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Saturday, May 21, 2011

EXILE By Rebecca Lim. Sydney: HarperCollins, 2011

In Mercy, we met the fallen angel of that name. At least, that’s what she calls herself for convenience, because she doesn’t remember what her actual name is. All she knows is that she was once big in heaven and somehow stuffed it up, hanging out with her beloved Luc (Lucifer?), who led the rebellion. For thousands of years she has been thrown into different human bodies and lives, leaving when the time was right – or necessary!

I saw the first book as Quantum Leap with angels, with Mercy as a sort of female Sam Beckett who didn’t have the benefit of the friendly hologram Al to help her work out what she was there to do.

Mercy was a mystery-adventure in which the heroine helped both Carmen, the young soprano whose body she was inhabiting and Ryan, a boy whose sister disappeared a couple of years ago, before “leaping” from Carmen’s body into another life.

Now Mercy is inhabiting Lela, a Melbourne waitress whose mother is dying of cancer. And Luc is back in Mercy’s dreams, urging her to return to Paradise, the town in which she met Ryan, and find him again. Only this way, he tells her, can she and Luc be re-united. Because Ryan had seen and cared for her even when she was in Carmen’s body, Mercy finds the idea rather appealing. After all, Lela will soon be alone and free to run off with Ryan, if she can find him. And there is this thing called the Internet, which can be used to find just about anyone.

Why, she thinks, shouldn’t she consider herself for once?

But things are not that simple in the human world or in angelic warfare. Is Luc quite as wonderful as he seems? Are the group of angels known as “The Eight” quite as dreadful as Luc would have her believe?

And who is going to die on the same day as Lela’s mother?

Despite her tendency, in this novel, to stuff up, Mercy still manages to help some of the characters whose lives cross Lela’s, including an ageing stripper escaping an abusive ex.

I like this series so far, for its difference from other novels of the genre. The fallen angel is female and it’s implied that she did something very stupid way back when, rather than evil. I’m sure we’ll eventually find out what. Meanwhile, the idea of having her occupy human bodies and lives makes it possible to keep the series going and perhaps try something different in each.

Will it work for teenage girls? Well, there are enough hot males in it to keep them interested and meanwhile, I have to take this book back to my school, because there’s a teenage girl who’s waiting for it.

Recommended for girls from about fifteen upwards.

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