Source: NetGalley! Many thanks to the publisher!
TL;DR: A fun Romance with a fantastical setting and western vibes. I would not go into this for the fantasy though, go for the romance and you’ll be great!
Fantasy meets Western meets Romance. That’s the best three words I can use for this book. The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a Fantasy with an urban setting and a lot of romance. I think this one is going to be a interesting one to watch the reviews on solely because of the setting and style of it. I had fun though it may not be for everyone.
The characters of Hart and Mercy, are of course our main focus in the story. Hart is a Ranger, someone who protects the citizens of this world from what we’ll call ‘the dead’. They occasionally encroach on the living world and he also works patrolling where they dwell, another side to their world called Tanria. Mercy is an undertaker, which as you can surmise is a big deal in this world where the dead walk. The culture in this book is very focused on Death and Life – at least the focus of what we get here. The two of them are very distinct and have their own unique voices but I’ll say they were sometimes some of the stupidest people I’ve read about in a romance in a long time. It didn’t mean I wasn’t cheering for them. But sometimes I rolled my eyes so hard at how young or dumb they seemed.
As to the world in which Hart and Mercy live, I mention that the culture *seems* to be focused on Death and Life. I can’t say that we get a lot of detail past what seems to be there. It felt more like this story was a Romance set in a Fantasy world that also happened to be urban. There were vehicles, that were not cars. Horses that were not horses, and a lot of very fantastical elements at play. There was not a large amount of time describing these things however so I did feel a bit lost at moments. Having finished the book I still don’t know what those not-cars and not-horses looked like even though they were mentioned frequently and used by the characters very frequently.
This made for a weird, but not enjoyable read. I enjoyed the strength of the voice on the main characters. Even the side characters were fun and I enjoyed them. But they were the strongest and loudest part of this story to me. The setting felt interesting, and I wanted a lot more of it, but it wasn’t there in a way that I know a lot of readers might not like. So go into this warned, if you are a setting/world reader this may not work. But if you enjoy characters or you’re mainly here for the romance I’d recommend it.
Note: I have some questions on how the cover of this book came to be as it gives off a specific cultural feel but I don’t think the book attempts to use that culture in it’s contents. I’m no expert in that. So I kind of wish the cover was different. That of course could just be me and I’m not a member of the group it impacts if it does at all.