The Blurb reads,
Mercy is a girl who thinks she’s a good girl, but really she’s not.
Then she thinks that she’s a bad girl, but really she’s not.
Gradually she discovers who she really is, and the answer shocks everybody, especially her parents…
In the meantime, Mercy lives in a nation that thinks that it’s a sturdy, well-seated nation, but really it’s not.
Then the nation thinks that it’s falling apart, but really it’s not.
Gradually the nation discovers where it really stands, and that through the turmoil, it’s only grown stronger.
This felt like a fascinating blurb and I picked it up when I saw it was on a blog tour. The next thing I did when I opened the pdf on my phone was balk at the size. As a warning, this book comes at 976 pages. We often ignore the page count on Amazon, or atleast I do, and this book just opened myself to the fact that maybe I should have checked it out first.
The book felt like I was reading the script to a TV show and a sort of Twilight rendition at the same time. This is NOT paranormal. It is urban dystopia, since all events happen in a post apocalyptic world. And I was intrigued as to what would this huge book hold.
The book starts with Mercy wishing to her Grandfather that something exciting should happen in her life when in a few days she gets her wish. The Royal Family gets kidnapped and has to spend time in exile. Life as they know it gets fully upturned. What can one do when something happens like this? Mercy spends time with her cousin, Napthali on whom she has had feelings for as long as she remembered. The book pans out the story of the Royah Hadadians while they are living in catacombs in exile.
Within this huge family, there are inter-linking couples. Mercy has a soft spot for the Royal Cousin Napthali, her sister Promise has always been together with their Grandpa’s son, Baruch. And the married couples themselves, which made interesting reading.
Napthali and Mercy’s relationship reminded me of so many relationships we see around us. Where one person does feel something but never pays any attention to those feelings and the other person always does everything to make sure that the relationship is kept up. I felt glad when their relationship didn’t work out. I always felt it was cruel if someone didn’t respond to the feelings and still kept up with the relationship.
I felt really excited on reading about Ashes. He is called the Dark Child, the one who upsets the balance in Mercy’s life. The attractions between them are for everyone to see. Ashes has lived his life in a coven and has been raised on different principles. He is a flirt and is a resourceful person. He also is sarcastic as a form of retort because of a lack of response. I couldn’t really imagine him with tattoos, but the image I conjured was decent enough.
There were so many thoughts which I had when I was reading this book, a few being
1. Mercy didn’t have any knowledge about sex or about people being together in a relationship. Their parents had decided to have that talk the night before their wedding. I felt that keeping your children innocent is a big task in today’s world but if you manage to do that, how soon is soon enough to give them a glimpse of how bad the world actually is so that they protect themselves? Should we keep protecting our children even after they are grown up? We do remain our parents’ babies forever but when should the child mature enough to actually take on responsibility and not blunder? Are we too biased in wanting to kill a young woman’s dreams or her innocence because that’s how the world is supposed to be and we’d better have the experience to combat it?
2. The flirting between Mercy and Ash. Look, even though someone flirts with you and makes you blush or comes on strong, or tries to manipulate you into spending more time with them, if you have feelings for someone and they are strong, then you should be able to stave off the unwanted affections. Although Napthali does break up with Mercy somewhere in between the book, I didn’t appreciate her shrugging off Ashes’ advances.
3. Ashes! This character was so complex and so beautifully done. Ashes has everything this book needed. The underdog who has an inborn talent which has not been honed. He’s the friend and the protector. I felt Ashes was the true hero. I fell for his charms and his simple friendliness beyond the crusty sarcasm and the layers he wore. It was good to read a book with a strong lead character.
4. I did have an issue with the length. It was much too long. I would have easily shaved about 200 pages off without it affecting the story. There seemed to be too much dialogue, too much internalising, too much of focus on every other character without it being central to the story or it being somewhat necessary. It did bring out the family ties and the psychology of the people but I didn’t feel it was necessary. Sometimes, brevity makes for good reading.
5. The sex scene between Mercy and Ashes is really weird. She is burning with fever when they are trapped under rock and feels like she is dying. Ashes in some form of weird restitution, has sex with Mercy and gets her pregnant, as the cover picture itself shows. It really made me cringe and say, what, that’s how it happens? Not Cool.
6. The ending. I felt as disappointed as I was when I finished reading Breaking Dawn. I’d have expected a harsher ending, maybe a fight or two but there was nothing. The same parallel here. There was too much focus on so much of dialogue and making sure every character had a story which progressed equally, that there was barely any description of the ending. There was supposed to be a fight but it felt so tame. I could not imagine it at all and whenI cannot imagine what a scene looks like, I lose interest. I felt instead of spending so much time working on inter personal deals and marriages and linking up people, there could have been some more spent on detailing the politics and the state of the country. Every character had enough of space already. By the middle pages, Mercy’s dreams and the perennial alterations with her father over her pregnancy when she was unwed were grating. I don’t have qualms when I say I skipped a good deal 100 pages worth of dreams and other whining. I would have loved these to have been spent in writing about the politics and the fight in the end.
7. Mercy!!! She was a really nice person and an innocent one at that. It took her a whole book to realise what she wants and that life does pan out perfectly for you. It took her so long to simply make a decision. I realise that she is a heroine but in no way was she so captivating that every man she met simply wanted a piece of her. There was too little description of her looks to have me imagining that way.
8. Complex Back Characters. Every character had their own story and some had a lot of dark secrets which they had kept buried over the years. It made me realise that we kept ourselves like pressure cookers. Putting in more and more till the top finally bursts one day. It made me realise the futility of the stress we took or the tensions we had and how we failed to live each day as if it were our last day. That, I really enjoyed in this book. The back characters made really good reading. I loved speculating about the future of the country and the twists.
9. The reactions to Mercy’s pregnancy. This part of the book was really hard hitting and I was moved by that. Two people can get attracted and in whatever circumstances they do have sex and if a pregnancy ensues, have they sinned so much? Is the woman automatically a whore? Do emotions and the passion that the couple feel for each other have any sort of role? Why would a father pass judgements against his own daughter when she couldn’t help it? Why won’t your parents support a relationship which you decide to enter into? When is it proof enough that a rational debate places much before an emotional, egoistic stand in this matter? How much of maturity is enough before the two people involved can get their relationship “approved”? Why is there always an onus on two people to prove their love and their worth? Across countries and across time?
I felt there was a lot of Christian talk throughout the book in terms of detailing the Master and how his ways worked and it wasn’t preachy and so it didn’t feel so wrong or I didn’t feel infuriated by it. It was nice to read about how the whole family had faith in a Higher Power who will look out for them.
I liked the ending for Ashes. I really did. I did feel that he deserved some redemption in the ending. I always love it when the underdog proves it to everyone that he is indispensable.
My Rating: 3/5
So the question is, after all this, why a 3 star? I enjoyed a lot in the book. Ultimately, the length did it in for me. As did the fact that just because this is a memoir of a girl doesn’t mean that everything related to politics or a fight or the country has to be so glossed over. I also wasn’t too much of a fan of Mercy. I enjoyed the internal debate over maturing children early and making them enjoy their childhood because that is an essential debate.
The winners for me have to be the complex characters of Ashes, Napthali, Mercy’s parents and her Grandpa. They won it for me and prevented a further downslide of ratings.
This felt like as if I had followed a series on television which had say about 30 episodes and it has come to an end. Maybe the season has come to an end. It was a different read. I just hope the next book doesn’t make the protagonist seem like a bumbling innocent girl who everyone wants a bite of.
Jessiqua Wittman is a child of God, a happy wife and mother, and a dedicated author of gritty fiction novels. Her published works currently include A Memoir of Love, and A Memoir of Mercy. She is also working on a biblical fiction series and a couple short stories. Her e-books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Goodreads, and many other online sites. Both e-books and paperback copies of her books can be found at her author website: www.jessiquawittman.com, and her blog: www.jessiquawrites.blogspot.com. Her email address is jessiquawittman (at) memoiroflife (dot) com.
A Memoir of Love (Memoirs of Life #1)
A post-apocalyptic world, an unlikely band of Revolutionaries, this is the memoir of their struggles and triumphs. A woman describes a refugee colony’s dramatic rise to power. The governmental shift was bound to happen, the only question in the matter is who will be the leader of this new nation. Written in first person, this memoir provides an inside look at those whose lives are destined to become swallowed up and defined by political intrigue.
Great men and women go through all the same trials and temptations ordinary people go through; the stakes are just much higher because everybody is watching them.