Exiled  - M.R. Merrick

I really really wanted to love this one because it had come so highly recommended to me. However, it didn’t wow me quite as much as I hoped. Though I don’t think the story is responsible.
To get it out of the way, here’s what bugged me about it:

- I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but the pacing seemed off. Even the scenes that should have had me on the edge of my seat and racing through the prose to keep up with what was happening didn’t quite have the desired effect. It was maybe due to the sentence structure and their length, and maybe even due to the paragraph lengths and the fact they weren’t utilised to their full potential to drag the reader along. I’m not sure, but this book took way longer to read than it should have.

- character relatability. I get that Chase had issues, and fully understand why, but his mood swings or change of direction in conversation sometimes seemed a bit extreme and unprovoked. To the point he seemed sulky and immature. And the way he’d fly off the handle with Marcus and suddenly accuse him of lying/being obscure almost gave me neck ache. Rayna on the other hand was very well developed and I liked her a lot–she might have been the saving grace of the book.

- believability issues. I’m not questioning the storyline because this is evidently fantasy–though when Chase found himself in the other realm for so long looking for Rayna, it suddenly became unclear if I was reading urban fantasy or high fantasy: the intent wasn’t clear. But I do question the believability of his Mother’s relationship with Marcus. Where was the lead up to that? It’s obvious that his mother has known and been in contact with Marcus for quite some time–and you don’t garner that kind of closeness without having spent some quality moments together–so where was the lead up to it? Maybe his mom being late home from work or something to give a hint that she’s out the house for longer than her grafting hours? I dunno–it just seemed to suddenly be there when it wasn’t before and so I had trouble going with the flow when they just upped and moved into Marcus’ condo.

- I wanted more ‘show’. So much of this book is ‘told’ I had a really hard time visualising stuff. Yes, we got full on descriptions of every single character that entered the story, almost complete with what colour nail polish they sported, but I wanted to see their faces, too–their expressions, those little nuances that help me better understand a character, those little personality traits that come through purely in a characters body language. Instead, I got told how a character looked/seemed to be feeling, rather than being shown and given the chance to figure it out for myself.

- there were quite a lot of repetitions going on, too. Either word reps (sometimes in the same sentence) or entire line reps or characters repeating themselves and telling us the same thing within a paragraph. The book could have been culled and that would have helped pick the pace up a lot.

- POV breaches seemed a little rife throughout. Chase makes a lot of assumptions about the reasoning behind the actions, behaviour or facial expressions of other characters. If they’re not his own actions, etc, then he doesn’t know for certain the why of them, which makes them an assumption on his behalf and should be treated as such–but they weren’t.

- Whilst the plot is decent and the storyline around 90% well thought out, there is some contriteness going on that kind of pulls back on the reins of the neat plot. I’ll not name them all. But the biggest one is possibly the way he just happens to smack into and land alongside the half breed who can help him find Rayna and who, in return, just happens to know exactly who Chase is the minute he explains his situation and off they go. Personally, I think more development and ‘issues’ should have gone into this (a bit like the mother and Marcus situation listed above).

Now with all of those out of the way, I will say this book had the potential to be great because it has a lot going for it. The plot is pretty neat. I thought the majority of it was well woven. Whilst the idea of demons/half-demons and some kind of opposing organisation and prophecies aren’t exactly an original idea, the author certainly took them and created an interesting tale different to any I’ve so far read.