Posts Tagged: The Merciless

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review: The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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Review: The Merciless by Danielle Vega
The Merciless
Danielle Vega
Genre: Horror, YA
Publication date: June 12th 2014
by Razorbill

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?
-A copy was provided by Penguin Canada for review-


This was my reaction to much of this novel’s… happenings. It’s a horror through and through, and definitely not for the wussies or faint of hearts. After a quick introduction to our protagonist and the setting, we’re thrust into a house-of-torture kind of read where these girls have it in their head that one is a demon that must be exorcised.

“Most girls would just start a burn book.”

But not these girls! These girls opt for pulling hairs out of scalps and taking fingernails out. Yeah.. Excuse me while I go barf!

The book itself is more for the horror and shock value than substance. Character development is not especially strong, for instance. And I found myself frustrated by the number of times the protagonist “almost” got the upper hand in this story – 20 pages spent on her plan to get the girls drugged so she can escape, just to fail in 10 seconds, and so on. But it does offer a pretty decent horror story, nonetheless. And like I said, it’s also not for the faint of heart, let me tell you right now. You’ll be reading detailed accounts of torture including someone’s nail getting ripped out without anything left out of its description. I even had to skip a few pages during a part that involved cockroaches and a dead body. No details spared there either! No, thanks!!

Where there’s a lack in character development, there’s also lacks emotion and depth. While I was horrified by what these girls were doing, I was not crying over any death that occurred in this story. I was just mostly grossed out and traumatized by the lengths they were going to remove this supposed “evil” from this girl. Though, even with the extremes, it’s not exactly unbelievable, especially in light of stories in the news at the moment about girls stabbing each other to prove something to a fictional character created by the internet. This made it all the more shocking to read, to be honest.

Throughout the book, we get flashbacks from our protagonist that quickly tells us she has dark secrets of her own. We also learn a bit of the other girls’ secrets as well, but the main characters’ story ends up being the one with the most meaning. It lent purpose to the story’s twist. Personally, I actually really liked the ending, but I can also see it being a hit or miss for most. I found it to be a good and unique angle the author decided to adopt.

Overall, is pretty much the whole of the book: A one-night stay in a torture-filled house with no escape and a bunch of psychopathic teenagers. There’s not much more I can say about it, really. It’s plain and simply a cheap-thrill kind of read that I would recommend to true horror fans.

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos