As the second book in the Mercy series by Rebecca Lim, Exile has a very real and fierce story line. In this book, we encounter Mercy in the grips of yet another life she’s been forced into. This go around, she is Lela Neill, the daughter of a dying woman in New Zealand who works in a rundown café in the middle of town. However, the big difference in this life, compared to any other, is that Mercy actually has her memory – at least part of it anyway.
Mercy can remember her past life as Carmen Zappacosta from book one in this series. She remembers Ryan – the human boy who fell for her and she remembers who she is. Mercy can now recall that she is an angel – one of the elohim (the highest ranking angels in history). And most of all, she remembers her beloved Luc. All of this is huge for Mercy as this is the first time her memory is somewhat intact. With her memory comes the willpower to locate her beloved and her life of freedom at all costs.
The characters of this story were marvelously developed. It was clearly easy to see that Lim took precious time in developing Mercy, the elohim, and everyone Mercy encounters in this lifetime. Mercy is steadily learning more about herself, but even through this, she can’t help but lend a hand to everyone she meets in this life, as she feels is her purpose. However, it’s clear that Mercy also has a selfish personality which shines through her life as Lela. Mercy is a complex creature which is embodied throughout her entire story.
While the other characters in this story are mere background people, they are still just as developed as Mercy is. Rebecca took the time to create real humans – people you would encounter in your own everyday life: women beaten down by ex-boyfriends, chirpy little café workers, and the computer geek who frequents coffee shops with their hardware in tow. Their lives could easily be as real as yours and mine. That’s what makes this story so tangible despite its supernatural ideals.
Since beginning to read the first book of this series, I have been quite obsessed. While I have always enjoyed reading books based around the angel races, this one has certainly been a different experience for me. Usually you are somewhat privy to the information about what an angel can do in the series you are reading, but that is not the case in this one. Lim has crafted the story in a way where Mercy’s powers are revealed to you when they are revealed to Mercy herself.
The Mercy series, and especially this book, has a slow feel to it, but it is completely understandable as to why. Mercy doesn’t know exactly what she is and what she can do. She’s discovering it slowly just as we, the readers, are. Its pacing gives it an overall “real-time” feel which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall, I think anyone who enjoys reading YA books about the angel races would enjoy Exile and the journey Mercy is sent on. I’d easily give this book 5 out of 5 stars since it has such a strong story line and such strong characters. Plus, it has an ending you’d never expect!