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The Merciless IV: Last Rites

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The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case. The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard's wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She's trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Ber The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case. The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard's wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She's trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Berkley's captors search for the mark of the devil on her body. They say they want to save her--drive the devil away and cleanse her soul--but will she make it out alive? When Berkley arrived in Italy a week ago, the last thing she expected was that she'd end up fighting for her life. After spending six months at the Institute, confined to a room with the dangerous-yet-alluring Sofia Flores, Berkley was certain that a vacation in Italy with her two best friends would be the perfect getaway. But Berkley is hiding a terrible secret, one that threatens to undo everything. As she's forced to face her wicked past, she learns that the devil is always watching, and no one is coming to save her.


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The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case. The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard's wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She's trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Ber The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case. The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard's wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She's trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Berkley's captors search for the mark of the devil on her body. They say they want to save her--drive the devil away and cleanse her soul--but will she make it out alive? When Berkley arrived in Italy a week ago, the last thing she expected was that she'd end up fighting for her life. After spending six months at the Institute, confined to a room with the dangerous-yet-alluring Sofia Flores, Berkley was certain that a vacation in Italy with her two best friends would be the perfect getaway. But Berkley is hiding a terrible secret, one that threatens to undo everything. As she's forced to face her wicked past, she learns that the devil is always watching, and no one is coming to save her.

30 review for The Merciless IV: Last Rites

  1. 4 out of 5

    kat

    video review to come. 1.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    A solid 4 stars for me. I’ve enjoyed the Merciless series and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. The Merciless: Last Rites is a YA horror book that centers around Berkley. The book goes back and forth between her time at a mental health facility (after a serious breakdown) and her time after-visiting her friends in Italy. Without giving anything away, creepy/disturbing stuff happens to Berkley while she’s in Italy-very creepy. Recommended to readers that enjoy YA/horror books.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jojobean

    That ending tho

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole (FearYourEx)

    Of all of the Merciless books this one definitely kept me the most interested. The first half was a bit slow, but it was giving us a ton of background on Berkeley and what she has been through. We have flashbacks to her being in the Institute with Sofia Flores and now with her friends in Italy. The flashbacks seemed to be the most important even if it was only breadcrumbs each time. I also feel like of all of the Merciless books this one had the most interesting storyline in my opinion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    This story continues to be amazing! The characters and the plots are what really makes the reader super invested. Continuing to read this series is interesting because I have never been one to like horror. This series started me reading a new genre and I can’t be more excited. Vega knows how to hook a reader and knows what to say to keep them reading. Longer review to come soon!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "They didn’t bring me down here to hit me a few times, scare me away from their boyfriends. They brought me here to sacrifice me." The Merciless is one of my favorites and I’m sad to see it come to an end. I’ve always looked forward to read something that will make me extremely uncomfortable and creep me out. Danielle Vega has this Poe way of expressing the horror inside and brings it out in the most promising of ways. Last Rites starts off differently than the other three in this series. But it "They didn’t bring me down here to hit me a few times, scare me away from their boyfriends. They brought me here to sacrifice me." The Merciless is one of my favorites and I’m sad to see it come to an end. I’ve always looked forward to read something that will make me extremely uncomfortable and creep me out. Danielle Vega has this Poe way of expressing the horror inside and brings it out in the most promising of ways. Last Rites starts off differently than the other three in this series. But it slowly catches up to the others and I tore through the last hundred pages to see that earth-shattering end. This one takes us on an adventure outside of the country but evil still lurks behind every dark corner. It switches from the before and after of Berkeley. How everything awful is happening in her life and we are all trying to figure out why? These books are the answer to our ya horror problems. There is nothing in this genre like these books. They are so skin-crawlingly creepy that I got my husband to read them. If you’re looking for something to keep you up at night to where you have to sleep with the lights on, then give there a chance. The Queen Of Horror does not disappoint.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Meg

