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Really Ravishing Review (Mercy)

literati_rain66 Friday, May 20, 2011 ,
MercyReview of Mercy, by Rebecca Lim. 

Quickie: Delightful. Mercy managed to be fresh, despite it's recently over-used paranormal element. (That's a compliment, by the way)

Note: I read Mercy without a clue as to what it was about. I didn't read the back cover. I went in cold turkey, and I'm glad I did. Sometimes the back cover can really spoil the first half of the book... Anyhow.

Full: Mercy wakes up in a new body. She's disoriented and desperately trying to untangle the clues to her new life. She's only in this life temporarily, or, that's what she seems to remember about this whole experience anyway. Mercy's self-awareness is vague and incomplete, but she's certain that she's not the person this body belongs to, Carmen. But -plop- here she is, in Carmen's body, on a bus headed to a multi-school singing engagement.

With a single touch Mercy discovers that the people she's to be staying with, her host family, are struggling to cope with an impossible grief. Their daughter Lauren has been missing -possibly dead- for nearly two years. Mercy, Carmen, whoever she is, is going to be staying in this missing girl's bedroom. The anguish this causes the family is painfully obvious and made worse by an outburst from Lauren's brother, Ryan. He doesn't believe Lauren is dead. After all, she is his twin. He would know. But his parents feel that it's time to move on, and thus they've begun hosting singers in their home again.

Mercy can't help but feel like maybe Ryan's right. And she can't help feeling like maybe this time, instead of just biding her time until she wakes up as someone else, she can do something. She can make a difference. She can help.

Her resolve is only strengthened when another girl goes missing. The stakes are getting higher and time is running out.

What did I think about Mercy? I was pleasantly surprised. Here's why.

Mercy: At first you get the impression that she's sort of rolling her eyes. "This again. Great. Another body, let's see what I'll have to put up with this time." She's not all that concerned with the body she's in, she just wants to survive it. But then she becomes invested and you see her turn from the eye roller to a caring being who puts others before herself. That was lovely.

Mercy also keeps her cool. I mean, how freaky would it be to keep winding up in a different body, with only glimpses of the reason why? She's weirded out and a little jumbled at first, but goodness. I should hope so. But in spite of the constant body-jacking, she's still with it. She tries her best to get the body she's using through their life all in one piece, without totally destroying their life for them.

The paranormal element: Okay, sure, if you read the back cover or almost any review, you'll know what this mysterious element is... but I'm of the belief that sometimes it's really just best to read the book. Anyhow, I was happy to see such an interesting take on it. It wasn't the typical story, and it wasn't the more recent "How can I make this typical story into a non-typical story... oh! I'll add something paranormal.. and something else paranormal that doesn't normally go together. Aha!" kind of deal. THANK YOU, Rebecca Lim, thank you.

The mystery: There were a couple different mysteries in Mercy, and I liked them both. There was the obvious one- Where is Lauren, who took her, why? and then the less obvious but very interesting- Who is Mercy really? How did she wind up like this? I was a big fan of both.

The singing: Yes. I'm a choir geek. I admit it. In fact, I'm proud of it. So the environment was comforting and familiar to me. It's just not something that shows up in many books I read.

Should you read it? Yeah. I think so.

4 out of 5 stars.


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