Mercurial (2021)

by Naomi Hughes
ASIN/ISBN: 9781736394304
Publication: March 16, 2021

Tal, his sister Nyx, and Elodie/The Destroyer are the main characters, and chapters are told in the third person from each of their perspectives. Tal questions his faith when his visions reveal that he will save The Destroyer and the kingdom but his oath to protect her has only led to more blood on his hands. Determined to free her brother from his oath, Nyx is intent on killing The Destroyer. The Destroyer has killed many innocent people to protect her sister’s reign. When she loses her memories and powers, she transforms into someone different from The Destroyer everyone knows but is she still worth saving?

  • Mercurial is reminiscent of classic medieval fantasy novels, but also felt surprisingly fresh. It has a unique magic system, which particularly stood out to me. Blood that is infused with metal determines an individual’s powers. For instance, those with silver in their blood have the ability to foresee the future whereas those with copper have healing powers. Being born with metal-infused blood also makes one prone to a rust disease.
  • Hughes mentions in her acknowledgments that she wrote Mercurial during a time in which she was trying to “renavigate [her] own faith.” The exploration of religion is integral to the plot with Tal’s struggle with his decisions and their consequences as the platform for this analysis. Rather than view it as inherently good or bad, it is a more analytical approach, questioning such things as what it means to adhere to one’s faith or the interpretation of religious texts.
  • My favorite books are those with strong female protagonists, so while Tal is interesting, I liked how the book had both Nyx and Elodie. I was mostly invested in Elodie, who ultimately became my favorite character. When The Destroyer lost her powers and became Elodie, I felt helpless and vulnerable alongside her. Hughes did a wonderful job with Elodie’s arc, asking whether redemption is possible for someone who has committed so many atrocities.
  • Other than the twist already detailed in the description, I was never quite sure about what to expect next. At times I thought I knew where the book was going, but it would veer in a different direction. It kept me riveted, trying to guess what would happen next. I had a difficult time suppressing the urge to flip to the end.

Mercurial‘s exploration of faith, redemption, and the power of love felt relatively new when compared to all the books I’d been reading. The plot was well-developed, and Tal, Nyx, and Elodie were rounded characters. I hadn’t heard much about the novel before finding it on NetGalley and am thankful I was provided the opportunity to read it. I look forward to reading more from Hughes.

9 responses to “Mercurial (2021)”

  1. I’m so happy to see someone talking about this! I was really interested in Naomi Hughes’ first book, Refraction, so when I saw this one was coming out I’d kind of filed it away until reviews start coming out. It sounds like a really enjoyable read so I’ll definitely be picking it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! I hope you enjoy it. I enjoyed Naomi Hughes’s writing so I’ll have to check out Refraction.


  2. yourwordsmyink Avatar

    I just love the cover! Great review!


  3. Haven’t heard of this one but it looks pretty good! Thanks for sharing


    1. You’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like such an interesting book! I’m really glad you reviewed it because it honestly seems like something I’d enjoy, but I hadn’t heard anything about it prior to this post. I guess that’s why I should be thankful for ARC reviews, right? I’ll be adding it to my TBR now!


    1. Yay! I hope you like it when you get a chance to read it.


  5. […] I’d highly recommend Mercurial; it book deserves so much more buzz than it has received. The magic system is unique. Two of the three characters are kickass females. It explores faith, redemption, and love. It’s fast-paced and kept me guessing how it would end. (My Review) […]


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