Title: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
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.
By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
The Merciless is one of those rare young adult horror novels that does what a young adult horror novel should do: not tiptoe around the fact that it IS a horror novel. I can’t even list how many young adult horror novels I have not been able to finish because they are too dumbed down, and almost ashamed of the genre that they are in. But Danielle Vega did not write that way, and The Merciless is easily one of my new favorite novels.
Vega is miraculous at mixing both gore and teen angst in a way that is almost artistic, but revolting at the same time. She grapples with Christianity, God, and the devil, but she makes them more relatable to contemporary life. The Merciless is clearly a novel that challenges good versus evil, but also examines the forces inside of us that pull us one way or another. Vega used the struggle of the teenage experience in the most profound way, and it was amazing how well she developed every single one of her characters in such a short novel.
“The evil hovers around us, thick and suffocating.”
Throughout reading The Merciless I was surprised over and over by Vega’s way of describing elements that others may not have been able to describe. Her description of the evil in the room that was suffocating the girls made me feel the atmosphere of that room for myself, and I became fully emerged in her words. Vega has made horror artistic for a new generation, and this book can be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike. I have not been this excited about a horror novel since Misery by Stephen King, and I will be reading everything that Vega produces from here on out.
Vega has proven her status as a staple writer to define our time, and that is coming from a very tough reviewer.
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