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Mercurial | ARC Review #21

An enticing story forged with power, blood, and love.

About The Book

Title: Mercurial | By: Naomi Hughes

Published on: March 16th 2021 | By: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Pace: Fast | Pages: 412 | Age: 12 and up

Standalone | Genre: YA Fantasy

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Snow, blood, and magic: this story is perfect for fans of the Grishaverse and The Winner’s Kiss series.

Everyone in the Alloyed Empire fears the Destroyer. The metal in her blood gives her incendiary powers, and the coldness in her heart makes her the empress’s perfect weapon…until a rebel attack leaves her with no magic and no memories.

Her bodyguard, Tal, has long since regretted his idealistic hope of saving the Destroyer. Now that she’s powerless he can finally end her reign of terror—if he can stop himself from falling for the wicked, funny, utterly unfamiliar girl she’s become.

Nyx was furious when her brother, Tal, abandoned her to protect a tyrant. Now, she hones herself as a rebel assassin until she can kill the Destroyer and rescue Tal. But the closer she gets, the more she realizes the entire empire hinges on the decisions the three of them will make… 


I received a copy of this book from Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Reps: WLM relationship

I read a review of this book in a blog, and I was intrigued by it, which made me download this book from NetGalley. I spent this weekend reading this book which was a much need break from The Shadowhunter world. I don’t want to delve too much into this book, so I’ll list my thoughts down here.


Tal swears an oath to the Destroyer, who is feared by all in the Alloyed Empire, to protect her with his life. He doesn’t want to but anyway ties his life to the Destroyer all because of a vision from the Unforged God. This is crazy and reckless. Even Tal realizes the finality of the situation he was in but is ready to follow what his god has shown him. In the beginning, Tal doesn’t question these visions but then sees how his decision to follow this path changed his life and wants nothing but to break the oath, once and for all. I liked reading how he would get these visions and interpreted them. The funniest part about these visions was that one wasn’t told what to do. Tal is given these visions, but he wasn’t told how to proceed further; it was his own choice that drew him close to his “destiny.”

This part of the book reminded me of Hall of Smoke because there were a lot of visions involved in that book too. That’s where the similarities ended. This book wasn’t filled with carnage and gore as that book. This was far easier to digest and super-fast to read.

The Setting

I really liked the setting of the book. The Alloyed Empire was inhabited by people of the metallurgy class. People were classified based on the metal that runs in their veins. Yup, you heard that right. These people had copper, cobalt, silver, gold, platinum, and mercury running in their veins. Each of these metals has its own powers and are used to keep the empire safe along with its subjects. It was also used as weapons on Saints, the rebels.

The metallurgy class was a new concept to me. I’d have really loved the book more if it had a bit more context to how this class came into existence or how one’s magic can be stripped away. Because you can induce this magic into one’s system, as seen in Elodie’s case, or ripped from them too.

Sibling Relationships

I liked the sibling relationships more than the romance in the book. Be it Tal/Nyx or Sarai/Elodie, they fought anyone to protect one another. Nyx and Sarai were protective of Tal and Elodie. They made sure that Tal and Elodie were safe even if they had to give up their own life.


I was sucked into the story from page one. I was so on board to read a book with a morally-grey character. The Destroyer was intimidating and never hesitated or spared a glance to anyone except her sister and–in her own twisted ways– Tal. There is something that happens in the book that changed the whole appeal of the Destroyer for me. I liked this change, but I felt it came too early in the story.

I neither disliked nor liked the romance in the book. Tal and Elodie’s relationship wasn’t instant, but I still liked Nyx and Helenia’s relationship. They were already a couple, and it was nice to read how Helenia would find Nyx no matter where she would be. Tal and Elodie’s relationship developed gradually, but I didn’t like it was transpired in the book.

My Final Thoughts

Mercurial is a fast-paced fantasy with a straightforward plot. The metallurgy class was a novel concept to me. The story also felt like watching Frozen but with different power and magic in play here. Sarai and Elodie were mostly like Elsa and Anna but were unnerving with their bloodlust. This book left an impression on me with its simple plot and the characters. Once I was done reading it, I immediately added it to my neutral-pile (neither hated or loved), which I didn’t mind reading. If you’re looking for YA fantasy with strong female characters, I’d highly recommend this book.

Finding the end of a journey satisfactory does not erase the pain of the path that brought you there.

Triggers: Poisoning, Trauma, Violence, Manipulation
RATING: 3.3 Stars
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What are your thoughts on Morally-Grey characters? Let me know your thoughts in the comments

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