The Ride Home (The Vega Family Book 1)

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  3. The Merciless (The Merciless, #1) by Danielle Vega
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Mean Girls meets The Exorcist? I wante Sofia just wants to fit in, like any new girl would. I wanted to love this book. The book itself was unique: YA horror isn't something I find good examples of frequently, though, so when I saw this on sale on BookOutlet, I naturally had to grab it! This book was so. The narrator felt very shallow as a character; she knew what was happening was wrong, but kept going along with it because she wanted to be "accepted", blah blah blah, typical teenager bullshit.

None of the characters ever received any real fleshing out; to be frank, there was probably more backstory around the narrator's stroke-affected grandmother than anyone else.

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The violence throughout the second half varied between really cringe-y in a good way, to cringe-y in a bad way, and by the end of it, I just felt like I'd wasted a couple of hours of my life. I won't be picking up the sequel and would not recommend this title. View all 15 comments. See this review and more like it on www. You name a horror movie, I've probably seen it twice, but for some reason I don't gravitate towards scary books as much as I probably should.

Clocking in at pages, I blew through this baby in an afternoon. While it's not the most original horror ever, and there were a few stumbling blocks - particularly at the beginning and very end - the middle section of the story was is a wild ride that was difficult to put down. Buyer be warned though, this is horror that I think is best suited for fans of the genre. To be quite frank about it, a layperson who doesn't particularly enjoy scares or being grossed out by gore should probably find another book to read as this book has both in spades.

While I think that Vega nails the horrific aspects of this book, it's the other stuff that I've come to look for in the novels I read that I found lacking - particularly complex characters with true blue development from page one until the end. Aside from Sofia and to a lesser extent, Brooklyn, we know absolutely nothing about any of the characters. What are their home lives like? What do other students in the school think of them? Why does Riley think she knows how to exorcise a demon from anybody? Because we don't know these imperative facts about the characters, we cannot know what motivates their actions, making the majority of their decisions feel like they were generated from the stock horror movie dumb decision playbook.

For a novel that was published under the Razorbill - the Young Adult imprint of Penguin Random House - this story went heavy on adult horror content. I didn't have a problem with it, but those looking for spooky and atmospheric horror alone should probably look elsewhere as this is filled to the brim with blood, torture and gore, as well as other adult oriented content such as drug abuse and mild sexual content.

Vega took the time to incorporate twists and turns into this to elevate it out of just being a by-the-numbers slasher, though the way that supernatural horror elements are incorporated sort of comes at a detriment to some character's arcs.

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Some of the human characters in this story are deranged enough on their own that the entirety of the horror could have come from their behavior. The inclusion of supernatural horror alongside the human horror left me wondering how we were meant to feel about these characters when all was said and done. All in all, this wasn't a bad read. It's extremely fast paced and full of enough horror to please any fan of the genre. Though I probably wouldn't pay full price to watch a movie version of this in theaters, I'd gladly sit at home in the dark with a big bowl of popcorn and let this indulge the old scare center of my brain for a couple of hours.

Feb 16, Carol rated it liked it Shelves: View all 3 comments. Jun 02, Laura rated it it was amazing Shelves: I immediately said yes, please! The beginning felt more like mean girls, but then the book turns into something else entirely and I loved every second of it.

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Not for the weak, but definitely for fans of horror. I enjoyed every second in that torture house. This was the ultimate page-turner. I just could not get enough of these crazy girls!


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The Merciless is completely unlike anything I've ever read. Danielle Vega created a life long fan out of me in just her debut novel. This will certainly be one great author for the horror genre. I am so in. Sep 14, Cyna rated it did not like it Shelves: So basically, a novel centered around a trope that I hate, played completely straight, taken to an infuriating extreme, for no meaningful reason and no appreciable payoff. Girls are awful sociopathic monsters that all secretly hate one another, and cut each other into ribbons over boys!

The only thing the twist does is undermine any weight the novel might have had with some fucking ambiguity, and retroactively justify the cruel antics of the, again, literally torturous Alpha Bitches. It goes out of its way to make its characters caricatures of human beings, piling on their cruelty, their pettiness, their selfishness, their genuine murderousness, without doing a lick to humanize them in the opposite direction.

