Published: September 24th, 2013
The Mephisto Mark (The Mephisto Covenant #3)
By: Trinity Faegan
Pink Publishing, LLC
Raised by abusive relatives in Bucharest, Mariah learned to box up agonizing memories and put them in permanent mental storage. Now almost nineteen, she's steadily overcoming her past, but when an enigmatic stranger walks into the pub where she works and the trajectory of her life changes yet again, she begins to wonder if she'll run out of mental shelf space.
The only females unafraid of the Mephisto brothers are the extremely rare Anabo, born without Original Sin. Over one hundred years ago, Phoenix's Anabo was murdered by his oldest brother and enemy, Eryx. Wrapped up in grief and guilt, Phoenix's only outlet is planning the takedowns of those who have pledged their souls to Eryx. When Mariah is brought to Mephisto Mountain, he's torn between his instinctive, poweful need to pursue her, and his certainty that he can never have her.
Drawn into the world of the Mephisto, Mariah's mental boxes begin to fly open, and all that keeps her from slipping off the edge is her unlikely, sexually charged friendship with Phoenix. He's incredibly screwed up; she's completely broken. It would take a miracle for them to find happiness. Then Eryx brings the war for Hell to a whole new level, forcing Mariah and Phoenix to make a choice that will bind them together for all eternity, or rip them apart forever.
I was fairly excited to read this book! I had picked up the first two books in this series and the mythology has me intrigued. But there were some issues I had with it as well. For one, I was kind of disappointed by the fact that the story overlapped with the last book, The Mephisto Kiss. I felt like it was bit of taking the easy way out, using that on the readers. It was sucky, because for a new heroine I wanted a completely new story. And yet, I suppose it was also good in way because it shows the events of the last book from Mariah's point of view - and shows us what a strong, bad-ass girl she is! The whole story, as usual, centers on one of the Mephisto brothers whohas been waiting with the rest for an Anabo to save him. The difference being, that Phoenix feels like he already had his chance with an Anabo named Jane and blames himself for her horrific death at the hands of the evil brother Eryx. In the last book we met Jordan, who was adopted by the President of the U.S. from an orphanage in Romania. This time around, the Anabo found is her older sister Mariah. When they were little, Mariah left Jordan at an orphanage to get her away from their abusive Aunt and Uncle, who they were forced to live with after their parents died. Mariah spent years being abused mentally and physically, with it advancing to sexual abuse when she was a teen. Escaping when her Uncle died in mysterious circumstances, Mariah has been living on her own and staying away from people - especially men - ever since.
I enjoyed the fact that the author portrayed Mariah as being a strong, decisive person who could take care of herself. Abuse victims are not necessarily completely broken and unable to function as almost or completely normal (even if only on the surface). Passing me on the street, you'd never know that I spent three years as the victim of sexual abuse as a child. So it was gratifying to see that while Mariah has serious issues with men, sex, touching of any kind and personal boundaries/intimacy, that didn't completely define her as a person. Mariah is a smart, willful, loyal, strong woman who takes no prisoners and doesn't tolerate anyone trying to bullshit her! In fact, her and Phoenix spend most of the time butting head as she calls him on being a self-pitying, whiny crybaby (maybe not in quite those words). It was however, devastating to see Mariah dealing with her issues of completely demolished self-esteem, and her attitude towards sex was also pretty harsh/depressing. Watching her try to overcome those feelings and realize there could be good men in the world as she interacted with the brothers almost broke me sometimes! That said, the whole thing with Mariah reading romance novels was adorable but I didn't like that it was a segue in the forward motion of her relationship with Phoenix. Chick reads romance novels and they transform her attitude toward sex, after years of abuse? Yeah, I could so see that happening (infer my sarcasm here).
The revelations of why Phoenix's relationship with Jane, his last Anabo, ended so tragically were pretty interesting. I was not AT ALL expecting her to include Zee and Denys (two of the other brothers) in it and make it a case of mistaken identity! That one definitely surprised me. Probably the thing that disappointed me the most about this book, was the lack of interaction between Mariah and Jordan. The scenes that they did have were interesting and played with my emotions, but for a book that started out focused on their relationship and shared past, it really didn't bother going in that direction at all. It could have added more meat to the story, other than just a romance (as good as it was most of the time). Also, the whole thing with Mariah, Jordan and Eryx near the end was just REALLY over the top to me. And Jordan, who acted somewhat like a dumbass got away without any real consequences! Mariah was the one who did all the suffering. Overall, I think that Trinity did an extremely good (if graphic and somewhat uncomfortable) job of portraying the effects of abuse on a former victim. The healing wasn't quite as realistic to me, but still okay. I enjoyed the book and feel like it was good addition to the series, even with the issues I had while reading it. Recommended if you're a fan already and have read the other two books. It could stand alone, but might be slightly confusing.
VERDICT: 3.5/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, Pink Publishing, LLC via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published September 24th, 2013.*