Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you likely know how eagerly I've been anticipating the day I would get to sit down and read The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen. This book came out at the end of September and I've had several opportunities to order it. Yet it's mid December and only now am I reviewing it. Why?

Because I knew the moment I got my hands on this book that I would drop everything to start it. As a book blogger who has people counting on her to get things done, I don't always have the luxury of doing that. But Chapters only had one copy of this in when I went on my shopping spree the other weekend and there was no way I was leaving this behind. So the question remains ... is it as good as I hoped it would be? Read on to find out.

The Plot: (Summary from GoodReads)
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.

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?

Lets start with something good. The world building here was absolutely superb. I had high hopes for this aspect of the novel, having read Trinity's article about The Otherworld of the House of Night books and its ties to the Underworld of Greek Mythology in the Nyx in the House of Night anthology. I was confident she knew her stuff and couldn't see why she wouldn't put that to use in her own story. (Which she did to great effect.) Not only is the world building rich, detailed and interesting, it directly effects the characters and adds to their depth and growth.

Another great thing was the pacing. While the chapter lengths are some of the most uneven I've ever seen in a book, what actually happened inside of them moved at a pace that kept me turning the pages. I read a lot of books. The more books I read, the more I find that my patience has grown sensitive to certain things an author can choose to do -- or choose not to do. (Or it could just be that I have the attention span of a sick flea. I'll let you decide. *laughs*) I never put this down because I was bored. And I never felt any kind of struggle to pick it back up. 

I think the one thing that did bother me was the hot and cold vibe that I got from Sasha over what Jax is. I get it. She's Anabo. Pure. But if God made Anabo to redeem the Mephisto you'd think she would have had slightly more instinct drawing her toward this. There were so many times that I felt truly, genuinely sorry for Jax and just totally wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay. I get it -- Sasha's attitude likely helped to amplify how I felt about him. And to be clear: this wasn't poorly written. It's just an aspect that sometimes happens in paranormal romance and it tends to drive me crazy.

The Characters: 

Sasha might have been a little wishy-washy in her decisions regarding Jax, but I felt she was strong in a lot of other ways. She goes through some truly horrible stuff and I really admired how much spunk she had each time some new terrible thing happened. That being said, I must also say that I feel the way that her family life was dealt with began to feel too much like a pure plot device by the end. She kept losing family members to Eryx and by the time the last people were getting taken I found myself completely unmoved, which I'm pretty sure wasn't Trinity's intent. 

Jax was totally swoon-worthy. I sat there thinking, "Man. I'd gladly trade you places, Sasha! Gimme!" And for once I didn't feel totally creepy, since Jax is 1,000 years old. *laughs* And that's another part of the story I felt Trinity did a great job on. She managed to ensure that the age difference was not totally creepy, but that it did still have value and weight. Congrats on that -- that's not easy! Plus, I think we all know by now that I love heroes with healing powers. That's like catnip for me or something; I find it really hot. 

The other thing I want to give Trinity praise for while we're talking characters is how she managed to introduce us to the other brothers -- whom I'm really hoping will get their own books -- and give the reader a feel for them without me feeling like I was dealing with talking heads or getting frustrated that they were taking over Jax and Sasha's book. Another challenging feat that was handled very well indeed.

The Romance: 

First up, the good: Jax is a totally swoon worthy hero and I totally loved him. 

I waited a good portion of the book for Sasha to wake up and smell the coffee regarding this. I enjoyed some of their scenes together, such as when they went skiing. I loved seeing them get to know each other and watching Jax trip over his own feet as he tried to figure out how to win Sasha over. 

My problem with the fact that she does this whole "hot and cold" thing for roughly 3/4 of the book is that it really took away the opportunity to show me why these two needed to be together other then for the sake of the Mephisto Covenant. Sasha's whole 'stay away from me even though I'm attracted to you' and Jax's respect for her wishes did not create tension for me. It actually kind of annoyed me. 

I can definitely understand if Sasha felt that Jax only wanted her for the covenant. And I am glad that by the end it is made very clear that he doesn't. But a more smooth and natural progression of showing me this throughout the book would have made what was already pretty good kick up a notch into excellent. 

I also liked the subplot of Brody the Lumina falling for Jenny. I really would like to know if those two can get together or not. It was sort of left hanging, or else mentioned somewhere and I missed it.

The last thing that I have to mention is the sex. Yes, there is sex. And yes, for what I've read in YA fiction, it is pretty graphic sex. It's a far cry from "stupid pointless sex". It's vital to the plot, enhances the characters and is well written. But it is sex that is present in YA. Some of you will be cool with this. Some of you won't. You deserve to know about it so that you can make your own call. 

In General: 

I had a pretty good hunch what I was getting myself into when I picked up The Mephisto Covenant, and for the most part I feel that I was right. The romantic element here could have been stronger, but the fact that Sasha is *overall* likable and Jax is totally amazing keeps this on pretty solid ground. It contains a fascinating new mythology that I can't wait to further explore and has the potential for sequels about other members of Jax's family who look like they should be equally interesting. I definitely look forward to reading more and am happy to see that this is the first in a series. 

I have to point out that as a paranormal romance, a book like this is made or broken by the romantic elements. I loved Jax, but I felt that many aspects of what happened between him and Sasha could have been better. Trinity Faegen definitely has potential and I look forward to seeing what she will do in the future.

If you like paranormal romance you will probably like The Mephisto Covenant. A lot of this genre's classic conventions are combined with a fresh new mythology regarding heaven, hell and those who live there to create something interesting and memorable.  


  1. A very well written, balanced review! Makes me want to read this book. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great review Kathy it's nice to know what did it for you and what didn't. I'm really intrigued by this one and I'm glad there is good world building I find that's very important for me to be able to enjoy a book.

    Xpresso Reads


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