Got Mercy?

Wow. Okay. Where do I even start with this one? I guess I should start by saying that these books are not for the faint of heart. Every single one of these novels is gruesome, and the graphic violence would have anyone cringing in their chair. And I couldn’t get enough! The horror and carnage from one page to the next kept me on edge from the moment I picked up the book.

I was expecting to be wowed by the third book in the Merciless series, but I was floored by the perfect pace and rawness of the story. In Merciless III: Origins of Evil, Danielle Vega tells us the story of Brooklyn. Before the exorcism in the first book, before the evil, before the spiky blond hair. In this thrilling prequel, we learn just how Brooklyn came into her evil and succumbed to her sins. And all it starts with is Hope.

Hope, of course, being Brooklyn’s new crush’s sister. But she isn’t quite normal, and her adoptive brother and father are vague and wary when they talk about her. When the first “accident” happens, I was sure that the evil forces behind it were Gavin (her crush) or Pastor Joe. I was convinced that the bad guy was exactly who we were all supposed to think it was. Who Brooklyn thought it was.

But Hope turns all of that on its head in several scenes. I don’t want to spoil the whole book, but suffice to say that how Brooklyn becomes the monster we find at the end of Merciless is exactly as graphic as the rest of the series. These are just a few of my favorite lines that really capture Vega’s mastery in the art of storytelling.

“‘And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away,'” Hope says. “Matthew 5:30, right? Isn’t that the passage you and Dad were always quoting?”

She tosses something to the ground in front of me. Static fills my ears, and it’s a second before I realize it’s not static–it’s screaming.

I’ve always liked gory movies filled with explosions and blood, but watching a movie with a predictable ending is far different than reading something like

I feel teeth break beneath my knuckles. I feel lips split and skin tear. […] stops blinking.

Stops breathing.

Stops moving.

The staccato of the lines and the intensity of the description come together for an invigorating experience that puts you into the story.

One last thing that I appreciated was the nod to the next part of the story, where it all begins and the story comes full circle again. It made me want to pick up the first book and start the whole saga over again!

I’ll definitely be rereading Merciless III, as well as its predecessors, more than once. This book gets a 9/10 and is definitely a book that you’ll want on your shelves. I’ll also be reading Vega’s other novel, Survive the Night during this challenge, and I’m already pumped for the experience.

Tune in next week for my thoughts on Hannah Moskowitz’s Not Otherwise Specified.

Til then,

x FG