    I have loved every single book in The Merciless series. I have always thought that Vega is such a talented writer and has such a knack for the horror genre. I have given every other book in this series a five star rating, so imagine my disappointment when this was only a three star read for me. I wasn't a fan of most of the new characters that Vega threw into this book and I thought that writing this novel in a before and after style really took me out of what was going on in the novel. I almost I have loved every single book in The Merciless series. I have always thought that Vega is such a talented writer and has such a knack for the horror genre. I have given every other book in this series a five star rating, so imagine my disappointment when this was only a three star read for me. I wasn't a fan of most of the new characters that Vega threw into this book and I thought that writing this novel in a before and after style really took me out of what was going on in the novel. I almost wish that this had been two books instead of one, having the before parts be one book and the after parts another. I did enjoy what Vega was doing with this book and I did read it quickly, it just didn't live up to the standards of the other three books. The epilogue was done beautifully though and left me satisfied with the finalization of this world. Longer review coming soon

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    oooooooohhhhhh baby what a fantastic way to close out a fantastic series. rtc!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meghan (My World of Books)

    I JUST LOVE THIS SERIES. Every year I waited for the next book in the series to come out and I always finish reading it in a matter of days. The story is about a girl named Berkley who goes and visits her friends who are in an art program in Italy. While she is there, she meets a local boy named Giovanni and, of course, there is an instant attraction between them. In all of The Merciless series (and all of Danielle Vega/Rollins’s books in general) when we’re introduced to the love interest is usu I JUST LOVE THIS SERIES. Every year I waited for the next book in the series to come out and I always finish reading it in a matter of days. The story is about a girl named Berkley who goes and visits her friends who are in an art program in Italy. While she is there, she meets a local boy named Giovanni and, of course, there is an instant attraction between them. In all of The Merciless series (and all of Danielle Vega/Rollins’s books in general) when we’re introduced to the love interest is usually when the story begins to go downhill. Sure enough, it does. As is all of the previous books in the series, Last Rites grabs your attention from the first chapter and doesn’t let go until the final pages... This book really tied all the other novels together for me as well! Love love love!

  10. 3 out of 5

    Jessica☆

    3.5* I'm so sad I didn't love this one like I did the other books in the series, it just seemed slow to me and I found myself not really enjoying the story as much. The ending to me was the best part cause it was giving me the horror and gore that was continous throughout the other books, but only really appeared in the last hundred pages of this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Wrona

    This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more! *4.5 star rating* The Merciless series is my absolute love and treasure; each book keeps impressing me and scaring me to the point that I silently tell myself that I will never turn my lights off at night and will never watch a horror movie again. Let's just say that I never fulfill those promises I made for myself and I keep being addicted to the horror genre. As each of the other books, I was completely obsessed and This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more! *4.5 star rating* The Merciless series is my absolute love and treasure; each book keeps impressing me and scaring me to the point that I silently tell myself that I will never turn my lights off at night and will never watch a horror movie again. Let's just say that I never fulfill those promises I made for myself and I keep being addicted to the horror genre. As each of the other books, I was completely obsessed and terrified both at the same time. I was unable to stop reading once I flipped to the first page; Italy is the best setting ever for these kinds of books. Last Rites introduces us to a new character in this saga: Berkley, a NYU student visiting Italy while her two friends attend a summer art program in a small town. Prior to her entering Italy, she had a major panic attack leaving her in an Institute, rooming with Sofia Flores. Once Berkley heads to Italy, she suspects that everything is good and no one remembers her dark past where she betrayed her best friend, however, strangers see her as a devil and will do whatever it takes to prove so. These 'strangers' capture Berkley and search for the devil's mark on her body, seeking the spot where Berkley is unable to bleed from. As you can already tell from the summary, this is messed up. There are points during the reading experience where you suspect that the story is a normal, YA contemporary novel, however, things always suddenly take a turn and leave you guessing. That's the best way to describe Danielle Vega's writing; she makes readers think that she is weaving an innocent story set in an innocent setting (such as Italy - who would suspect that an exorcism is on the agenda?) This book left me in shock, as the ending was unbelievable. It had both closure and opening, leaving the possibility for this series to continue (which I hope it will), but closure in the sense that if Danielle Vega feels that this must come to an end, it can. I just want to pray to the book gods that it doesn't end here. I feel that there's so much more that can happen. More chances for readers to be terrified and more chances to see our favourite character, Sofia Flores.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Ann Legates

