Thursday, September 15, 2011

Early Review - The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax by Trinity Faegen (4/5 stars)

The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of AjaxReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size: 448 pages
Publisher:  EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 27, 2011
ISBN:  978-1606841709
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Mephisto Covenant
Source: Advanced Reading Copy from BEA
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the first book in the Mephisto Covenant.  Right now there are two books contracted in this series, the second book will be about a different Mephistos brother.  Faegen said in an interview that she would love to have seven books in the series, one for each brother.  This was a very good book.  Very engaging, a wonderful romance, and some complicated mythology.

When Sasha goes to a meeting for a secret group called the Ravens, she is attacked and beaten.  A mysterious boy named Ajax saves her and tells her that she is Anabo, basically a daughter of Eve, pure in spirit.  The Ravens owe fealty to Eryx, a son of Hell who is trying to take Hell from Lucifer.  Ajax is also a son of Hell, but he is a Mephisto, one destined to save humanity from Eyrx.  As a son of Hell Ajax is also doomed to Hell when he dies, unless he can find an Anabo and redeem himself.  For Ajax, Sasha is that Anabo; but can Ajax convince Sasha to accept immortality and join the fight against Eryx?

Okay that above summary is a total information dump...but that's pretty much what the first few chapters of this book were.  This book is based around some complicated mythology and is takes a bit to get it all set up.  That being said I enjoyed the intricacy of this mythology and had fun reading about how it all worked.

The characters in this book were great.  Sasha is pure and good without being totally gullible, so Faegen found a good balance there.  Ajax is mysterious and dangerous, while still coming off as very endearing and earnest.  The set up of Ajax's family will be similar to adult readers who have read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  That series (which is very adult because of all of the sex scenes and swearing) has a group of brothers living in a house sworn to fight evil; each book is about a brother meeting his one soul mate and falling in love with her, while protecting innocents from evil.  That is pretty much what this series looks like it is going to be, but for young adults.

As a couple Sasha and Ajax were pretty good; they were kind of one again off again for the first half of the book.  That always frustrates me a bit as a reader, because I wish they would just make up their minds.  To be fair though, being with Ajax has some pretty steep consequences for Sasha.  I do think that the whole immortal man finding the one woman in eternity for him is a bit corny, but it is a basis that is used for a lot of romances so I suppose it's okay.  The whole idea just makes me roll my eyes a bit.

Faegen does something that few young adult authors do in their books and takes Sasha and Ajax's relationship past kisses.  There is actually a full-fledged sex scene in this book, which surprised me.  It is tastefully done and not incredibly explicit; but everything done is well described.  Because of this I would recommend for older young adult, or young adults who are comfortable reading about full on sex in their books.  In addition to this a number of the characters are severely beaten, there is a torture scene, and an attempted rape.  So, yeah, probably best for older young adults.

The book goes into detail talking about good and evil.  What makes people good or evil is discussed in depth and really gives the reader something to ponder.  The plot is a bit convoluted; there are layers upon layers of lies that Sasha has to uncover.  I enjoyed this, it kept me guessing and the twisty plot was very engaging.

The writing style in the beginning of the book was a bit stiff; the characters sounding not as natural as they should and a bit stilted.  As the book went on this improved, it was like Faegen finally got comfortable with her characters and by the end of the book everything was very natural sounding and easy to read.  The book wrapped up nicely and the story of Ajax and Sasha is fairly complete.

Overall this was an interesting young adult paranormal read.  I enjoyed the complex mythology and the twisty turning plot was very engaging.  Ajax and Sasha were wonderful characters; although their on again, off again relationship drove me a bit nuts for the first half of the book.  Definitely a book for older teens; there is a detailed sex scene, torture, beatings, and attempted rape in here.  This book reminded me a lot of a Black Dagger Brotherhood book but for young adults.  Adult fans of that series should check this out, as should older young adult fans who love paranormal books with a heavy element of romance.  

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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