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Genre: Horror (Gothic)
Sub-genre: Mysteries/Thrillers, Fantasy, and Science Fiction
My rating: 2/5 stars
Trigger and Content Warnings: Incest, attempted rape, sexual harassment, erotica, and assault
I’m new to horror, not a fan but I did enjoy House of Salt and Sorrows and Crimson Peak, so I decided to give this book a shot.
Seriously, I would’ve DNF’d for the amount of incest 🤢 this is the second horror novel I’ve read that has this theme! Is that the norm for this genre? The incest isn’t even necessary once you get to the sci-fi parts! By the way, this book’s plot is similar to Crimson Peak, which is why I pushed ahead instead of DNF’ing.
Rich White man heading towards poverty looking to reopen his mine? ✔
Marries a woman outside of his nationality? ✔
Woman begins to see ghosts because she’s poisoned? ✔
Lives in a run-down mansion that’s physically dark? ✔
White man commits incest, including his family members? ✔
disappointing, but the backstory is more fleshed out than CP’s, so I’ll give Silvia Moreno-Garcia points for that.
The sci-fi and touch of fantasy surprised me, since it’s not mentioned in the synopsis, definitely making this story stand out in a unique way! Sci-fi horror? Never heard of it! Kudos to Moreno-Garcia if she came up with that combo, but even if she didn’t it’s a new mix that will definitely be considered due to MG’s popularity! The pacing could’ve a little faster with a little less backstory but its not that bad – to me. Noemi – the protagonist – often came across air head-ish through the beginning, not giving us a clear reason why she attends college, her career goals (if she even had any), or if she plans to work after she marries, but her wits and knowledge in chemistry and anthropology made her banter with Virgil, one of the villains, the highlight of this story! Seriously, Virgil and Noemi’s interactions are the best parts of this novel (minus the ending 😉)! They have the same strengths and weaknesses, which made it easier for me to become engrossed with them more than any other character (except Howard) and when Virgil can’t beat Noemi through wits he seduces her, which turns into Noemi trying to resist him. So yes, this means mild erotica (nothing graphic but moderately sensual) is thrown into this genre mix, but don’t become blindsided by Virgil’s sexiness. He commits atrocious acts to get his way which may trigger some readers. On the other hand, I don’t understand how such a flirtatious woman like Noemi has never experienced seduction? For flirts that goes hand-in-hand.
Noemi flirting with her cousin – not Catalina! – is also 🤢. That, by the way, is the romance in this novel 😡 not only is that nasty but her cousin is literally so bland! Yeah he’s a gardener who’s an excellent artist but there’s nothing else about him that drew me into his character. And yes, even if he was intriguing I will not condone his relationship with Noemi! That didn’t need to happen! We don’t get much interaction between Catalina and Noemi or Catalina and Virgil, her husband, which is disappointing since Noemi comes BECAUSE Catalina claims Virgil is up to no good!
Overall this is a mild horror (which is fine with me!) that includes sci-fi, fantasy, and erotica – the latter three that should be included in the marketing and publicity. The incest isn’t necessary at all, if it wasn’t there I would’ve given this novel a higher rating.