The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Fantasy/Paranormal, 439 pages
September 27th 2011 from EgmontUSA
PLEASE NOTE: This is a DNF (did not finish) review. For those of you concerned, I quit at the 100-page mark. Also, this is all spoilery, so you have been warned.
I tried with The Mephisto Covenant, honestly, I did. But it was clear to me really early on that this was not the book for me, and unlike Carrier of the Mark (which I also realized early on was not the book for me), I didn't find anything in it that compelled me to keep reading.
* The characters. I can put up with a fair amount of pet peevishness in a book if I connect to at least one of the characters, but unfortunately, I did not. I think there were a lot of reasons, first among them that the characters felt more like caricatures. None of them, not one of them, felt real to me in any way. They were very overblown and exaggerated, and somewhat muddled, and almost always flat. Some were fanatical lunatics that did more to make me roll my eyes than feel any fear of them. Some were just dull as dishwater. But the two that the book hinges on, Sasha and Jax, just didn't do it for me, plain and simple. Sasha is described (by Jax) as someone who is pure good, is never tempted, is made of bright shining light, etc., etc. just because of her lineage. Well, I could really give a fig about perfect characters who are never tempted, ya know? But I don't think Jax's description of Sasha is entirely accurate: she does seem to be a little tempted to me, and probably not quite so angelic. But what really held me back from liking her at all is this: she's forever a victim. That's all I ever saw of her, and what actually caused me to put the book down.
It's because of this: If you have just been taken to an abandoned warehouse and been beaten by a group of people who call you an "Anabo" and threaten to do much worse things to you, AND THEN some guy shows up and freezes all the people who were stoning you, yes, you would be grateful for a minute. And probably freaked the fuck out. And maybe you'd be in shock, too, so I'll give you some leeway. When this strange person - who is beautiful, but also really scary looking - also calls you an "Anabo" I think your sensors would probably go up. So when he starts hitting on you and an entire group of scary looking men pop in, all eyes fixed on you, and the first guy claims you as his, well, do you trust him and look smittenly at him? HELLS NO.
You certainly do not calmly listen as he tells you the history of a convoluted mythology you've never heard, hits on you, claims you as his, etc., etc. with nary more than a doe-eyed huh. If you don't either show some real fear there, or, you know, RUN LIKE HELL, I'm pretty much done with you at that point. I don't need another Nora Grey in my life, one was enough.
And then your memory is erased. Fine. And you move to a new town and go skiing with your psycho cousin, who abandons you on the slopes.
And a strange, beautiful-but-scary guy shows up, and though you've met him, you don't remember that. (But you do remember being almost stoned to death, so you should be a little leery, yeah?) And this guy helps you down the mountain, which is nice. Then he offers you a drink from his flask, which, no. You don't know this guy, stop right there. But it's okay, he tells you, it's just spiced cider, and you drink it and feel a little funny, and say "Are you sure this is just cider?" to which he replies that it's maybe a little magic, and that you should "Drink up, and we'll have some fun on the way down."
You don't know this guy. He's offering you "magic" cider and saying you'll "have some fun" on the lonely mountain.
STRANGER DANGER, SASHA.
[And yes, he actually is being honest, and doesn't intend to hurt you, but you don't know that.] If you have no self-preservation instincts or common sense, I don't want to read about you anymore. (This was the point at which I stopped, btw.)
* The other thing that got me was the mythology. I don't want to get into all of it, and I'm not even sure I could, but the thing it all hinges on is something called the Mephisto Covenant. You see, Jax is something called Mephisto, an order of all male brothers and relations who take people to the gates of Hell. They're essentially fallen angels or descendants of such. Sasha is (apparently) an Anabo, descended from Eve's daughter and an angel (I guess). She's got a one-way ticket to Heaven. The only way for a Mephisto to find peace is to find an Anabo, which is really really rare, and then mark her (yeah), and convince her to stay with him and breed more Mephisto, and sort of redeem him, I guess? This is the Covenant. Basically. But Anabo are so rare, in fact, that it's pretty much finders-keepers. If you're Mephisto and you smell an Anabo, you find her, mark her as your territory and thenSo yeah. This pretty much sums up the first 100 pages (plus some pledging your soul stuff, a deported mom and some stuff about a painting and OHMYGOD amounts of info-dumping. Oh, and religion. Lots of God, sort of.), and it just wasn't doing it for me. I just couldn't.
stalk herconvince her to love you, which she must eventually do, because you know, she's yours now. Oh, but be careful not to have sex with her too soon, because then she's completely marked, and your evil brother Eryx may kidnap her and murder her in front of you.
It's a great life, being an Anabo, right?
Now, I'm sure some people could, and I'm sure some of you out there will absolutely love this. I'm not even being facetious. But it is not in me to like anything about this, and there are too many books out there, waiting to be read.
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