The Merciless by Danielle Vega is the author’s first novel. It was published on June 12th of this year (2014) and its marketed as horror. The book is a bright pink hardcover with a gold pentagram on the cover, no dust jacket and deckle edges. Physically, the book stands out and that’s what made me want to read it. Oh and also the mention on the first page that says “FOR MATURE AUDIENCE ONLY”. I mean, this book is still categorized as YA and at my local bookstore, YA means 13 +. Do you know a lot of “mature” 13 years old? I don’t, but anyway, bottom point is: I was curious.
Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
(The summary was taken on Goodreads)
I give this book 3 to 3 ½ stars, I’m not sure. It is not my first horror novel and after reading Gillian Flynn’s novels (which aren’t even horror), I’m not easily impressed by gore. Some called it violent, brutal, twisted, even shocking. This book has a lot of gore (performed by teenage girls), but it didn’t shock me. I just felt like it wasn’t really believable. I didn’t relate to any of the characters and it didn’t felt like I was going through this with them, as it often does when you read a book and get immersed in the story, it just felt like I was reading a book. By the middle of it, I was waiting for the ending impatiently because 150+ pages of torturing someone can get old. The writing wasn’t bad but it wasn’t memorable either. The plot overall made me think of the modern horror movies that come out in theaters nowadays. You can kinda guess how it’s gonna end, but you’re still watching the HOW and WHEN and WHO for entertainment, and when it actually happens you’re just like, OK. And like many reviews already mentioned, it does resemble Means Girls. Sadistic Mean Girls perhaps.
Now I realize I don’t sound very enthusiastic about the book but 3 stars isn’t bad in my opinion, it’s just good, not great. Here is what I liked about it, and to whom I would recommend it:
1. There is still kind of a twist at the end, so if you’re not familiar with horror, you might not expect it. Or if you’re a FAN of horror, you may enjoy it either way.
2. Secrets. I love when characters have secrets you don’t really expect (how could you, you know have only known them for 50 pages) and they have to spill them at some point. It always makes the story more interesting. It also helps to create layered characters.
3. Details. So by the summary, you know there is an exorcism going on, or an attempt at one. Exorcism aren’t generally pretty, and the whole process is lavishly detailed. I winced a few times.
4. I would recommend you go into this book NOT expecting excessive horrific scenes. There is violence and cruelty, but if you expect too much you’ll end up disappointed, or underwhelmed. Lastly, I think the “mature audience only” thing in the beginning was more of a design perks than a real warning. There is a few curse words and a lot of blood spilling but nothing traumatizing as it is, like I said, not extremely believable.
I must admit I am hard to please and I don’t give a lot of 5 stars reviews, so if you’re curious about this book and ready for something like that, I suggest you try it, as it has many good reviews still and is still different from most YA books I’ve read. (It actually could be an adult horror book if it wasn’t that the characters are 16 years old) .
Do you plan on reading it? Have you read it and liked it? Comment and let me know!
As always, you can purchase The Merciless on The Book Depository and get free international shipping!
Happy Reading 🙂