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YA, Paranormal Romance, 439 pages, EgmontUSA
- Series: 1st in The Mephisto Covenant series
- Pub date: September 27 2011
- Why I read it: I'm...not really sure.
- Disclosure: Received an ARC from The Red Balloon Bookstore in St. Paul. Thanks!
Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.The Long...
A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.
With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
Let's play Things-Maggie-Hates-in-YA bingo, shall we? Pretty vapid white girl in pretty dress on cover? Check! Insta-romance between an ancient, hunky guy and a young, bland, holier-than-thou girl? Pretty much! Heavy-handed religious references and an obsession with chastity? Yep! Aforementioned young, bland, holier-than-thou girl has appropriately feminine superpowers directly tied to said chastity? You got it! Big secretive family who lives in gorgeous, remote location and also happens to have more money than god? BINGO!
I'll admit freely, I am not the target audience here. The target audience are girls who love Twilight, Starcrossed, and hunky angel romances like Hush, Hush and the Fallen series (which, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never read), and are dying for something, anything, like them. I am not these girls. I do not have a problem with these girls.
I do have a problem with the writers, editors, publishers, and everyone else in the publishing industry who has a hand in continuing to shove this sexist drivel down all our throats.
If The Mephisto Covenant was simply a bad book, I might write something a little snarky, as I am wont to do, and then forget about it. Contrary to what those who write me hate mail seem to believe, I do not set out to write nasty reviews, and would much rather spend hours promoting the crap out of a book I loved than disparaging one I didn't like. If The Mephisto Covenant was an isolated incident, I wouldn't be writing this, either.
But it's not an isolated incident. It is, in fact, the prevailing incident in paranormal YA, which is why I so rarely read it. There's something nefarious about it all: the constant Madonna/Whore complex of the heroines; the hunky guys who so often stalk them, beat them, nearly kill them, bully them, coerce them, mock them, and destroy their dreams in the name of true love; the endless weakness of girls when it comes to boys, and the awful co-dependence of it all. I don't know much about true love, but I do know that this endless, endless ideal that's pushed in so much YA isn't it.
I haven't said much about The Mephisto Covenant in this review, and that's because I'm still seething too much to even think about it. I won't take pot shots at the writing, or specific incidents, because they're not what's got me all riled up. Just know that it's the most perfectly crystallized example of everything I just ranted about that I have ever, ever read. I hated it, full stop, and worse, I'm spectacularly disappointed that a genre that can claim such spectacular releases as the ones on my best-of list can also claim such ugly misogyny.
Yes, this is mean, and maybe a little unprofessional. Deal with it, and better yet, FIX IT. I can't embrace Paranormal YA until it figures out where exactly it stands with the demons this book so nicely exposed.
...and the Short:
Any redeeming features this book has are utterly obscured by its ugly, sexist, formulaic plot. "Not for me" doesn't even begin to cover it.
The Final Word: Not for me.
**EDIT** Something I would like to add that I'm not sure I made clear enough: I'm not disparaging paranormal YA as a genre, nor, inherently, the tropes I describe. I'm disparaging the fact that this combination of tropes seems to comprise most of YA, without any balance of strong heroines and heroes.
I'd also like to point out that The Mephisto Covenant just plain sucked, aside from its tropes, and that it was a bit of a low blow to use it as the jumping-off point for this discussion.
Finally, in saying that these books are marketed towards girls (and boys) who want books like Twilight, Starcrossed, etc.: I'm not even placing these books in the same category as The Mephisto Covenant. I actually enjoyed Twilight a lot, despite its messages, and while I didn't like Starcrossed, it was worlds better than this book. I'm just saying that publishers are marketing Mephisto-style YA to that audience.
I apologize if any of my points are misunderstood. This post was written in the heat of the moment, and while I stand by the heart of what I'm saying, I said it a little more harshly than I intended.**/EDIT**