The Price of Mercy by Gloria Oliver
Publisher: Zumaya Publications
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia
Which is worse...the monster within or without?
Wooing a new patron at the emperor's ball had been Jarrin Lestrave's only hope after being discarded by the baroness. He finds the perfect subject, but in the end doesn't follow through on his plans. Yet the next day he finds he's been marked a traitor to the realm-for defiling the emperor's daughter. Something which he did not do.
The Twelve, the emperor's secret guard, are sent after him. And when they catch him, they do not kill him. A worse fate has been set aside for him. He is to lose his humanity and become enslaved to the empire for eternity.
Then he meets his accuser-Princess Yolandra. As he battles with his rising hatred and the invisible chains thrust upon him, he begins to see that all is not as it seems-his fate tied to the possible return of the madness which once before decimated the world around them.
How could Jarrin’s life have gone so far off track?
Jarrin is a young man with dreams of being a poet. However, when I met him in the pages of The Price of Mercy, his life is certainly not turning out as he had hoped. Used and then discarded by his former patroness, Jarrin feels trapped in a life he’s deeply ashamed of. Just when he thinks things couldn’t possibly get any worse, he’s hunted down for a crime he didn’t commit. I felt myself getting incredibly angry as Jarrin suffered injustice after injustice for something he didn’t do. He’s never given any explanation, let alone anything that resembles a trial. He is simply caught and punished. I completely understood Jarrin’s rage as his former existence is torn away from him.
At first, Jarrin’s anger at his plight is all consuming. All he wants are answers. When he finally meets his accuser, Princess Yolandra, he can barely contain the violence threatening to spill out of him. I held my breath wondering if Jarrin would make a bad situation even worse. However, something amazing happens once Jarrin speaks to Yolnadra. He discovers that she too has been forced into making tough choices. Not only do Jarrin and Yolandra become friends, but I was also pleasantly surprised to see the first bloom of romance follow soon after. Jarrin and Yolandra don’t have time to dwell on their new feelings because it quickly becomes apparent that someone is plotting against the empire. Jarrin and Yolandra have their suspicions about the culprit, but the motives and goals of their suspect remain murky. Will they figure it out before it is too late?
I do wish Yolandra had been a bit more rounded. She doesn’t seem to have any real character flaws. She does what her father asks, even though it causes her suffering, without questioning his motives. She simply does her duty and is incredibly selfless. Still, I did like her spirit and bravery in the face of danger. She never gives up, no matter how dire the situation seems.
I must advise readers that they need to exercise a bit of patience when reading The Price of Mercy as the first part of the tale is a bit slow and is mainly focused on Jarrin and the changes he goes through as he adjusts to his new life. However, once the situation concerning Yolandra becomes clear, the pacing really pick up. My patience was definitely rewarded as I found myself caught up in Jarrin and Yolandra’s story as they struggle not only to save themselves, but the world as they know it.
I’m certainly glad I had the opportunity to read The Price of Mercy. The world Ms. Oliver has created is enchanting, and Jarrin is certainly a character I can cheer for. I recommend The Price of Mercy to anyone wanting to escape into a wonderful fantasy with just a touch of romance.