Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 17th August 2021
I’ve enjoyed Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s other books, so I clicked for this one on Netgalley more or less on auto-pilot, and because the idea of reading historical fiction set in a period/place I don’t know much about sounded interesting. It’s set in Mexico in the 1970s, and follows two main characters: Maite, a lover of romance comics who gets accidentally pulled into intrigue as a result of minding her neighbour’s cat, and Elvis, a lover of rock-n-roll and part of a gang dedicated to crushing student dissent against the government.
Neither of the characters is likeable for me, which is where things fall down. This is a really personal thing, but it’s always an issue for me — I can enjoy a story without characters I love, but it’s usually got to be something more in my usual wheelhouse. The characters are interesting, in that they’re well-written. Particularly in the case of Maite, who I could imagine very well. But… without quite being able to hang my hat on either of them, at all, because they’re both pretty unpleasant as people… I just checked out.
If you’re really interested in the period and/or in historical fiction and noir-feel fiction, this will probably be more your thing than it was mine (where SF/F is still my main genre). I did find the historical context fascinating — I kept looking things up to get a bit more context. I might give it another try in future, but for now, it didn’t really work for me.
As a reminder about my ratings in this case, since it’s so much a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”: take this with a grain of salt; as always with my ratings, it’s based on my personal taste and how much I liked it. And sometimes not-so-keen reviews can still point the way for other readers who think “but that sounds like it’s right up my street”!