By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Title: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Page Count: 279
Rating: B
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: YA Horror
Keywords: Devil, Military, Exorcism
Kid Appropriate: No, there’s literally a mature audience only warning in the front of the book

I picked this up at the 50% off sale that Barnes & Noble had at the beginning of September as a birthday treat to myself along with a tote of other books. I remembered hearing people reading this when it first came out in 2014 and figured I would give it a try. I did not read the synopsis first. Hence, my reading experience fell quite hard into the category of “what the heck did I just read?”.

Now, if you go into reading this after reading the synopsis you probably will not be as shocked as I was but just be prepared for how disturbing and gory this book becomes. I like darker themed stories and the horror genre quite a lot but this one still grossed me out.

I read it in a single afternoon and can confirm that it was a fast-paced read that is as addicting as a bag of chips. You can’t read just one page and put the thing down. Once you start you have to keep reading. Despite this, there are so many elements of this story that make it hard to recommend whether it be the ritual exorcism, animal mutilation, or any of the other messed up events.

The writing itself was fairly good, occasionally verging on corny in the beginning but Vega maintains the intensity of the tale throughout quite well. There is heavy influence from the movie Mean Girls that is impossible to not notice. After reading some other reviews this bothered some people but I just accepted it and moved on without any issues.

It was not a perfect book by any means, hence my B rating, since there were moments when I could not understand why a character did what they did or had a hard time believing the circumstances of certain situations. If you are looking strictly for entertainment and not the next great American novel then this book is actually pretty good.

Sofia was a likable character. She lives with her mother who is in the military, resulting in their family moving often and her maternal grandmother. The grandmother suffered from a stroke prior to the beginning of this story and we primarily get to know her through flashbacks Sofia has from their time in Mexico where the family is originally from. The family element was interesting but not overbearing on the mayhem of the rest of the tale.

I definitely recommend reading this one if you are into the horror genre, do not gross out easily, and if you’re looking for a scarier exorcist read for near Halloween!

About the Author of Adventures In Obsessive Reading

Ms. Winkle is an author and book blogger. Bleeding Heart is the first installment in her Guardian Chronicles series and her first novel. She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana, an MA in International Security from the University of Arizona. When she isn’t studying she can usually be found with a dog and a book.