Fallen from grace, cursed to live through an eternity of stolen lives, with no memory of why. Mercy only knows she jumps from body to body, life to life, pushing aside the host soul so the body becomes her own. But she doesn't understand why she's doomed to such a fate - what crime did she commit so long ago to deserve this exile from home?
This time, Mercy finds herself thrust into the body of 16 year old Carmen Zappacosta, who's on her way to the small town of Paradise for a choir concert. She's one of the star sopranos, with a voice like no other, but she lacks the confidence to really back it up. Mercy is the polar opposite of Carmen. While Carmen is a doormat, never standing up for herself or taking control, Mercy's confident. She's unafraid of a challenge and doesn't take crap from anybody. Living life after life that will never be hers, full of endless questions and uncertainty, she still finds purpose. Purpose in helping fix the lives she's forced to live, for every one that she's experienced has been in need of mending. She's a surprisingly relatable character who I took quite a liking to.
Carmen's boarding with the Daley's while in Paradise, a family haunted by a tragic past. Two years ago, Lauren Daley was kidnapped. No suspects, no witnesses, no leads. Rumours abound that it was an inside job have placed a dirty mark over the Daley name. The only person who believes Lauren's still alive is her twin brother, Ryan. He's never given up hope or stopped chasing leads of his own to find her, no matter how dangerous. Mercy offers to help him and the further they dig, the more the mystery deepens. Rebecca Lim is brilliant at creating suspense, toying with your mind until you're unsure what to believe anymore. I had suspicions, but was never entirely sure of who the kidnapper was. I loved that page-turning allure, I couldn't read fast enough. The banter and sexual tension between Mercy and Ryan also helped!
The paranormal aspect doesn't overpower the novel, but there's enough of a presence to maintain fascination. You want to learn more, uncover more secrets, find out the depths of these abilities Mercy holds and the mysterious, powerful beings who are hunting her down. Lim drops just enough clues for you to begin the jigsaw of the mythology, but not enough to complete it and I sort of liked that frustrated yearning to learn more. Maybe because I knew I had the next two novels to dive into as soon as I finished haha. But don't despair, while Mercy's otherworldly ordeal still remains an enigma, the very human mystery is solved by the novels end, a dangerous and sickening unveil that will keep you glued to the pages.
Unpredictable, compelling and just a little bit creepy, Mercy's gorgeous prose and page-turning mystery make for an incredibly unique novel. There's a hint of romance, but it's satisfying enough for the romatic lover in me. I snapped open my copy of Exile the moment I finished, thanks to the torturous cliffhanger at the end! Rebecca Lim has crafted something fresh and wholly captivating. I'm excited to discover what awaits Mercy next.