I get wanting to have friends and fit in, but Sofia is dense and ineffectual in a way that I have no patience for. A Mexican girl and a black girl having to live in a town with a version of the Confederate flag lining every street? I could easily imagine Grace and Sofia being weary of going against Riley and Alexis, two pretty, wealthy white girls from influential families, because they know that they could easily cry their white girl tears and point the finger at the them, quite possibly the only two brown girls in this unapologetically white-supremacist town.

The foundation is there for it, and I find that whole Mississippi flag scene — along with the discussion that follows, about how Grace and Sofia feel so much safer in the land of stars and bars than in either of the cities they came from — too fucking oblivious to be anything but intentional. Yet the book never explicitly addresses it. Oh shit, did I not mention the intense homoeroticism? They get up in her space constantly, and there are long, drawn-out moments of close-enough-to-kiss tension that I thought were intentional.

But only sometimes and she feels bad about it, maybe? Christ, this book is a clusterfuck of awful. So yeah, fuck this noise. There was nothing redeeming about The Merciless for me except its brevity. Oct 15, Michael Araujo rated it it was amazing Shelves: Warning, there will be some mild cursing in this review. Second warning, the review has graphic parts. Third warning, shit got crazy. One minute you're spying on someone you barely know for people you've just met and the next thing you know, you're locked in a house with crazy people who love to physically torture others.

I went into this novel thinking it was one thing. As I read I began to notice it's not what I thought but was something else, but by the end I found out I was right all along. Wi Warning, there will be some mild cursing in this review. Without spoiling much of anything, the novel follows the main character, Sofia, as she meets some new friends who all share a dark secret. The beginning of the book started off with a Mean Girls vibe.

I mean, you have the new girl, the three popular girls, and the weird girl no one talks to. There was even a scene that reminded me of the movie. But the comparison ends there. Once the action got rolling, shit hit the fan. I realized that these girls were seriously mentally unstable and needed some help, ASAP! The shit that they did in the name of "exorcising" had me squirming in my seat. Now, I can watch scary movies and jump and be scared. But when I see things of physical pain, that's when I start to squirm. I'm talking, cutting of the body, nail guns, and even sliding knives under someones nails.

But I lived for it. Not the actions, but for what the book was putting me through. My heart was pounding, I was jumping at little sounds, I was listening for every creak. It's not that it was scary, it's that I don't mess with pain.

And these girls were psycho. The writing was so well done, enough to get me to physically react. My heart pounded the whole entire time from the nonstop action. The beginning started off a bit slow and I couldn't wait for the good parts to come up, but when it did, boy was I not ready at all. It hit me like a train coming full speed and I was stuck on the train tracks.

What made me happy was that, these girls were all damaged. I'm not happy that they were damaged, but that they had character. From drug addiction, to straight up crazy, you knew who was who and pitied a few of them and hoped they would survive. I won't say who survives though. The twist at the end didn't get me as much because I went in thinking it was going to happen the whole book.


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  • I didn't expect it to be this way though. I flew through the novel because I couldn't put it down, and now I can't wait to continue with the second book. It's been a while since a book held my attention with such a grip. I did get scared at one part but that's because of personal reasons. I love scary movies and I haven't found a book that scared me yet. I'm guessing I haven't found the right book, and I realized that I generally get scared with one thing. I can do ghosts, I can do aliens, and monsters and even brave scary ass clowns. But if I see a demon on screen I will shit bricks and take off for the hills.

    So when Sofia's abuela started screaming "Diablo! Diablo" I nearly shat myself. I put that book down and made sure the devil himself wasn't sitting beside me. Even writing about it now has me spooked and jumping at small sounds. I don't know what it is, but I don't mess with no demons. With that being said, if the second book features more of them, I'm sure I'll have found the first book that actually scared me. All in all, if I needed to sum up the novel in three words it would definitely be, "bitches be trippin'!

    Oct 20, Katie rated it it was ok. Conflicted about this one. Jun 25, nat. Jun 13, Faye, la Patata rated it liked it Shelves: I do admit that the very first reason I wanted to read this book was because of one review - Giselle's at the Xpresso Reads. I like the thrill of being scared or freaked the crap out. I don't know why, but it definitely makes me feel alive, despite the effects of it soon after which involves clutching my blankie and sleeping with the lights on. I'm sure my co-bl I do admit that the very first reason I wanted to read this book was because of one review - Giselle's at the Xpresso Reads.

