This book is made awesome by the setting and cast — it’s full of detail that places it exactly in time and space, in Brooklyn and in the ghost/s of Brooklyn; it’s full of characters with all kinds of origins and all kinds of stories, all of which is supplemented by the kind of details that make them feel real. Mannerisms, foibles, culture-specific ways of speaking or thinking… and it’s never some kind of monolithic culture, but all sorts of cultures in a melting pot, a dialogue. The background of the story was interesting, too: the halfies, the Council of the Dead, the ngks, house spirits… it comes together into a pretty interesting mythology in general.
In terms of the plot, I was less enthused, though it’s certainly not a chore to read. It’s just a little bit predictable; I was constantly reminded of other books while I was reading it, constantly a couple of steps ahead of the plot. Like, come on, who wouldn’t guess that with the ability to kind of read thoughts, a woman would figure out you killed her brother? And that wouldn’t go down well with her? I’m hesitant to even call that a spoiler, that’s just human.
I’m planning to read Salsa Nocturna anyway, and to read more of Daniel José Older’s work, but I wasn’t blown away. It’s more solid fun than something that swept me off my feet.