‘Mexican Gothic’ Book Review

Noemí’s father, receives a troubling letter from her cousin, Catalina. The letters entails that the cousin is be poisoned by her new husband and that ghosts float around her new home. Something obviously is not right there and Noemí’s father sends her on her way to see what the matter with Catalina is.

Noemí is a city girl, having grown up in Mexico City. her family is that of new money from their dye and paint business. Noemí lives a life of fine parties and debutante balls. She does not seem like the likely superhero. She goes to the strict country home Catalina is living with her husband’s English family. There are rules of no smoking, no talking at the table, no leaving the house unattended. It is like a prison to Noemí. She is barely allowed to see her cousin and the only one she becomes close to in the family is the youngest son, Francis. He is the one to help her uncover all the secrets of the High Place house.

Starting with the first chapter, I liked Noemí. She is a strong and intelligent woman and not afraid to march to the beat of her own drum. However, throughout the story we come to find that there are not really any negative traits coming from her. She is a Mary Sue. The tension with Noemí and Virgil was so good at the start but just like her, he was only seen in black and white. These characters are one dimensional, either good or evil, no one is morally gray. I wish that Moreno-Garcia would have expanded their stories more so that we could connect with them.

The atmosphere was perfect and exactly is what the title of ‘Mexican Gothic’ describes. In the story, the characters even compare the house to that of the houses in Wuthering Heights and other Bronte novels. This really does read like a book out of the Victorian era even if it takes place in the fifties and was written in 2020. I love stories set at manors and this one did not disappoint with that setting.

The writing did not impress me. It was rather dry and at times I just felt myself skimming through the paragraphs, especially when I was convinced that this story would not be getting any better. Also, there were a few typos, like missing apostrophes and comas! As this is a horror, I expect to be creeped out or made uncomfortable but for that first 70% I was just like; “okay, kind of messed up but moving on”. I did not really feel anything for the writing until the last three chapters when the emotions were flying off the pages and into the reader’s mind.

The author truly took her time with this one. For the first seventy percent of this book, I just wanted something to happen instead of wandering around this manner and having the main character complain about all the rules and the members of the Doyle family. I do think taking time with your plot is a good thing but not when your characters are so flatly written so the reader does not have characters to analyze or a plot to enjoy! The element of horror that was present here was not to predict. I was able to find out the basis of it but not the little details. I wish that we would have had more building on this element and magic as we are just presented it with not a ton of background knowledge, I would like to know more. I was just bored, and I was scared that this would send me into a reading slump.

The characters were dry and flat, there was no development to them. Everyone was either good or evil, no one in the middle. Mexican gothic, that was exactly the atmosphere we were given, and it was perfect. It had the eerie feeling of a classic novel even if we were in Latin America. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and it was the only thing I liked in this story. The writing was like the characters, flat and I found myself skimming a lot, which is never a good sign. The plot took a while to get into, most of the book. The pace did not pick up until the last three chapters of the whole novel. This is the second book that I have read from this author, and I will give her one more chance. This story did not impress me and if I did not have to write a review, I would have marked it as a DNF.

‘Into the Drowning Deep’ Book Review

The Atargatis set sail in 2015 in search of mermaids. The crew was made up for a mockumentary for the Imagine TV Network. The channel had been known of making these kind of shows on different cryptids but none had ever gone as dark as the voyage of the Atargatis, the whole crew vanished, killed by these mermaids of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Seven years later, a new crew has set out to find out what happened to the previous ship.

The cure for anything is saltwater… tears, sweat, or the sea.

Isak Dinesen

Some wanted fame, others revenge, proof that they were always right, or simply just to follow their studies or career. Everyone on this ship had a mission. The characters in this book were so real. They all had their flaws and might I add that they were all morally grey, in my opinion. I was constantly thinking someone would turn on the other. This was a really diverse cast be it, disability, race, or sexual orientation. There was lots of representation here. All these characters had a purpose, Tory was probably the main character but the others did not feel like they were pushed to the side either. The characters in this book are going to get a five out of five from me.

Mankind’s exploration of the oceans had been going on for centuries, yet barely scratched the surface, leaving much of the depths uncharted.

Chapter Nine

The atmosphere was so creepy and that is just what a horror novel needs. In general, boats being in the middle of the ocean freak me out anyway and then the author adds in killer mermaids. Just the thought of being in the middle of the Pacific, in a very desolate part of the ocean might I add, knowing that there are things that want to harm all the humans around you.. that is horrifying. Mira Grant hit the atmosphere nail right on the head. Once again a five out of five.

When I first started this book, the writing was so great. Probably the best I had read in months. However, that rating started to drop when we got into the science bits. Yes, this book is about a lot of scientist on a vessel but sometimes it was like reading another language and I found myself skimming. The writing just got heavy at the science bits but at the other parts it was great! Four our of five stars.

I had only read one book before this that was set on a boat and it was a thriller, not a horror. Boat books are just so unique. I really liked how this voyage was to solve a mystery of the past ship and then the mystery that humans have had for centuries, are mermaids real? Add in the fact, that all these characters had different motives. They were all seeking something different rather it be closure of a family member who was on the Atargatis or it be to bring a new creature into the realm of biology. Sometimes their motives changed throughout the voyage. Grant very much so did her research for this book, it just felt so real. I could totally see this happening in real life. You really feel like that you are put into this story, the plot gets a five star.

Intrigue is something that I find so important in horror, mystery, or thriller novels. You are trying to find out what is behind all of this or what is going to happen next. I was always making theories with this one but a lot of the time my theories came out to be wrong! That just shows that Mira Grant is so intelligent with her writing, she had ideas that I was not even thinking of. I do not know how I felt about the ending though. I wanted to know more about how the characters felt after everything on the ship wrapped up. I am not sure if there will be a sequel, at this time. Four out of five stars.

If this book was one thing it was logical. Often times in the CAWPILE system, I never know what to say about the ‘L’ part of the acronym. ‘Into the Drowning Deep’, does not leave me skipping over this category, though. Everything was so well thought out. The paragraph structure and everything was just so logical. It is a heavy read but you learn so much about different kinds of study that fall into the marine category. 5/5.

I did enjoy this book, I think all of you who have read this blog post can see that. I enjoyed that all the characters were so different and even though there was a large cast, I was never getting them confused. The atmosphere was so creepy and fit perfect with the black and red cover of the book. The writing was great but it was heavy at times which was the main downfall for me but I think if you have a career path in the science or field of if it is just something you are interested in then you would not have the same problem that I did. The plot was unique and this would make the perfect movie, someone really needs to pick this up. I was constantly trying to find out what would happen next and it never felt like a drag to pick up but I am lightly disappointed in the ending. This book was smart, too smart at times but it just made it all the more realistic. I will be picking up more books from this author.

The final rating for this book is a 4.5 star out of 5.

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