    I was blown away when I read the first Merciless. It was such a wonderful mix of scary and bloody, and Daniella does an excellent job creating dread and real fear. The second book was amazing as well, and though I was wary of the third, I loved that one too. This one was a bit lacking though. I was ecstatic when I heard there would be a fourth, as it seemed the story ended in the three books. But I think it could have, and this book was unnecessary. Maybe even just fan service. This one takes plac I was blown away when I read the first Merciless. It was such a wonderful mix of scary and bloody, and Daniella does an excellent job creating dread and real fear. The second book was amazing as well, and though I was wary of the third, I loved that one too. This one was a bit lacking though. I was ecstatic when I heard there would be a fourth, as it seemed the story ended in the three books. But I think it could have, and this book was unnecessary. Maybe even just fan service. This one takes place in Italy and is told from the point of view of a brand new character, Berkeley. We soon learn her roommate in flashbacks to an in-patient mental institution is Sofia; yes that Sofia! What follows is her meeting a boy, dealing with convincing her friends she is mentally stable, and flashbacks as we learn the past events. My biggest issue with this book is how slow and boring it was. Things don’t get exciting until the last quarter, and once we learn the “twist” it seems pointless. The whole story could have been assumed from previous books, and really contained no new information. I still adore the previous 3 books, but this one could be skipped. I’m really only giving it a 3 instead of 2 because I enjoy the world/lore and writing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is my favorite book series by far, so to say that I was anxiously anticipating number four would be putting it lightly. As bummed as I am that this is the end of this series, I have to give credit where credit is due and say that this series ended beautifully. I can say with confidence that the stories of Sofia, Brooklyn, and now Berkley will be permanent fixtures in my book collection and will be reread many times. Something in the way Danielle writes and narrates transfixes me and pulls m This is my favorite book series by far, so to say that I was anxiously anticipating number four would be putting it lightly. As bummed as I am that this is the end of this series, I have to give credit where credit is due and say that this series ended beautifully. I can say with confidence that the stories of Sofia, Brooklyn, and now Berkley will be permanent fixtures in my book collection and will be reread many times. Something in the way Danielle writes and narrates transfixes me and pulls me in like no other stories have before. I look forward to exploring the rest of her works and will be anticipating any and all future releases by this eerily talented writer. ❤️

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    This is the latest installment of an insanely creepy series. I think this may be the weakest one, but ultimately that doesn't matter. It's still hard to put down and it's also incredibly unsettling. If you're in the mood for something that will send shivers down your spine (even during a heat wave), this is for you. (But read the other books first. This could probably work as a stand-alone, but you'll get more out of it if you know who Sofia Flores is first.)

  15. 3 out of 5

    Molly

    Thank the Lord this series over, at least I really hope. This one was stupid AND boring. Pretty much absolutely nothing happened. I can't believe I forced myself to read this whole series. They just don't make sense. At all. Again, the only redeeming quality is that these books are quick and easy reads, but that does not mean the writing is good. It is so so bad. These books make me so angry.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ☣Lynn☣

    Not as entertaining as the other 3 books. Can't believe it's over though..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robin,

    I ... can't ... stop ... reading ... these!! Last night I was at a double-header city league baseball game and I devoured the rest of this book. My 16 year old son was reading over my shoulder and, even though he hadn't started from the beginning, he urgently needed me to keep turning the page. Now he wants to start from the first book! There's going to be another one, right? Right!!??

  18. 5 out of 5

    Briana Williams

    This was amazing just like the rest. I flew threw it and that was good and bad. I’m left wanting more. I feel like Vega could have given us a bigger finale than that with more gore and drama. Even though I didn’t get what I wanted the book was still very good and deserves these five stars!

  19. 3 out of 5

    Liz Laurin

    I always love beginnings but this might have taken top spot for favourite merciless book. so good!!

