I received this book for free from Rich in Variety Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone
Release date: January 11th, 2016
Publisher: Story Merchant
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
THE YEAR IS 2030. IN A DRAMATIC, final attempt to free her inner demons, twenty-year-old Daniela Delgado tempts fate and winds up on a strange farm in 1923. With an olive complexion due to her Mexican/Italian heritage and a fresh pixie cut, she is mistaken for a “boy of color.” Her only shot at survival now is to play it cool, pose as “Danny,” and figure out how to get back home to her two, loving moms.
And then she meets Daphne—an abused, motherless farm girl in desperate need of freedom and a friend. Having escaped Daphne’s father, the two of them are now roaming the streets of New York City disguised as a young aristocrat and her male servant. They’re running out of money, and ideas. And Daniela thought living in 2030 was tough.
But her solar powered smart phone works. And there’s someone within range. She pings them. A selfie of an attractive male comes in with the text: I’m Lain. Who the f— are you? Even in that moment, Daniela knows this can’t be safe, but what are her choices? They meet Lain at a speakeasy on the Lower East Side. When Daniela reveals her last name, Lain says the only Delgado he knows is Anaya—the head of the Santa Muerte Coven of witches in Merida, Mexico. And then he hints that Daniela is a liar, even though she rocks a man’s three-piece suit like no woman he’s ever met. And as for her tattoos? Don’t get Lain started….
Despite the intrigue, Daniela adds Lain to the list of folks Daphne and she must outrun to stay alive. But as they plan their trip to Mexico, they soon discover that list is much longer than they thought. And they uncover a few other things, too, about Daniela’s true identity….
Santa Muerte wasn’t what I expected it to be and that’s a good and bad thing. I loved some of the story but not all of it. Basically, it was a mixed bag of good and bad, positives and negatives. The story contained a lot of potential with its time travel aspects and intriguing and deeply flawed characters, but it just never really lived up to what it could have been. So, did I like reading it? Yeah, totally but it could have been better, it could have been more.
The story is about Daniela Delgado, a half-Mexican, half-Italian young woman who attempts suicide but wakes up to find herself transported back in time to 1920s New Jersey. There she meets Daphne and helps her escape her abusive father but ends up having other problems when they attract the attention of a mysterious young man. Along the way, Daniela must overcome many obstacles and discover family secrets. Basically, there’s tons of drama and action and never a dull moment!
Things I Enjoyed:
- It featured a diverse cast of characters! Also, it’s written by a Mexican-American author. I loved reading about Mexican characters and Mexico itself. I’m married to a Mexican and spend a significant amount of time in the country. Mexico has so much to offer, especially with its folklore. It’s rich, dynamic and mysterious. I loved how Ms. Stone was able to blend her heritage and fantasy and the past all together.
- Daniela has two moms and I loved how their family dynamic was portrayed as normal and in a positive light. Books need more of this. My gosh, the world needs more of this! Daniela’s moms, Emma and Monica, are loving, caring and supportive of their daughter. They would stop at nothing to move mountains for her.
- It’s a quick read! Coming in at around 200 and something pages I was able to finish reading it in an hour or two. Also, it was non-stop action. It held my attention and kept me turning the pages, wanting to know more and more.
- It really highlighted the the horrible treatment people of colour faced (and still face) due to racism. Daniela was treated appallingly and I think it’s important that people see this. I love the aesthetic of the 1920s, but totally need to be reminded that it wasn’t all flappers, jazz clubs and champagne. Racism was very much alive and real in the US. People of colour were not only discriminated against but feared for their lives. It’s important that we are reminded of this and that it’s written about in books.
Things That Could Be Improved:
- The book was simply too short for the world and story that Ms. Stone was trying to tell. The story featured too many important details to develop properly. A few extra paragraph here and there would have helped alleviate the feeling of the story being rushed along. The story and its characters deserved better.
- After finishing the story I was left with tons and tons of questions. Sure, they will probably be answered in the sequel, since this appears to be a series, but I needed a lot more closure or answers to simple things. I did have to go back and refer to past events to make some connections. Again, more pages would have allowed the author to avoid this problem and tie up some loose ends.
- The point of view changed way too many times for my liking. It’s a short book, just keep it simple please. The series is referred to as “The Daniela Story” and I would have been completely happy if it was just told from Daniela’s POV. By the end, I didn’t feel like I really knew Daniela. I liked her just fine, but my connection with the character was thin at best. I hope that this is different in future instalments.
I think Santa Muerte is a book that you really need to read for yourself. It features so many elements that can appeal to a wide audience. I just wish that it was longer so the characters and story could have developed further. That said, I am really looking forward to the sequel!