Mercy by Misty Provencher

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This book intrigued me from its very first lines. The opening sequence has a dream like quality and is beautifully written, simply poetic in form. Death pervades the pages of this book, in one form or another, and yet Madeline’s journey seems to be an unconscious, and sometimes unwilling, struggle toward hope.
Provencher gambles with this book and its subject matter. Not only does she weave fantastical elements in with highly sensitive contempora6a015390e082b4970b019affb7d6e5970d-600wiry issues, she challenges the usual stereotypes and clichés that one normally finds in dark urban fantasy (or fiction in general.) And for the most part (a little on this further on,) I feel she succeeds.
There are moments in Mercy that are so poignant, so universal, that my breath was literally taken away. In my opinion, an underlying theme of this book is maternal guilt and the journey to absolution. It is not blatant, and some may disagree, but as a mother, it was so clear to me. I wept so many times, the images painted so vividly. They called to me on a visceral level. What mother does not have some kind of guilt? But at the same time, Provencher hits on other dark issues that would speak to a wide audience and perhaps it’s not just maternal guilt, but guilt in general that the characters strive to escape.
Negatives that I can touch on, but shouldn’t be a deal breaker, are the idea of gargoyles. It took me some time to suspend my disbelief, mostly because I was confused as to what was happening to Madeline –still, I’m not exactly sure why her transformation happened the way it did or why it was significant. As I read on, however, I soon forgot those issues.
Also, something that bothered me to a degree was the lack of setting. Most of the book is set in a central location or one kind of central location. I found myself wishing she would go somewhere else, or get away.
Over all, Provencher was incredibly brave to write this book. Her insight to the human state is profound and her ability to delineate our experiences in such a vibrant and insightful way deserves praise.

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