  20. 3 out of 5

    Adam Howell

    The Merciless series has been a dark great exorcism/devilish "mean girls" story for the past four books. This one was my second favorite because it really goes into detail of bullying and what the outcome could be. I was skeptical at first when it was going to be based in Italy but Danielle Vega does a great job keeping the dark elements that was in the other three books well and alive in this one. Easily can be read in a day due to the fact that the action does not stop.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Stephanie Harless

    I didn't see the ending coming, and I didn't expect that twist at the end....I liked it a lot and loved being back in that world and the characters. I hope there is one more book with the ending as it was. Good book. I love this series. I want to know who the girl was at the end of the book. I never would have guessed that. I want more :) Please be one more book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Before I begin, I need to clarify two things: 1. There are *SPOILERS* in this review. 2. I really did enjoy this book even if my review makes it seem that I didn’t. I thought characters were very well written in this book. I hated who I was supposed to hate, felt bad for who I was supposed to, and enjoyed the (few) good-tempered characters. That being said, I did not care for or feel bad for Berkeley. I didn’t find her anywhere near as relatable as Sofia, or even pre-possessed Brooklyn. I don’t k Before I begin, I need to clarify two things: 1. There are *SPOILERS* in this review. 2. I really did enjoy this book even if my review makes it seem that I didn’t. I thought characters were very well written in this book. I hated who I was supposed to hate, felt bad for who I was supposed to, and enjoyed the (few) good-tempered characters. That being said, I did not care for or feel bad for Berkeley. I didn’t find her anywhere near as relatable as Sofia, or even pre-possessed Brooklyn. I don’t know how I expected this series to end, but I wish it hadn’t been with Berkeley. I wasn’t sorry when she was consumed by the Sofia-Demon. However, I found this plot to be exactly like the other 3. Girl who doesn’t know she has demon potential gets exercised (or almost) by someone that has no business performing an exorcism. There is a big fire, a male character that serves no real purpose, bitchy girl friends, and lots of torture scenes. That being said, I really really enjoyed the ending. It was surprising, vengeful, fast-paced, and exciting. I loved the differences in pre-possession Sofia and her character in this story. We saw the same transition in Berkeley and even a little bit in Hope, and I loved it with Sofia as well. However, I found it leaving me with more questions, instead of answering them: 1. So the demon/devil transforms Berkeley’s body into Sofia, her “real face”. Why? What is so special about Sofia that she becomes the new face of the demon instead of it just hopping to Berkeley’s body, like it did from Hope to Brooklyn and then to Sofia? 2. Did the fire consuming the demon/Sofia kill her? Which leads to #3... 3. If Sofia is dead, then who was narrating the epilogue? I originally assumed it was the Sofia-Demon and she was hiding in the trees because she didn’t want her grandmother to see her, but after rereading the last chapter with the fire, I am not sure what to think. 4. We know that the real Sofia died in the hospital of suicide (for means of the demon to escape). Berkeley says she is going to Italy 7 months after leaving the institute and we know Sofia committed suicide before then. So why was she buried so late (after the events of the novel) allowing the demon to attend her funeral? This question just may be me nitpicking as well as not understanding the ending. Haha. Finally, I really loved these books. I read all four in a week and half. They were captivating and so hard to put down. I definitely recommend them, although, in my opinion, the 1st and 3rd are the best. I would definitely read this series again and others by Danielle Vega.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chotananeath

    Do you know how they rid of demons? They burn them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

    Welp. These books never fail to leave me shook.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan (Under the Book Cover)

