Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m rounding up to 4, but really Mexican Gothic is a solid 3.something above five read. In the end, what I loved most about this book are the reveal and subsequent climax.
There’s a lot of mystery and intrigue in the book, but it makes for genuinely slow PACING, and in a novel that hardly breaches the 300-page mark that can make for a longer read than it should.
Then you have the CHARACTERS, who are just a tad dull in my opinion. My main issue lies with the protagonist, Noemi, who I want to like, but find it difficult. She never really changes. We’re led to believe she has, but there’s nothing to truly show it. In the end, Noemi is still living in the Noemi-centric world of a 20-something who won’t take no for an answer, wants what she can’t have, and lives in a state of denial. The supporting characters are good enough, but highlight more than anything that this is Noemi’s world, and they’re all just living in it. It makes things seem predictable because she always appears to get what she wants, one way or another. Never allowing for antagonistic characters to have a genuine shot at their personal HEA.
If there’s one thing I would have really liked to see in this book, it would have been a bigger question mark at the end. I don’t think this book needs a sequel, but it would be nice to have a discussion with people about a large hanging “?” at the end of Happily Ever After (For Now).
Let’s end on some HIGH NOTES though. The PROSE is so genuine and well crafted. In a gothic novel with visions and sounds that need to create a sense of dread, paranoia, and questions of reality, Moreno-Garcia gets the reader there. The world she crafts is easy to see in the mind’s eye and the five senses are well evoked.
When we begin getting the reveal of this entire world being poisoned by mushroom spores, mold, and fungi, it becomes so easy to experience it all. We’re given enough information that we can picture the paranormal/supernatural occurrences without asking more questions. The scenes of Howard’s kiss, the graveyard, and the crypt are all so visceral that it is easy to chill oneself thinking about all of the sounds, smells, colors (especially black and gold), physical sensations, and unfortunately enough . . . tastes. They all live with the reader through the climax, making it difficult to put the book down toward the end
After it’s all said and done, I’d have to say, I think A LOT of people will love this book. I mean, I know many have, but I just needed more from it in regards to the character development, pacing, and post-climax resolution.