Ahoy there me mateys! This be the sixth book I have read by the author and me sixth five star read. Dang does she float me boat! I have said before that what I find amazing about all of the author’s books is that they feel so different from each other. The first was a vampire story with stunning vampire culture and history. The second was a Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz age in Mexico. The third was a romance with a hint of fantasy set in the Belle Époque era. The fourth was a coming-of-age thriller set in Baja California in 1979. The fifth was a gothic horror set in 1950s Mexico.
This was a novella set in Mexico City in a near-future. Amelia is 25 and her dream of getting to Mars is a strong as ever even if her once bright future has grounded to a halt. Life has become so bleak and Amelia is eking out her existence with odd jobs. One of those jobs is as a rent-a-friend. She isn’t popular and one of her few regular “friend” jobs is with an aging movie star watching the woman’s old films. How these films relate to the larger themes are lovely.
The real allure in this story is the starkness of Amelia’s life and the pain of the environment that Amelia lives in. It just feels so real and gritty. Her desperation for another life combined with watching her slowly shrivel up with each bad break is heart-wrenching. One can’t help but completely understand Mona’s bitterness and anger while still wishing for her to not give up and fight for herself. The ending was bittersweet and yet I still hope it all turns out okay. A beautifully painful and touching book that I do very much recommend.
I absolutely love Silvia Moreno-Garcia and can’t wait for whatever she writes next. Arrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Love, life, dreams, and a world beyond reach.
Amelia dreams of Mars. The Mars of the movies and the imagination, an endless bastion of opportunities for a colonist with some guts. But she’s trapped in Mexico City, enduring the drudgery of an unkind metropolis, working as a rent-a-friend, selling her blood to old folks with money who hope to rejuvenate themselves with it, enacting a fractured love story. And yet there’s Mars, at the edge of the silver screen, of life. It awaits her.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
certain dark things (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)
gods of jade and shadow (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)
the beautiful ones (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
untamed shore (Off the Charts and On the Horizon – Murder Mystery eArc)
mexican gothic (On the Horizon – Fantasy Horror eArc)