book review, fantasy, women in horror

Nameless by Mercedes M. Yardley

If you could see things that no one else could – shadowy, horrible, demonic things – would you believe your eyes or doubt your sanity?

That’s the dilemma for Luna Masterton, who has seen demons all her life, yet no one believes her. What makes it worse is that her father took his own life, and he said he could see demons and angels too.

Luna survives by building a prickly impenetrable wall that only her brother, Seth, and her niece, Lydia, can get past. Luna lives with Seth, helping him raise his daughter after the sudden abandonment by his wife.

However, life, or perhaps the afterlife, has plans for Luna. A mouthy demon warns her that darkness is rising, and while the demonic are not known for their honesty, a series of events, including the arrival of charming Reed Taylor, and a surprising bid for custody from Lydia’s mother, make Luna wonder if there is some truth in his warning.

Nameless is classified as Urban Fantasy, and it has a lot of the hallmarks of that sub genre: a tough as nails female protagonist with a soft centre, a secret world hidden from the general populace, a love interest with a bad boy. However, it is also something more. Grounded in reality, the characters struggle just as much with depression, drug addiction, mental illness, the effect of suicide on family units and maternal neglect as they do with literal demons. Luna’s relationship with her family is the core of the novel, providing a deep heart for the characters that is so often missing from such novels.

It is within this family dynamic that the novel succeeded best for me. I loved that Luna didn’t have to save the world, just her niece; and for Luna, Seth and Lydia are her world. The trials Luna underwent are analogous to someone battling mental illness or drug addiction for the sake of their loved ones. Luna’s literal demons will speak to anyone who has had to face anxiety; something terrifying that must be overcome, but which no one else can see.

Unfortunately, it is the character of Luna herself that stopped me from enjoying this novel more. I understood her prickly, defensive nature, her anger and pathological need to quip, but her constant aggression became tiring to read about. She had no down time. No moment of reflection. Not once did she hesitate or take a moment to breath and regroup. Perhaps that is the point about Luna. She is impulsive, impetuous and she leaps into things without looking. She can’t afford to look, because she would never move if she did. She doesn’t get to switch off, keeping her endless rage fueled by constantly imagining what acts of violence she would perpetuate on all those around her. It’s exhausting to be Luna, as well as read about her.

I award Nameless

Nameless is available for $3.49 ebook, $13 print book and $9.99 audiobook on Amazon.

Want to learn more about Mercedes M Yardley? Read my interview with her, and my review of her book Pretty Little Dead Girls.

6 thoughts on “Nameless by Mercedes M. Yardley”

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