    Review also posted at: https://underthebookcover.blogspot.co... Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own. I have been waiting for this book for what feels like a lifetime! I binge read the first three books in the series last year (accidentally, but they're so addicting) and when I discovered there was going to be a fourth and final book, I couldn't wait for it to come out. I'm so glad to have gotten the opportunit Review also posted at: https://underthebookcover.blogspot.co... Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own. I have been waiting for this book for what feels like a lifetime! I binge read the first three books in the series last year (accidentally, but they're so addicting) and when I discovered there was going to be a fourth and final book, I couldn't wait for it to come out. I'm so glad to have gotten the opportunity to get my copy early and I just absolutely flew through it in a few hours. I quite literally read it under my blanket with a flashlight because I couldn't go to sleep without finishing it completely! Plot: "The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case." If that doesn't hook you, I don't know what will. Last Rites follows Berkley Hubbard, a girl who spent six months at a place called the Institute with a dangerous and alluring roommate named Sofia Flores. Flash forward to the present and Berkley is vacationing in Italy with her two best friends and trying to forget what happened. But Berkley is hiding a secret that may end her life. When she's forced to face the past and accept what she's done, she learns that the devil is always watching and that no one will be there to save her in the end. Blood. Gore. Plot twists. Blasts from the past. These are only a few words and phrases that describe the contents of this book. Going into this, I was hoping for an explosive finale that would leave me as a huge fan of this series satisfied with how everything wrapped up. Let me tell you now, I was not disappointed! I said it above but I literally stayed up late and read this under my blanket with a flashlight because I could not go to sleep without knowing how it ended. There were multiple flashbacks to Berkley in the institute interspersed with the main story of Berkley in Italy and it was done so very well. It was spaced out between several chapters and really felt like every little bit of information that was given in the flashbacks to the Institute would eventually become relevant to the story. The pacing was great and I enjoyed getting the backstory on Berkley's time in the Institute and the buildup to the explosive ending! When all was revealed, I found myself having to stop myself from screaming and flailing around because I just loved the ending so much. The Merciless IV: Last Rites is a creepy and screamingly wonderful ending to a bloody great series! Characters: I loved Berkley! She really reminded me of Sofia from the first and second books and, surprise surprise, she's actually roommates with Sofia at the Institute. I had an absolutely fantastic time following Berkley's story and watching it unfold. I became so invested in her story in such a short amount of time and I really admire authors who have the ability to make me care about their characters within the first few pages of a book. I felt so terrible for all of the things that Berkley had gone through and was experiencing while in Italy. Her friends were incredibly two-faced to her and I just wanted to give her a hug the entire time! It really did remind me of how I felt about Sofia while reading the first two books and I wanted to give Danielle Vega all of the snaps for that. Despite Berkley's secret being pretty terrible, I still sympathized with her character and thought she was so well-written. Berkley was the perfect character to bring the series full circle and Danielle Vega did a wonderful job at bringing her to life. I wasn't a fan of Mara and Harper, Berkley's friends. They were well-written but they were just genuinely awful people. I do feel like they might have been written that way on purpose which, if that was the case, then well done Danielle Vega because I could not stand them. They were two-faced and mean and just all around terrible characters to read about. There were also three local girls that come into the story later on and not only were they awful as well, but they were certifiably crazy! But I have to say, Danielle Vega does such a fantastic job at writing characters that you may not like but that add a lot to the story. Also, just want to give a quick shout out to Sofia. She's come quite a long way since the first book and her appearance in Last Rites was fantastic. Just...so much yes. Writing: Danielle Vega does YA horror like no one else. She does such a fantastic job at drawing me into the story and making me feel like I'm right in the middle of the action. The bloody, gory, spooky action! I love how descriptive she gets, especially with the blood and gore. For me personally, the more descriptive and bloody, the better! I enjoyed the location change and really felt like it brought more to the atmosphere and made everything feel just a bit eerier. There's just something about her writing that I can't pull myself away from and I love it when authors can do that to their readers. I did find a quote at the beginning of the book that I freaked out over when I read it. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but it was the perfect line to include for the scene! "The deal here is pretty simple," she tells me, after a moment. "Confess your secrets and you're saved." If you just read over it and don't think about it, it's not very significant. But I happen to be a huge fan of the movie Girl, Interrupted (and I love the book/memoir as well) and I immediately noticed it as soon as I read the line! Whether it was in there on purpose or not, it absolutely made my day to read. If you're looking for a satisfying ending to an addictive young adult horror series, look no further than The Merciless IV: Last Rites. It has a slow-burning plot that will keep you hooked from start to finish, a wonderful main character, side characters that you will love to hate, and writing that is impossible to put down. Be sure to pick up Last Rites and end the series with a bang!

  26. 3 out of 5

    Madison Holt

    Can I just say right off the bat that I LOVED this cover? It's got a little bit of shimmery stuff with the type/design, and the weird black and gray denim-looking smoothness and I adored it. Simple but attention-getting. Now, as for the plot, it was reminiscent of the first book and Berkley was similar to Sofia (and not only because Sofia was brought back as Berkley's roommate at the psych hospital). Similarities include a dark secret from her past and mean girl friend problems. However, Berkley Can I just say right off the bat that I LOVED this cover? It's got a little bit of shimmery stuff with the type/design, and the weird black and gray denim-looking smoothness and I adored it. Simple but attention-getting. Now, as for the plot, it was reminiscent of the first book and Berkley was similar to Sofia (and not only because Sofia was brought back as Berkley's roommate at the psych hospital). Similarities include a dark secret from her past and mean girl friend problems. However, Berkley was only 2/3rds as reasonable as Sofia was. I didn't like Berkley very much as a character. I often compare these books to slasher films because they're fun, digestible and fast-paced and Berkley is definitely a slasher movie girl. She made so many decisions that weren't thought through at all while in Italy, a foreign country with people/places she doesn't know. What irritates me is that I feel like this was a rehashing of the first book, just in Italy with a new girl. There wasn't really any reason for it to be in Italy, cults exist elsewhere and this easily could've been another cult. (I understand there were some ties to Cambria, but since it isn't a big part of the story as much as cult shit is, it didn't feel needed). Berkley made stupid choices, like kissing and fondling with an Italian stranger, riding his moped and taking drugs at a festival. None of this was as graphic as the other books were, which was a little underwhelming, and most of the book was Berkley running around and ruminating over herself and her friends. The villains were interesting, namely Elyse and Angelica, but they were written with only a few standout traits. There was, of course, a weird romantic subplot with a one-dimensional guy that thankfully didn't go far. It seems like all 4 books have been the same story, just with different people and very little variety in plotline. This is about the ending, so there might be a few spoilers. Is Sofia the devil, or was she possessed? It's always felt like something possessed her, but now it seems like Sofia herself was a devil. If so, what are her origins? How was a devil born to a regular woman (Nina Flores)? If Sofia's the devil, what about Brooklyn? It's been a while since I read the other three, but these questions popped up with me. The ending felt super sudden, like shit just started happening boom boom boom and then it was over. I think Sofia's suicide was a shocking twist and relieving that she's free, but after that things were sloppily tied up. (The "Before" vignettes were the best tbh). For the most part, I'm going to stick with The Merciless 1 and 2. The 3rd and 4th are a bit lackluster, like when a slasher movie has too many unnecessary sequels. I'm disappointed that there was so little plot variation when a lot could be done, given the new settings and characters.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teenreadsdotcom

    THE MERCILESS IV: Last Rites was a wild roller coaster, just like the first three books in the series. The reason I got into these books so much is because they are extremely entertaining. Every twist shocked me, and every horrific scene disturbed me. The writing is done well in such a way that it is incredibly easy to get absolutely sucked in and not be able to put the book down. THE MERCILESS IV, as well as the previous books, makes you go “just one more page” until you’ve suddenly read half o THE MERCILESS IV: Last Rites was a wild roller coaster, just like the first three books in the series. The reason I got into these books so much is because they are extremely entertaining. Every twist shocked me, and every horrific scene disturbed me. The writing is done well in such a way that it is incredibly easy to get absolutely sucked in and not be able to put the book down. THE MERCILESS IV, as well as the previous books, makes you go “just one more page” until you’ve suddenly read half of the book in what felt like minutes. Something I really enjoyed about LAST RITES specifically was the alternating time chapters. There are “before” chapters, which follow the main character, Berkley, while in a hospital with Sofia Flores (infamous character from books one and two), and “after” chapters which follow Berkeley post-hospital release traveling to Italy to visit her two “best friends.” The first half of the book follows the same theme as the other books, lots of buildup and suspense until the second half of the book when all of the gore happens. This book really took the gore factor to a whole new level, to the point where I’d be wary if you’re squeamish. I’m not very squeamish, but this book was so freaky it had my heart beating faster and me audibly saying “EW!” several times while reading. I haven’t gotten too much into the horror genre in my reading life, but The Merciless series is one of my favorites because of its power to captivate and entertain me and distract me from literally anything going on around me. Each character is different and unlikable in their own way, and will have you flip flopping during the book wondering if you should be on their side or against them. I would recommend THE MERCILESS to horror fans who don’t mind large amounts of gore, and readers who like books with an ambiguous possible paranormal aspect. Overall, the sheer entertainment factor of this book (and the first three books) is a reason I would also recommend it if you are trying to get out of a reading slump, because these books are incredibly easy to get sucked in to. Reviewed by Jessi H., Teen Board Member

  28. 3 out of 5

    Lauren

    I would say that the first book is one of my favorites. It is really suspenseful, effective horror (in my personal opinion) and should have been a stand alone. This book and the 3rd book are not needed in this series. This 'final chapter' probably has a moral or something but I just can't put my finger on it... **SPOILERS BELOW** Vega has a tendency to repeat herself A LOT when it comes to the verbiage of bodily functions. I get it, she "has an acid rising in her throat", get her some Zantac STAT I would say that the first book is one of my favorites. It is really suspenseful, effective horror (in my personal opinion) and should have been a stand alone. This book and the 3rd book are not needed in this series. This 'final chapter' probably has a moral or something but I just can't put my finger on it... **SPOILERS BELOW** Vega has a tendency to repeat herself A LOT when it comes to the verbiage of bodily functions. I get it, she "has an acid rising in her throat", get her some Zantac STAT. It wouldn't be that bad but over the course of 4 books I noticed this annoying trend in her writing. She also does a lot of girl-on-girl hate where the main character hangs out with friends even through the "friends" are actually terrible people who are so self-absorbed they have no idea that they are doing anything bad at all. There is always a guy introduced who has cheated on the main character with one of her friends or something and then the females exact revenge ON EACH OTHER in violent ways instead of exacting revenge on the guy. A few lines flat out made me cringe, but no more than this one: -main character is in the trunk of the car- "I'm not claustrophobic - not technically. But the small, enclosed space makes me feel trapped."... UHHH WHO WOULDN'T FEEL THAT WAY IF YOU WERE KIDNAPPED AND SHOVED IN A TRUNK? There are other lines that are also weird like that but I digress. If you're gonna read anything in this series, read the first and leave it at that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    misskaelyn14

    I’m so glad I got to visit the horrifying land of The Merciless for one last time! I loved every bit of this book! I found the characters really likable and I was definitely trying to figure out who Sofie was disguised to be. It was nice to have that part of the book always keep me guessing. The horror and gore is spot on and makes for a thrilling roller coaster of a ride book. I liked how Vega wrapped things up in the last few chapters and the epilogue was a nice touch! My only complaint would h I’m so glad I got to visit the horrifying land of The Merciless for one last time! I loved every bit of this book! I found the characters really likable and I was definitely trying to figure out who Sofie was disguised to be. It was nice to have that part of the book always keep me guessing. The horror and gore is spot on and makes for a thrilling roller coaster of a ride book. I liked how Vega wrapped things up in the last few chapters and the epilogue was a nice touch! My only complaint would have to be the pace. I deducted a half star for this reason because the beginning was slow at times and the pace would slow up and speed down. We would get going and everything was fast and happening and then all of the sudden we would get a before chapter. I was like no please keep the action and gore going! Personally, I still think The Merciless is the best book out of the series. If I would have to rate the series it would be (from best to worse) 1, 4, 3, and 2. I’m just so glad I picked up The Merciless a few years back because it has become one of my favorite series. I’m sad that this series is indeed over, but I can’t wait to see what Danielle Vega has next!

  30. 3 out of 5

    Natalie

    I know these are supposed to be horror novels and there isn't really meant to be a happy ending...but I don't know, this ending just really disappointed me. Also, what is with all these psycho people being convinced that girls are the devil and wanting to torture them because of it?! The messed up exorcisms in this series are so gruesome that I'm honestly happy when the evil comes out and the girls end up killing the people who are apparently trying to "save" them. (view spoiler)[This book was a I know these are supposed to be horror novels and there isn't really meant to be a happy ending...but I don't know, this ending just really disappointed me. Also, what is with all these psycho people being convinced that girls are the devil and wanting to torture them because of it?! The messed up exorcisms in this series are so gruesome that I'm honestly happy when the evil comes out and the girls end up killing the people who are apparently trying to "save" them. (view spoiler)[This book was a bit different to the previous ones in that they describe a black smoke coming out of Sofia's body into Berkley's and I don't remember that from previous books when the demon moves on. But also, when the demon does possess another girl, there is always something horrific which triggers it to come to the surface. So really, it's the crazy religious people's fault for trying to exorcise them in the first place! If they just left them alone then none of this crazy stuff would happen...but then they wouldn't be very interesting books if that was the case either! (hide spoiler)]

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