ARC Review: Mercurial by Naomi Hughes

About the Book:

Title: Mercurial

Author: Naomi Hughes

Page Length: 412

Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Synopsis: 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…

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon    

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links.

My Review:

Once, there was a boy who believed.

An enemies-to-lovers young adult fantasy with thought-provoking messages about faith, forgiveness, and the murky line between good and evil, Mercurial is a compelling read! I enjoyed the characters, the magic system, the thought-provoking messages, and, of course, the romance in this standalone novel.

Several characters in the story that stand out as favorites! The Destroyer, also known as Elodie, is so interesting. Though extremely powerful, she feels very alone. She is feared, justifiably so, for her violence and cruelty. However, even when she loses her powers, that loneliness envelops her. Her story is so intriguing, especially considering how murky her past is. Plagued by nightmares, Elodie struggles to remember certain parts of her past, and her story becomes even more shocking as the story progresses. It’s clear that Elodie is on her own. Tal is one of the only people she can trust, and that’s mostly because he has taken an unbreakable oath to let no harm come to her.

Tal goes through many internal and external obstacles throughout the story, and his character is so well-developed. Tal is quite devout and is deeply affected by his religious beliefs and spiritual guidance. However, for the majority of the story he goes through a spiritual struggle and tries to reconcile his faith with his ever-changing feelings.

Tal also struggles to understand his changing feelings toward Elodie. At the start of the story, Tal despises The Destroyer and wishes he had never sworn himself to her. He has seen her do, and he has done unspeakable and unforgivable things, and he doesn’t understand why his God propelled him to protect The Destroyer. However, as the story progresses, Tal sees that there is much more to Elodie than just being The Destroyer, especially after she loses her memory. These conflicting feelings confuse and anger Tal. Elodie is more aware and quicker to reconcile her feelings for Tal. There are interesting messages here about trauma, forgiveness, acceptance, and the power of love, and I enjoyed Tal and Elodie’s enemies-to-lovers romance.

Speaking of love, I have to talk about how much I love Nyx, Tal’s sister. Nyx is determined to rid the world of The Destroyer and free her brother, and she is unflinching in her goals. She is a fighter, and she is passionate about those she loves. Though she is brutal and strong and unrelenting, she turns into a softie whenever she’s with her brother and her girlfriend. I love that we see so many sides of her character, from her ambitions to her fears and everything in between. Like her brother, Nyx struggles to reconcile her feelings toward The Destroyer and her religious beliefs.

I found the religious aspect of this story really interesting. I didn’t find it preachy but instead felt it was more philosophical in examining and questioning religion. Characters like Tal, his mother, Nyx, and Nyx’s girlfriend show the difference between faith and fanaticism. They also show ways in which religion can help a person and when it can harm. It’s fascinating to see people who read and follow the same religious texts pull opposite interpretations depending on their own motivations and desires. It really makes you think about the different ways in which culture and religion influence people.

The world and magic system are unique and immersive, and the author skillfully creates a dynamic and fascinating setting. In addition to the intriguing world and magic, secrets, lies, fighting for a cause (or person) you believe in, political intrigue, and many heart-pounding scenes make for an immersive read. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The magic system – really unique and fascinating!
  • The characters, especially Nyx, Elodie, and Tal.
  • The strong and thought-provoking messages.

Favorite Lines:

He was finally free of her, and yet more of him belonged to her now than ever before.

Bitch is what people call women whose power they fear.

He had a claim on her soul and she was done denying it; he would live even if it damned her.

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


This is a great story for readers who like standalone ya fantasy with a bit of romance and thought-provoking messages. .

13 thoughts on “ARC Review: Mercurial by Naomi Hughes

Leave a Reply