By Misty Provencher
Publication Date: December 8, 2012
Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
My will to survive is the first thing to drown.
I know, because I hold it under myself.
After facing severe tragedy in life, Madeline assumes her death will be easy.
But the angels do not come to take her to Heaven.
Instead, what retrieves her is something she never expected: a gargoyle.
Delivered to Truce, the King of the Gargoyles, Madeline now has choices she never wanted. She has the ability to take over the entire Gargoyle Kingdom, if she is willing to kill the king. However, looking to prevent takeover, Truce transforms Madeline, thereby granting her the ability to achieve the thing she wants most—death—if she can just find the human recipient for the Gargoyle Gift that she now has to give. It should be easy.
But lives, whether they are lived or not, are seldom simple, and Madeline’s past still stands in her way. Now, only a voyeur in the life of The Boy with the Golden Rod Voice, Madeline’s must reconcile her own life and death, if she ever hopes to have free reign of her soul.
Opening and closing my mouth like a dying fish is pretty much the look I’m pulling off as I’m thinking about what to say about Mercy right now. It was really good – good enough that I’m not above begging Provencher for a sequel or a second book in the same world – but I don’t exactly know what this was. Parts of it were seriously gruesome and dark but it was introspective and had an uplifting moment or two as well. It was just…wow.
This is a pretty easy story to spoil, so I’m going to annoy myself and keep things pretty vague (my OCD writer is wailing, trust me). It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that Madeline began the book by drowning herself. After her death, a gargoyle took her body to The Gargoyle King who explained why she’d been picked up and what her future could be. Yeah, that pesky bit about how she knew the gargoyle had come and gotten her body and how she could hear Truce, The Gargoyle King, talking to her is all part of what you’ll know too, but it’s just freaky and one of those things you’ll have to read to find out. As Truce is telling Madeline these things and all she’s feeling is anger and frustration that her choice was taken away, I was thinking how unutterably sad it was that this poor girl hadn’t seen the injustices she’d suffered in life or death. She wasn’t even allowed much of a choice in what she ends up becoming.
Stuck in a form she loathes, Madeline is dropped on the roof of a building with the order to learn to fly. While she’s up there with her useless wings, she sees that the boy who broke her heart living in the apartment across the street. Aaaaand – yeah, that’s where I have to leave you. Madeline has to make a lot of discoveries and decisions about who she was and what she wants for herself and to do that, she has to observe and learn. It’s painful stuff sometimes and not always only for Madeline.
There are places this story goes, especially in the beginning, that “dark” isn’t a strong enough word for. My heart was in my throat, my skin felt like it was too small and I wasn’t sure which way I wanted Madeline to go. Without two full chapters going by, this wounded girl was mine. Provencher confused the hell out of me with this gargoyle business – I had no idea what I was looking at, hearing, sorting out in my head – but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I felt a bit like I was in Madeline’s shoes, listening to this all and wondering what weird world had I just been thrust into. The larger-than-life Truce and his personal gargoyle took up so much airspace, it wasn’t until they left that I started to think about things.
Madeline was just a beautiful character. She was so broken at the beginning and so different at the ending, it obviously made all of the soggy, painful and I-want-to-kill-him moments in between worth it.
Mercy is going on my list along with Splintered by A.G. Howard as one of my favorite reads so far of 2013. It’s unusual and it might not appeal to everyone – there isn’t any traditional romance, there are a couple of heavy social issues and it’s a little macabre sometimes – but it was gorgeously written and so boldly defied description that I couldn’t put it down for a minute.
My Rating: A