    I'm sure my co-blogger, Amir, will agree with me on this as she is a horror fanatic herself.


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    • It definitely made me squirm. I'm pretty certain I cringed mentally at times, maybe even shielded my eyes from the text. There are a lot of disturbing shit right here, that much is for sure, which is highly surprising given how this is aimed at the Young Adult market. This book didn't hold back with the details, which is quite fascinating, to be honest, while a bit appalling in the same breath.

      I think for stuff like this where I'm in the middle, a list is in order. Call me weird or strange, but I like it when a book goes all-out. I loved the details of the "tortures" here Ohhhh yeah, hardcore stuff right there, baby. If you're easily squeamish, beware. This is not for the faint of heart. If you're up for a challenge, though, this shit right here is legit. The shock value is quite insane. Don't expect to feel a lot of impact or emotional connections with any characters. This story is quite shallow in that respect, but fortunately, I'm sure the book was made with things like those not in mind, anyway.

      A few things happen, and then we get a trip towards hell which includes psycho girls and possibly demons in the flesh? Usually, I want more substance from the characters, but this one got me flipping pages nonetheless. The plot is enough to make you want to know what will happen next. Quite predictable, to be honest, but I still really liked it. It definitely went into the "darker unknown" route, which I find really interesting. What I Didn't Like: There are these high school girls who have a warped view of Christianity and Exorcism and the like, and the stuff they say to each other and to other people are so ridiculous I swear my eyes got etched into my skull due to the amount of eye-rolling activity.

      Imagine some cult leader fanatic saying some out-of-the-world-silly and unrealistic crap, and just replace that person with a blonde, beautiful, model-like high schooler. With two equally beautiful, popular girls by her side who serve as her "assistants". Yeah, I'm grimacing with you. Stereotypical shit aside, they weren't memorable, which probably works for the kind of book it is, which aims more at shocking you than making you emotionally invested. It's like, she may die, and I won't really cry at her funeral, if that makes sense.

      It would have been nicer if I weren't as detached as I was. I would have felt some sort of fear over her safety and stuff, but then again, it didn't feel like that was the goal. It would have been nice. The writing was decent, but it did feel a bit limited sometimes. Don't go into this book expecting to encounter lyrical prose. It's actually quite simple which I guess, once again, works for how fast-paced it was , with some descriptions being very blatant.

      It was an okay book for me. I only went into this because of the horror factor, and it certainly delivered in that aspect. As for the other aspects like reader connection, substance, characterisation It was still enjoyable for me, so I hope you would enjoy it, too, if you feel like overcoming your fears! Oct 29, Ashley Scott rated it did not like it Shelves: This was a real fart knocker, if I'm honest. The industry is dead, folks. Jun 01, Zuky the BookBum rated it it was ok Shelves: Also read my review here: Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned.

      Well, well, well, what can I say? So we have 3 beautiful and popular God-fearing girls who adopt the new girl into their secretive little gang and warn her against demon-possessed Brooklyn. To cure Brooklyn of her devilish ways they decide to kidnap her, stick her in a basement and torture he Also read my review here: Well yes, I probably am, but the blurb tells you the exact same thing, making the whole suspense element of this book completely useless and a waste of the author's time.

      Due to this being a novel aimed at Young Adult readers, the language, for me, felt simple and lack lustre. I can only read so much before it becomes laughable for me, and laughable it became. All the characters speech was so unrealistic and straightforward it was almost impossible to believe anyone would actually talk like that.

      This unrealistic speech really made it difficult to connect to any of the characters on a deeper level so I had no empathy for any of them. The plot, overall, is just a little bit… completely… ridiculous and nonsensical. The blandness of the characters, scenes and speech make the whole thing feel like a pretty demented, but dumb dream. Anyone up for reading one of the most predictable endings ever?

