The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax - Trinity Faegen You Tarzan. Me Jane? No. „I’m Mephisto – you’re Anabo. Since I’m the one who caught your scent, it means you’re intended for me.”
In my very private opinion there are only two possible and healthy viewpoints to adapt when reading The Mephisto Covenant: Incredulous Outrage and Guilty Pleasure. My own has been a mixture of both, but as my final 3-star-rating shows, I primarily went with the latter and consequently had a shitload of fun. I am aware of the fact that there are also readers who consumed the story with a I-want-to-be-her-and-I-need-someone-like-him-in-my-life-feeling bursting in their breasts, but I personally consider that kind of mindframe in combination with the book in question as ‘pretty peculiar’ at best. If you would sort yourself into that category, please stop reading my review right now for your own good.

The good, the bad and the outrageously ugly:
It is surely pretty difficult to base your world-building on selected pillars of Christian mythology – multi-fold and controversial in itself as it is – without inducing some of your potential readers to have a fit. For theologists, philosophers and psychologists are still searching for answers to the good-and-bad-dilemma: Do good and bad exist? Are we born inherently good, inherently bad or something mish-mash in between? How much of the kind of person we turn out to be is fixed by our genetic cocktail and how much is learned or instilled by the society that nurtures us during our formative years? What or who is responsible for a human being to grow a conscience or the ability to feel empathy? As someone who works in the educational sector I strongly detest the genes-only theories. I believe that genes do place certain limitations, but they do not make anybody good or bad. In The Mephisto Covenant there are a few people like Sasha’s Dad who are born being entirely good and happy and unable to hate or envy or begrudge. And they effortlessly stay that way no matter what life dishes out to them. On the other hand there is the majority of people, who sometimes make selfless decisions and on other occasions selfish ones. Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are all more or less reachable destinations – depending on the lives they lead. But – and that made me inexplicably mad – when tempted by evil minions of an ambitious wannabe successor of Lucifer, they are unable to resist selling their souls by default. The heroine has to experience all her living family members and all her friends succumbing to temptation and turning into unspeakably evil and cold abnominations literally over night.. The Purgatory gatekeepers/enforcers are technically employees of Lucifer, but because they are keeping the God-intended balance, they are doing the right thing by Him as well and - being trustworthy and hardworking lads - they have been promised one chance each at soul peace and heavenly bliss: The appearance of their own private Anabo who have to be seduced into loving them: Anabo are rare decendants of Eve’s daughter Aurora, who had been conceived before her mother’s Fall from Grace. Anabo are so pure that they get physically ill in the vicinity of evil, they are so good that they are downright boring, they are not sexually attractive to human men and they are slap-my-other-cheek-too-meek and frighteningly passive. For example, Sasha gets groped between her legs in the school caféteria by a student who sold his soul and all she does is crying and silently enduring. Luckily the plot commences to show her transformation from being 100% bland and pure to being a seductive Mephisto-mate with a sense of self-preservation and a minimum of temperament.
The bad-boy-naive-girl scenario is kind of annoying like hell, but with the right dose of exaggeration also a workable breeding ground for guilty pleasure:

Wanted: Half a dozen angelic virgins for six damaged hell-hotties:
I didn’t have the nerves to actually read one of them until the very last page, but both concept and realisation of this first book in the Kyanos Brothers’ series strongly resemble those of the Black Dagger Brotherhood installments by J.R. Ward and the Midnight Breed books by Lara Adrian – paranormal romance targeted at adults. We have one hot, dark, dangerous, experienced pack guy overcome by his longing to be loved eternally by a fragile, naive, irresistible, virgin female who has a fierce kernel, an otherwordly sexual appetite and some guy-polishing essence hidden somewhere in her demure wrapping. But that female is always – mainly subjectively seen – off limits to that guy, which makes him want her more and at inconvenient times, kindles his jealous streak, his inner animal, his inner cry-baby and several other inners. Certainly angelic Sasha is reluctant to date a guy from hell, but after an irreversible “whoopsie” moment, she is all “I want your scent all over me, Jax” and he is all “I’d want to kill anyone who touched you.” Although I asked myself why on earth would somebody write a “Brotherhood” series for teens I have to admit, the untouched female thing works better for 17 years old Sasha than for a 26 years old lawyer or accountant.

A puddle of molten latex, double standards and other sexy stuff:
All the pleasure that derives from the boy-girl-talks, the conquering, the steamy scenes in their graphic glory, the whimpering, the possessivenes and so on, practically has to be guilty, because the reader is constantly reminded of the double standard that is generously being applied. When the heroine starts to feel sexually attracted to the hero, she states “I am turning into a dirty girl in a virgin’s body.” And that she is finally having sex in raw measures is only allowable, because with the decision to give in she binds herself to her partner for eternity. He on the other hand had “been alive a thousand years and had sex with thousands of females” - without even looking into their eyes in order not to frighten them away by his hellish expression, because of his male needs. The reader feels compensated for this gender injustice, when under the gentle hands of his naive virgin our thousand-females-in-back-alleys-jewel “suffered every guy’s ultimate humilitation, trying to turn his body away.” Yes, you’ve got that right.
Other ridiculous fun-scenes include one in which he creeps in on her while she is trying on jeans in the mall and is standing there “in a pair of jeans and nothing else.” I wrecked my brain but couldn’t remember a situation in which I took off my bra to try on trousers. And I particularly loved the explanation for his forgoing condoms: Being a creature from Hell Ajax is so hot, that condoms simply melt on him. Burned vagina. Mhhh! This leads us to

Poly-function-juice(s) or “It's in the spit, Bro.”
Maybe you are already overwelmed by all the sensational stuff human urine can be used for like curing acne or cooking a Chinese delicacy called Spring Eggs using only prepubescent boy urine. Well, then you have not heard of Mephisto spit and sperm, which are not really two different liquids, but rather the same magical stuff – although the latter is much more “potent” so to say. Mephisto sperm is not one half of conception. Conception simply happens when an Anabo “wishes” for offspring. Isn’t that brilliant? I honestly admire it when authors are brave enough to use ideas that appear to be born at drunken school-girls’ sleepovers into their world-building. Mephisto spit and sperm, in the following shortened to MSaS, functions as an aphrodisiac, it makes the receiver crave the excreter it triggers the transformation process from Anabo to Mephisto. But not like inhaling a virus, more like swallowing vitamins: The more you assimilate, the quicker you change. , it makes the receiver resistant to memory deletion it binds, brand-marks and it heals – broken bones and also skin. Therefore Ajax’s Daddy’s priceless advice before the big night is “heal as you go”, meaning, hmmm, accompanying penetration with sloppy kisses?
But one of the best tricks MSaS has up its sleeve is that it automatically inserts a permanent tracking mechanism in the Anabo it enters. That means every Mephisto – even the evil fallen one that hunts Sasha will be able to locate her without consulting GPSn or Google. How fitting that Ajax and Sasha simple have to copulate like there is no tomorrow in the night before she goes on a dangerous one-woman-mission in Moscow instead of waiting a few more days. As I said: So much silly fun.

If you cannot decide whether you should give The Mephisto Covenant: a try, I would say that the safest option to enjoy the journey is reading the book as if it was its own parody. Spit-laden snorts guaranteed. But I wouldn’t spend money on it.

A note: I based this review on a pre-publication review version, which might considerably differ in places from the novel available on the market.