Lots of spooky old villages, catacombs, and demon possession.
Genre: Y/A, Horror
No. of pages: 290
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.
This one felt like it took a while to get anywhere. But ended with a bang. I liked the twist/message at the end, kind of like a warning to mean girls everywhere. The devil is watching.
I was a little lost with this one, it had been so long since I read the previous books in the series, and trying to place where it existed in the timeline and how it related to the other characters had me going over my old reviews. But this is another horror story following a different protagonist (Berkley) in the same universe as the rest of the novels.
Sofia does make an appearance, which delighted me no end.
‘The Merciless IV : Last Rites’ took a long time to get going. All of Daniele Vega’s past novels have been fast paced and quick to build up intrigue, but this one felt slow for most of the way through. I also got really frustrated with Berkley’s decisions just about all the way through.
While the ending was brilliant Vega fare, the rest of this book, and Berkley as a protagonist had me rubbing at my face in frustration. A great way to plot out the end of the franchise, and a masterful tone to wrap up the conclusion. But it did not feel as strong as any other of Vega’s titles. There didn’t feel like there was anything particularly new.
The plot is simple. I didn’t get any camp horror fare. I predicted the whole story very early on, and because the pacing was so slow I didn’t get any of the fun stuff until the last few chapters. This read like a television episode rather than a cinematic culmination to The Merciless collection.
The setting of the novel was well done though. I enjoyed the mythology but I felt like there were so many missed opportunities to add in a scare or creep out the reader/Berkley.
This could easily be read as a standalone, and I’m on the fence recommending it. You get to revisit some familiar characters, and loved the note it ended on, but it’s not as good as its predecessors. Maybe I’ll just leave this for Vega fans.
Overall feeling: Underwhelming
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