Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Mestiza Blood, a collection of short horror stories written by V. Castro.
First thing first, let me thank Anne and the publisher, Flame Tree Press, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
From the lauded author of The Queen of the Cicadas (which picked up starred reviews from PW, Kirkus and Booklist who called her “a dynamic and innovative voice”) comes a short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions focused on the Chicana experience. V.Castro weaves urban legend, folklore, life experience and heartache in this personal journey beginning in south Texas: a bar where a devil dances the night away; a street fight in a neighborhood that may not have been a fight after all; a vengeful chola at the beginning of the apocalypse; mind swapping in the not so far future; satan who falls and finds herself in a brothel in Amsterdam; the keys to Mictlan given to a woman after she dies during a pandemic. The collection finishes with two longer tales: The Final Porn Star is a twist on the final girl trope and slasher, with a creature from Mexican folklore; and Truck Stop is an erotic horror romance with two hearts: a video store and a truck stop.
Flame Tree Press
Publication date: 25/01/22
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: Fuchsia is a color I have issues with. The general impression screams horror, however, and I guess that’s the primary goal.
Mestiza Blood is a collection of short stories centered on horror and erotica, with a dash of sci-fi. Given the theme, I was really looking forward to reading it.
As it always happens with short stories, they cover a spectrum, from good to so-so. That comes with the territory, and it’s something I was expecting from the get-go: the trick with these kinds of books is to achieve a sort of balance, where the most powerful stories support the weak ones. Castro does well in that department. Her writing is poignant and clear, and it really shines in Cam Girl Sally and Night of the Living Dead Chola.
I’m satisfied with The Final Porn Star and Truck Stop, too. They’re longer than the rest, and they’re well-structured. The POV Castro uses is first limited for the most part, and while it suits some stories, it also seems to hinder the flow in a couple of others.
Another thing I’m happy with is the choice of MCs. They’re all female, they fit the ‘strong female lead’ trope to a T, but they’re crafted with care. They all have weaknesses and they read both complex and realistic. Well done.
The main issue of Mestiza Blood has to do with the erotica. While I know it’s hard to impress me when sex of any kind is involved, there are some details here that read odd—the fresh oyster that lives between her legs is a prime example of that. I mean, I need to be able to take it seriously, not to chuckle at the mental image.
3,5 stars on GR.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Violet Castro is a Mexican American writer originally from Texas now residing in the UK with her family. When not caring for her three children, she dedicates her time to writing.
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