Do you highly enjoy books based on vicious murder, satanic demons, and the mean girls from your high school losing their entire fucking minds? ‘Cause BOY OH BOY do I have a novel for your cute little twisted heart. I found this book at Target (adorned with the notorious red 20% off sticker on the front) and thought to myself, “OHHHH is that a pentagram? Hail Satan, get in my cart you beautiful piece of book” and continued on my weekly $200 Target binge.
The Merciless by Danielle Page is fucking terrifying. Think of Mean Girls with cult-like religious undertones. I thought the girls in my high school growing up were satanic as heck, but Vega proved to me that they were sweet little narcissistic angels compared to the characters in her novel. The book centers on an exorcism that extends beyond the realm of your basic “head-spinning-green-bile-vomiting” totally normal purification process. In complete honesty, I’m not sure which aspect frightened me more: the demonic presence or the psychotic religious obsession the girls were plagued with. I’m not a religious person by any means, but I have nothing against anyone who chooses to believe in something bigger than themselves. It’s when that devotion turns physically violent and murderous that I start to pump the brakes and think ‘hey, maybe this individual isn’t mentally stable”. This was the exact thought running through my head throughout the duration of this novel.
Now don’t get me wrong, the demon-infestation aspect was just as terrifying. If you can freak out a person who believes death ends in neither heaven nor hell, I say job well done. While I don’t believe in demons or the devil, I do believe in being scared shitless over the unknown. And I am a gigantic vagina when it comes to anything even remotely scary. I’ll hear noises while home alone in broad daylight and refuse to walk down the hall to the bathroom without one of my cats in tow. Cause they’re going to protect me, goddamnit!
Clearly I have deeply-seated psychological issues when it comes to being home alone. I blame it on having five siblings and never fully enjoying any goddamn peace and quiet. So why I decide to read horror novels such as The Merciless is a fact I’ll never fully grasp. One of my favorite characteristics of a novel is the surprise twist that comes out of left field and smacks you in the face, and this book delivered just that. I found myself rooting for the bad guy, namely the baddest guy of all in terms of religion. The Devil himself, el fricken diablo in all his glory. I never saw the ending coming; I was completely blindsided. And grossed out. This book is dripping with blood and gore, if you’ve got yourself a blood fetish you’re in for quite the ride. I had to skip over a few paragraphs because of my aforementioned sissy-ness.
Vega does a fantastic job of keeping readers hooked from page one. There’s very little background description behind the main character, essentially allowing the author to jump right in to her grotesque fright-fest. She’ll make you force your significant other to keep the light on while you’re sleeping despite their adamant protests. Say goodbye to your cuticles; this nail-biting thriller will leave you with nightmares.
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Smooches, bitches. ♥ G