MERCE Review

M.E.R.C.E.
by J.P. Hart

I teach Advanced Placement English, and so I spend a fair amount of time involved in deep, close reading, of great and grand literary works, Shakespeare, Homer, Emily Bronte. I just spent a month poring over every sentence and every word of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, examining the diction, the syntax, the figurative language.

So it is a real relief when I can read a book that’s just — fun. MERCE was one of those books.

If you’re looking for a paranormal romance/thriller, this book has what you want: there is the damaged and vulnerable heroine whose pain hides her awesome power; there is the dark and brooding hero who is brought out of his shell by the heroine’s love. There is the all-consuming threat of evil that intrudes on their idyllic bliss, and there is the deadly fight over the fate of the world. There are secrets being revealed in nearly every chapter — secrets about the nature of the characters, about the nature of the world, about the nature of love and friendship and family.

There is action, both pulse-pounding and darkly frightening. There is humor, both sarcastic and absurd. There are twists, some a bit predictable, others entirely out of left field. There are some lovely details, and some excellent writing. There is an EXCELLENT dog, which is always a plus. Sure, there are flaws: some of the chapters cut off in strange places, and some of the writing needs some polish; the romance moves a bit too quickly into total trust and harmony and the heroine moves too quickly into full-on badassery; the terrible, traumatic events of the past are left behind a little too easily. But this is a fun, quick book, by a writer with talent, and as the first book in a series, it’s worth checking out: if you like these characters, you’ll like reading this book, and probably the ones that will follow. I’d give it around 3.5 to 4 stars.

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