      My God, what an unexciting end to a pretty unexciting novel - at least it was consistent. I did read this over the period of just one day, so it had me wanting to finish it, but not for any of the right reasons. Do I want to put myself through reading the second book in the series? Jun 06, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Shelves: I went into this book knowing it would be scary, but I didn't know to what extent, really.

      It's definitely horror with plenty of blood, some messed up characters, and some weird views of Christianity. Although it's not a genre that I'm used to reading, I could not stop reading! Last night, I thought I'd just read a little bit before I went to bed and ended up staying up until 2am to finish it. View all 7 comments. May 29, Danny rated it really liked it. I found it a little slow at the beginning and it gradually got more intense as the book went on. The twist was interesting but not super shocking. Definitely the perfect read for this time of year, and again if you don't like books that are graphic or gory then this is not for you!

      Oct 06, Pip rated it really liked it. She has to make new friends and it's not always easy. She enters pretty quickly in a group of three friends Riley, Grace and Alexis but she befriends as well Brooklyn, the girl who Riley thinks is possessed. After following the group in a house, Sofia finds herself in the middle of an exorcism. But who of these girls can she really trust?

      The Merciless (The Merciless, #1) by Danielle Vega

      Almost the entire book "Some people have evil inside them, but that's what God is for, to fix them when they can't fix themselves. Almost the entire book takes place during one night in that house. We follow step by step what the three friends are up to, and what they'll do to try to save Brooklyn. There's blood, exorcism, torture A little bit of everything. I found myself literally glued to the book , I almost read all of it in one sitting, so hard to put down!

      I never read a horror book like this one. My favorite movie genre is horror, so when I read the plot for this book I immediately felt intrigued by it.

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      The story is creepy and some parts were even disturbing. I loved the plot and the writing style. The book never slows down , I always wanted to know more, what happens now?! I liked the characters, every one is very different from the other, everyone has a personality and secrets For me the ending was a little predictable , I had my guesses and doubts very early on, but hey, if horror is my favorite genre to watch, I'm allowed to be good at guessing in books as well, right? I can't wait to have the sequel in my hands Unfortunately I'll have to wait a little because on my amazon it's not out yet sigh: I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through and there were quite a few twists that I was NOT expecting, especially the ending.

      Definitely did not see that coming it all! I found myself shuddering with disgust more than a few times, which is always the mark of a good story for me. I liked this one, I flew right through this book and it held my attention the entire time. It had some very cringe worthy moments that I had to brave through but I did find myself extremely entertained and anxiously turning page after page in anticipation throughout the whole story.

      I will most definitely be picking up the second book. A Great eerie read! Apr 27, Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing. I thought I was prepared for this book. Yes, I had been warned that it's a brutal, violent, upsetting book. I've been reading Stephen King since I was in fourth grade and I've loved scary movies almost my whole life. It may be a little creepy but nothing I can't handle. This book gave me actual, literal chills and I spent about half the book feeling li I thought I was prepared for this book. This book gave me actual, literal chills and I spent about half the book feeling like I was going to be sick.

      Obviously, I can't discuss the reasons why because of spoilers. I will say, though, is the fact that one of the most upsetting things in the book for me was the idea of mob mentality. You would think that one person would be the voice of reason and talk everybody down but, even though she realized that it was a bad idea, Sofia keeps her mouth shutinitially because she figures it's just a prank and later, when she realizes how serious the situation is, she's afraid that if she speaks up, she's going to get the same treatment.

      It reminded me of the Sylvia Likens case. She and her younger sister went to live with a neighbor lady while her parents were traveling with a carnival for work. Sylvia died there after being tortured. The woman's children and even other kids from the neighborhood participated in this torture. It's not a perfect comparison the main part of this novel takes place over a few hours, not weeks but you get the idea. This book is not for the faint of heart. Or probably even the normal of heart. Even so, this is an amazing, brilliant book. Recommended to the five people or so who can handle it.

      View all 10 comments. Jan 04, Elle's Book Blog rated it really liked it Shelves: June 12, Genre: Young Adult Horror This book surprised me a lot! What I was expecting to get was a darker story about an exorcism, but instead, I got a very dark and gory story about three girls who torture a classmate because they THINK she is possessed. You've heard some of my story. I would love to hear yours! You can reach me at: Are you an author? Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography.

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