What happens to the world when only three of the four horsemen ride? “Misericorde” looks at that in great detail. Set in the future when all horsemen of the apocalypse—except Death—ride, the author presents a world that has fallen back into the Middle Ages. All technology is gone, there is no electricity, and people go back to living in castles in the few places where basic resources can still be found. There is a ruling class that lives in luxury, while all their servants are barely surviving. You never really meet this ruling class though, instead the reader is introduced to a servant, Lourdes, the brutal soldiers she’s tasked with serving, and an Archangel that is determined to find any human still capable of mercy in such a brutal world. This book has “Angelfall” vibes but written with literary prose full of feeling, with well crafted characters, but maybe just a tad too much description.
First off, some trigger warnings for you. A lot of this book revolves around the violent torture of one character, and the brutal rape of another. I applaud the author for not shying away from those topics, and depicting them with the horror such actions deserve. However, it can be a lot and considering those actions are a major driving force behind the plot, there’s really no escape from those themes. So if those topics are upsetting for you, you may not want to dive into this story just yet. I will say that I never thought the violence was just for shock value though, it served a purpose and was handled with respect, so take that for what you will.
The plot of “Misericorde” is rather simple, as the synopsis says, the Archangel just needs to find that one person who shows him mercy. It’s not entirely clear what he’ll do should he find this person; will that forever keep Death from riding? Undo the apocalypse in general? Or just delay the inevitable? The book is part of a series so those answers may come later. But this book in particular reminded me a lot of Sodom and Gomorrah; I enjoyed the authors take on biblical lore in general but I found that parallel most interesting. But while the plot may be simple, the writing certainly is not! I truly found it lovely and so emotive, but that did cause the story to drag in places with long descriptions; I felt we were going over the same ground or emotions over and over again. Still, the novel is so well written that I didn’t mind it too much, but it is the reason I’m giving this 4 stars. It’s a truly lovely start to this post-apocalyptic series! And thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for an honest review
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