- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Razorbill (2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1595147225
- ISBN-13: 978-1595147226
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 154 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Merciless Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 12, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Sofia just moved to a new town. With a mom who works for the military, this is nothing new. What sets this particular move apart is when three of the prettiest, most popular girls in her new high school befriend her. While Sofia may not share the ultra-Christian values of her new comrades Riley, Alexis, and Grace, it doesn't prevent her from forming a strong bond with them shortly after meeting. The trio confide in her about Brooklyn, the punkish, rebellious girl whom they fear may be possessed by the devil. When Riley takes the drastic step of kidnapping Brooklyn to exorcise the demon she fears is inside of her, Sofia first fights for what she believes to be right before being pushed into a battle for her very survival. This pulse-pounding, debut novel creates a wickedly creepy atmosphere where mean girls quickly turn homicidal. Readers may wince in pain as Riley cuts the sins out of her victims with a butcher knife, proving this story is not for the faint of heart. Still, it's a perfect book to give to older teens in need of satiating their potentially voracious horror appetites.—Ryan P. Donovan, Southborough Public Library, MA
"Chilling—think 'Mean Girls' meets 'The Exorcist'...a fast-paced thrill-ride."—MTV.com
“Pretty Little Liars fans, get a sneak peek at your new favorite book The Merciless…a nail biting thriller.”—Seventeen Magazine
“Sick. Wicked. Twisted. This is my kinda fun.” —Marlene King, executive producer of Pretty Little Liars
"Mean Girls with an occult twist."—Kirkus Reviews
"This pulse-pounding, debut novel creates a wickedly creepy atmosphere where mean girls quickly turn homicidal."—School Library Journal
"Page-to-page Stephen King-style terror..."—Booklist
"After finishing this gruesome and heart-racing novel, readers will be left wondering if the devil is in us all."—VOYA
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I think the problem I had with it is that it was too many cheesy cliches at once. It's got a group of popular bitchy girls, that make fun of the loner/weird girl, with the new girl both befriending the popular clique but feeling sorry for the loner.
Then it decides it wants to be a paranormal book, not just a horror book, and relies on demons and witchcraft to move the plot forward.
About halfway in is where it lost me. The concept wasn't bad, but I didn't love the execution.
It was like a Stephen King horror film on the page, so I would definitely categorize this as YA horror.
I enjoyed the story, but it was not what I was expecting. I love a good, solid, witchy tale. This was a good witchy tale, but not solid. It was like 'The Craft' meets 'Mean Girls,' which is a weird combo for me.
With that said, I will say that the story kept me engaged at the start, but by the middle, I was getting chills up my spine. By novel's end my heart was pumping, but I felt the author spent too much time on one scene that played out for the majority of the novel. The story needed to be broken up a little there in the middle.
Usually in horror, authors give readers/viewers a chance to catch their breath, to sit back and breathe for a moment. Not Vega. She just digs into readers even deeper, until the final word.
For me, this was also a visual read. I could see this playing out in my head, which creeped me out even more. I mean, it IS October, so what better time to have the chill slowly creep up the spine?
If this sounds like your cup of tea, the go for it. Just know that this is not a typical witchy read and you might need to sleep with the lights on at novel's end.
I would describe this as a Mean Girls meets The Cult with a bit more commitment to gore and a darker progression for the characters and was NOT disappointed in the plot or characters. Each character served their purpose well and brought their own factor of broken, deranged or even just misled, to the story in a way that complimented the craziness that ensued.
The Merciless is a fast paced read that pretty much gets into action from the get go. At first I was worried I wasn’t being given enough backstory to empathize with or relate to the characters, but as the pages went by this became less of a problem. Between the mystery and scheming, pitying the victims and rooting for the protagonist wasn’t really an issue by time I was about a third of the way through. If anything the mystery added to the intrigue just nicely.
Without giving anything away, I will say that by the end, you’re really not sure who to root for as each main character has their own issues and ‘demons’ to deal with and confess to. This story gives you everything from a little religious hysteria (somewhat reminiscent of the salem witch trials) to classic exorcism and a good old dose of crazed violence.
Finally, I would definitely recommend this to all you paranormal horror fans but not to any of you who can’t handle the occasional severed appendage.
I found the first 90% interesting, well thought out, and intriguing but the train falls off at the rails at the end. The ending jumps on you and with little fanfare it’s over. Maybe the author did this just to set up for a sequel but it feels rushed and not like the rest of he book. I wish the ending was worthy of the rest of the book, but I don’t think it was. Expecting the sequel to do more of the same, it will remain on my maybe list for now.
Vega is extremely creative in how she writes her books and the description of scenes. With a "Mean girls meets exorcist" vibe to the book, it is filled with Drama, gore, and twists and turns that leave you shocked. I read the ending of this with my jaw on the floor!
Side Note: Billed as Mean Girls meets the Exorcist, this story has little in common with either one of the aforementioned titles, it quickly sets up like such a hybrid but quickly veers down its own path.