Diana's Reviews > Exile

Exile by Rebecca Lim
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it was ok

Why?!

Mercy was a fantastic book, so after a few minutes debating whether I wanted to read the sequel or let the first book stand on its own, I went ahead and bought Exile.

And boy, I rather wish I hadn't.

So first, I want to say that Rebecca Lim writes beautifully. Her lyrical prose was all that kept me going at a few points.

Now, onto the bad. A fat lot of nothing happens in this book. Mercy wakes up in a new body and once again struggles to adapt to the new girl's life. Oh, and Luc tells her to find Ryan from last book because he loves her and so Luc can use that to make him and Mercy be together.

Say what? The events of the last book took place over one week, during half of which Ryan thought Mercy was a normal girl! Sure, they clearly grew fond of each other over the week, but this seems to me like Lim milking the insta love trope we find all too often these days in YA. In fact, I picked up the first book because reviews promised it didn't have that. And in Exile Mercy has basically a one track mind when it comes to finding him, not just because Luc tells her to but because she is in love with him. (Not that the narration ever says so, but her actions and feelings make it pretty clear.) Mercy's drive to find Ryan is so selfish that it erases what I liked about her character in the first book, that she makes the best of her sticky situation by pushing her hosts in a better direction in life. It's especially frustrating because her love for him really doesn't seem to have much of a basis aside from his being gorgeous and in love with her. Ryan also comes off as incredibly irresponsible, dropping everything to fly halfway around the world to pick her up within the week. This after the author states that he's still in school--and finally starting to pass his classes because he's finally putting work into them. I mean, it is sweet that he's so devoted to her, but I think the problem here is the lack of development. Last book we saw him and Mercy becoming friends over a week, and this book we are informed that he is now madly in love with her. It's a jump the author just told us instead of showing.

Also, what made Mercy's selfishness particularly painful this book is that her stupidity directly causes (view spoiler) I'm really not a fan of how Lim stops time to tell the reader things.

That's not to say it was all bad. Lim's writing is beautiful as before and there were scenes that made me cry. She has a talent for capturing the beauty in small, ordinary moments in life. There was the memory last book of a previous girl and her boyfriend walking home at night, and this book the mother shares a beautiful memory of being on a houseboat. They sound so bland as I describe them here, but in Lim's hands the memories are something lovely, something even strangers like the reader can relate to and cherish.

In short, Exile was a disappointment after Mercy set the bar so high. I read it because I wanted to find out more about Mercy's story but maybe I should have just let the first book stand on its own. I'm really not sure I will pick up the third book, after how disappointing this one was.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 23, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 24, 2014 – Shelved

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