on why Mercy began having a strong connection to Ryan and what exactly it was that Mercy’s character felt toward him.
Overall, Mercy wasn’t an entirely bad book. Rebecca Lim did a decent job when she wrote this one. I really loved reading the bits where Mercy was starting to discover what powers laid dormant inside of her. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mercy’s powers weren’t just duplicates of angelic powers found in other books of the YA Fiction genre. Mercy seems to be a well-crafted, sweet-natured creature as she struggles to find the balance between her two needy subjects. I have high hopes that Mercy’s next adventure in Exile, the second book in the Mercy series, will have just as interesting of a premise as this one.
I think lovers of the YA Fiction genre will appreciate the story Lim presents about making important choices and how they affect others. However, I wouldn’t call this book one that is re-readable due to the disconcerting descriptions. For that reason, I give Mercy 3 stars out of 5.