Title: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: The Merciless, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Danielle Vega was one of the first authors to follow me on Instagram shortly after I became active, and so, I ordered The Merciless so I could review it. It’s been sitting in my library stack, and with Halloween coming (and that somehow spooky pink cover), I decided it was high time to push it up. As soon as I was finished with The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, I started it. It wasn’t spectacular, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and was blown away by the ending! I really like horror when the month of October hits; Halloween is my favorite holiday and one of my favorite ways to celebrate is with books, of course. The Merciless is a series starter that evokes a mix of Mean Girls and gory, brutal horror reminiscent of Stephen King; I had chills running down my spine. It also kind of seemed tongue-in-cheek, making a weird but interesting effect. I don’t know if I want to finish the series, but it was a good book!
Sophia Flores is used to being the new girl; with her mom as a doctor for the Army, it’s become an unavoidable, and seemingly insurmountable, task. So when she is invited to sit with the most popular girls in school, she jumps at the opportunity to be given such a great social in. And for a while, things are great. Until Riley, the queen bee, insists that they need to help a fellow student, Brooklyn Stevens. Only problem is, she and her friends, Alexis and Grace, seem to think that Brooklyn is being possessed by a demon. What starts as a cruel high school prank ends in blood, hatred, and betrayal, and Sofia is now literally fighting for her life against those she counted as friends…
As I said, there were things that I liked and didn’t about this book, but it was definitely really scary, and I really enjoyed Vega’s pacing; I felt like I was constantly guessing, never sure about who to trust and what was going to happen next; it had me off kilter through most of the time I was reading it, and I was shaking in my boots; there were times when I would walk through the house and hear a noise and jump, or almost scream. I was iffy about the book in the beginning, but I didn’t want to stop reading. Once I was invested, I had to see it through to the end, even as the night grew later. And that ending! I did not see it coming; honestly, for all its flaws, that redeemed it. I really liked Sofia’s narration, and Riley, Alexis, and Grace were evil little terrors in their own right; I had no idea whether they were insane or if there was, in reality, evil in their midst. I may continue this in the future, but I definitely want to check out Vega’s standalone, Survive the Night. The bottom line: Though this book wasn’t one of my favorites, I definitely enjoyed The Merciless and am looking forward to more from Danielle Vega! Next on deck: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles!