Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).
Review: Alejandra comes from a long line of powerful brujas (and brujos). Her Deathday, the day that her ancestors bless her, bringing her into her full magic, is just around the corner. But she has seen some bad things growing up and she is afraid of owning her magic. This fear drives her to make a decision that (unwittingly) will endanger the life of her entire family, including the souls of those who have already passed, and takes her on the most dangerous adventure of her very young life. But this journey is about so much more than saving her family, it’s about finding herself, finding her truth, and owning it.
What’s not to love about this book? It has so many of the elements I love: magic, the Fae, other realms, witches, mythology…a river of souls? Oh, yeah. And, I love that we’re getting some cultural diversity AND some exposure to bisexuality to boot. Chock full of good stuff, this one is.
Ok, so in all fairness, the thing I struggled with upfront was the main character’s selfishness and recklessness. I mean, this is YA. I get it. She’s a kid. And she’s not me (or even the me I was at her age), so she isn’t necessarily going to make the same choices I would. But, for some reason, I had a hard time with her decision. Additionally, one of the characters was a bit predictable. I wasn’t at all surprised by who turned on her or by that person’s reasons for doing so. Those are the two reasons for the four-star rating instead of a five.
What I think the author did beautifully was her handling of the main character’s sexuality. It’s interesting because I was so confused about her feelings for her two friends. Did she have feelings for X or for Y? For both? Wait, what kind of feelings? It wasn’t until the end that I realized she had feelings for both, and I was confused because she was confused. So, I very much felt like I was feeling what she was feeling, and that isn’t always an easy thing to accomplish.
While I was reading, I kept thinking it felt familiar, like it had some elements from other books I’d read, and I’m trying to wrap my brain around the best possible comparison. A little bit of Alice in Wonderland, a tiny bit of Narnia, maybe a bit of an urban fantasy bent (I keep flashing to the early Anita Blake series, but I think that’s just because of the Santeria influence), I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it’s all good. It’s a smattering of all these books I’ve loved, books with mythological and magical bents, but definitely with its own unique flavor.
Definitely worth a read.
P.S. This cover though. Amazing, right? I just love it!