Exiled by M.R. Merrick
Publisher: Self Published
Pub. Date: June 28th, 2011
Pages: Approx. 288
Series: The Protector, #1
Age Level: 14+
Source: Bought for kindle.
Synopsis via Goodreads
Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped.
Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.
I love indie authors and I really enjoy indie books but I've noticed lately that I don't show enough of this love by actually reading a lot of indie books. So I've set out on a journey to read more of them, and on this journey, I decided to read Exiled by M.R. Merrick. I had heard amazing things about this one and while I didn't quite love it like everyone else, I was still thoroughly entertained and even a bit impressed by it.
So here's the thing, Chase was stubborn, pig-headed, prejudice, and even arrogant. However he also had a witty sense of humor and a great deal of perseverance. I gotta admit, despite his flaws, I liked Chase and he proved to be a dynamic character that grew and developed throughout the story. Now Rayna, she had spunk and sarcasm practically radiating from her and I loved it. I think she did a great job when it came to getting Chase to see clearly and think straight, forcing him to reevaluate what he had always believed to be true. The two of them ended up working quite well together and their snarky banter was very much amusing. What's more, I think I smell a possible romance between these two and I'm curious to see where that goes. *waggles eyebrows* Chase's mother was a much appreciated supporting character and this is the second book in a row, the other being Anna Dressed in Blood, where I've gotten to see a parental figure, specifically a mother, take a strong and positive role in the protagonist's life. I feel that young adult books could really use more of this. Then there was scared, stuttering, stumbling Willy, the very last thing you'd imagine when picturing a demon. Willy was probably one of my favorite characters overall as he was just so refreshing and different, a truly memorable guy. Tiki, Marcus and Vincent were also among the cast of distinct supporting characters. And last I feel I should mention Rai, a bird who comes into the story towards the end. Yes, that's right, a bird. All I can say is...OMG I want one so badly! She's so cute but valiant and I wanna take her and hold her and love her and fly on her back and she shall be mine. And she shall be my Rai...*squee*...*searches for lost composure*...*finds it*...Let's continue.
Exiled had what I would definitely consider an original, breath-of-fresh-air premise when compared to other paranormal YA books I've read. The concept of the Underworld and demons is nothing new but Merrick took it all a step further and in a different direction than usual, really making it his own. I also thought The Circle was a creative addition and love that it incorporates elemental powers. However, I had some problems when it came to the plot line. One was that certain actions and outcomes seemed to repeat each other, partially due to Chase's pigheadedness, and this left things feeling somewhat redundant at times. It wasn't just that the book was predictable though. Sometimes, and this may sound strange, it felt as though the answers were given before the question could even be asked when it came to would-be suspenseful aspects of the plot. The biggest example would be what The Circle and Underworld were looking for. It was practically spelled out from the beginning, or at least it seemed that way to me. Of course, there still managed to be a couple twists that surprised me and all of this would have been more of a problem were it not for Merrick's wonderful world building. Seriously, I feel this is something particularly profound when Chase enters the Underworld, a setting flowing with Merrick's best creative juices. His was probably the most unique and captivating take on the Underworld I've ever read and he crafted it splendidly.
Merrick's writing style, in my opinion, was average without much to make it stand out as something unique and great. The frequent typos and grammatical errors did not help this and became a bit distracting, though they weren't too bad. That said, Merrick's writing had a couple of real shining moments that lead me to believe that there is some serious, untapped potential there, potential that a good editor could help reveal. To be more specific, the writing was fairly humorous, had some clever dialogue, and the occasional sections of thorough and imaginative imagery.
The way Exiled was pulled to a close was very adequately done. Everything that needed to be said to draw this book to a close was said and everything that didn't need to be said to keep me looking forward to the next book was kept secret. I got to say though, that letter at the end made me want to cry. Quite an emotional ending.
So all in all, while I did have my qualms with Exiled, at the core it is a highly imaginative, fun, and more than worthwhile read. Honestly, I just think it needs a little polishing and elbow grease to really make in shine; a diamond in the rough, one might say. I only paid $2.99 for the kindle edition and I truly feel I got my money's worth and then some. If Exiled sounds like something you'd enjoy then I definitely suggest reading it. I look forward to reading the next book in The Protector series and seeing how Merrick progresses as an author.
1st in Series:B-
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