Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Most Anticipated - The Merciless

The next (and last) pick on my 2014 Most Anticipated list is one whose synopsis chilled me the second I read it. Danielle Vega's The Merciless takes exorcism and mixes them with highschool Shiver, right?!

Just check out this Goodreads synopsis and you'll be as desperate to get your hands on it as I am.
Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

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. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
NEED IT NOW! If this is not enough to make you want to get your hands on this title, perhaps Danielle's Q & A will give you that extra push.

1. Describe The Merciless in three words

Blood. Sacrifice. Secrets.

2. How would you describe the narrator (or main character) of this book? 

I only need one word for this--lonely. Sofia Flores is an army brat whose mother is constantly dragging her to new cities. She'd be the first to tell you that making new friends is a challenge (and finding a boyfriend is borderline impossible.) So when three gorgeous, popular girls at her new school start acting friendly, Sofia's excited--so excited she overlooks the creepier parts of their personalities. Like how their smiles never seem to reach their eyes. And that they're all obsessed with Brooklyn Stevens--an edgy, hipster girl who's pretty strange herself.  

By the time Sofia realizes who the girls she's become friends with actually are it's much, much too late. 

3. Are you able to share a secret about one of the characters, the world, something that inspired something about the world/characters?

ALL of my characters have secrets. We're talking big, juicy secrets. The kind you can never say out loud if you want your friends to stay your friends. But giving away their secrets would spoil the fun so, instead, I'll give away one of my own. It's the reason I wanted to write horror stories in the first place. 

You know those urban legends you tell around a campfire? The ones you know aren't real because they always happened to someone's cousin's friend's brother? Well I happen to know that one of them is 100% factual. I know because it happened to my mom when she was a teenager. 

My mom had been sleeping over at her friend Debbie's house when they noticed something on the ceiling they were certain hadn't been there the night before: two tiny, little holes drilled into the plaster.

My mom and Debbie freaked out. Wouldn't you? Turns out the attic was directly above Debbie's room, and they got it in their heads that some crazed psycho killer had drilled the holes in the ceiling to watch them sleep. They told Debbie's parents but, of course, they came up with some nonsense parent explanation for what happened. Like maybe the ceiling was cracked or something? Or maybe the holes had been there all along. My mom and Debbie weren't convinced, but it was better than the alternative. Debbie's parents plastered up the holes and, after a week or so, everyone forgot about the whole thing. 

Then, a few months later, my mom was staying the night again. She and Debbie had just turned off the light and crawled into bed when they heard something. A kind of scratching noise coming from the ceiling. They immediately remembered the holes they'd found during their last sleepover, and leapt out of bed and ran for Debbie's parents. Together, the four of them crept up to the attic to see who was there. 

But the attic was empty. The only thing they found was the tiny spot on the floor where someone had started drilling a new hole. 

Now, my mom and Debbie were totally freaked. This just proved that someone was up there! But Debbie's parent's insisted the plaster was just caving in and told the girls to go to bed--they'd fix it in the morning. So Debbie and my mom crawled back into bed, but they couldn't sleep. They stared up at the ceiling, terrified, until finally--

"Someone needs to check under the bed," Debbie said. My mom immediately realized she was right. Neither of them would be able to sleep until they knew there wasn't a killer hiding beneath them. The girls played a quick game of rock, paper, scissors to see who would do it. My mom lost, so she crouched down on her hands and knees and peered into the darkness. 

There was something there. My mom reached forward, and pulled out an old shoebox. She took off the lid... 

Inside, she found a drill covered in fresh plaster.

4. This book revolves around girls attempting an exorcism. What kind of research did you do for this aspect of the book?

Let's just say I hope the police never look at my Google search history! I started by digging into all of the creepiest, strangest rituals of traditional exorcisms. But my characters are teenage girls, not priests, so traditional wasn't going to cut it. I had to get more creative than that. In the end, I researched everything from the most vile forms of torture (both mental and physical) to how to perform a bathroom baptism and what's the most delicious thing to eat late at night. Now I know lots of creepy things: like how to break someone's knee cap, that you can drown in a bathroom sink, and caramel corn dipped in Nutella is absolutely heavenly

5. What 2014 release are you most looking forward to?

Hands down it's Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor. My heart will not rest until I know what happens to Karou and Akiva and Zuzana and Mic.

A huge thank you to Danielle for taking the time to answer them! This title is one of the ones I am desperate to get my hands on as soon as possible. The answer to question number 3 is terrifying. I wouldn't sleep for a long time! VERY creepy. It gives me even higher hopes that The Merciless will be terrifying.

If you want to learn more, check out the author's twitter, or the publisher's website for more information.

The Merciless will be in stores August 7, 2014. Pre-orders for this title are available at some retailers if you want to take advantage of that.



Let me know in the comments what you think of the synopsis, or just flail over how much you want to read this too. Also, check back soon for a contest where you could win one of my featured titles (be sure to pay attention to these Question and Answers as they'll help).


  1. This book sounds insanely creepy! I can't wait to check it out!

  2. this book sounds awsome. i cant wait to read it.


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