Whatthelog's Reviews > Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone
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really liked it
bookshelves: diversity, diversity-bingo-2017, young-adult

** spoiler alert ** Hello, all! I was given the wonderful opportunity to review Lucina Stone’s Santa Muerte by Rich in Variety. As I’m discovering my love of diverse SFF, I thought this looked like the perfect book for me, and I jumped at the chance. For those who are new readers *waves*, I’m going to remind you here that most of my reviews do include spoilers. I also give explicit trigger warnings that may reveal some of the plot. The mental health of other readers is more important to me than any spoilers.

Trigger warnings: the novel begins with an attempted suicide. There are references to Daniela’s past abusive boyfriend, and Daphne is sexually assaulted by her father. There is also racism, the use of the ‘n’ word, and an attempt to touch Daniela without her consent.

Right then. This is only the second novel that I’ve read that discusses the problems of being a time-traveler who is also a person of colour (the first being Kindred). I think the way Stone talks about the cultural differences between 2030 and 1923 were fantastic. In 20s New York, Daniela is stopped from going into ‘white only’ shops, and is treated with contempt. In the countryside, things get even more dangerous, as the threat of the KKK is very real. I love the exploration into the realities of time-travel, because too often (in my mind), time-travel narratives are annoyingly unrealistic about this sort of thing.

I also really liked the Mexican folklore that was woven into the plot. It is quite feminist, as it really focuses on the power of women, and especially mothers. (One point about the Mexican influence – there are occasional uses of Spanish, which is not italicised! Hurray! It usually isn’t given a direct translation either. While I do know a little bit of Spanish, I think that the meaning should be easily understandable given the contexts.) This feminist power is also furthered by the fact that Daniela has two mothers. While this isn’t the focus of the novel, it does make the book wonderfully women-heavy.

The one thing I didn’t like all that much was that even when Anaya was explaining the magic of the Santa Muerte coven to Daniela’s mom, it didn’t really feel well-rounded. I would have loved a couple more in-depth explanations of why this family, how their magic works, and why Anaya didn’t tell the younger generations about their potential powers. Also, Lain is weirdly obsessed with Daniela, particularly with her piercings. Her tongue piercing was given particular significance, but I really don’t know why. I suppose this is a downfall of being a first book in a series, so I hope that the sequel will explain all of this.

I will definitely be reading the sequel when it is released. While Santa Muerte posed a lot of unanswered questions, this didn’t stop me enjoying it as a sensitively-written and diverse fantasy.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2017 – Started Reading
February 6, 2017 – Shelved
February 10, 2017 – Finished Reading
October 24, 2017 – Shelved as: diversity-bingo-2017
October 24, 2017 – Shelved as: diversity
October 24, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult

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