My Rating: ★★★★★
Thursday, October 29
Review | The 52nd by Dela
“I was a Watcher. We watched dead creatures abduct humans so they could be sacrificed in the Underworld by their God, no questions asked.”
My Rating: ★★★★★
My Rating: ★★★★★
The 52nd by Dela
Publisher Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Publication Date 25 November 2014
Format Paperback | 464 pages
Not one of the sacrifices chosen over the long history had survived - until now.
On the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, the immortal Castillo family gathers in Tulum. Weary and haunted, they receive the names of fifty-two human sacrifices chosen once every fifty-two years for the Underworld, a tradition thought to have disappeared with the fall of the Aztec and Mayan empires.
Driving home one night, college freshman Zara Moss swerves to avoid hitting a ghastly figure in the road. Lucas Castillo witnesses the car crash, but when it comes time to supervise her abduction from the wreckage, he intervenes. Something is different about Zara: Lucas has been having dreams of her arrival for five hundred years.
As Lucas and Zara come together to put an end to the bloody sacrifices, they discover that the ancient tradition isn't so easily broken. The gods are angry, and they have until the Winter Solstice to drag Zara to the Underworld.
The 52nd was one of the most interesting and refreshing books I’ve read recently. Its premise is just magnetising! Ancient Central American gods, sacrifices, danger, action, gore and even a romance! Dela presents us an immortal god who dares commit treason to save the life of a human girl. Yes, it is a story we have all read before but this one is a new twist on an old tale.
The book is told in two distinct perspectives: Lucas, the immortal; and Zara, the college freshman.
Zara Moss is, in essence, an amiable character but I confess I struggled more than once to connect with her, sometimes she just seemed too mild. Lucas, on the other hand, was my favourite character and presented my favourite narrative. The description of him and his family was an enticing part of the story.
I felt that the mythology aspect of the book was handled quite well. Sure, at times some names were just too hard to spell and thus hard to remember, and at a certain point in the book we were thrown a handful of information all at once and expected to digest it quickly,… So what?! I was still hooked! In the end, the information was necessary and I personally finished the book fully conscious that I had just learned something interesting and new.
In my opinion, the balance between romance and action was also handled well but, by far, the best part of this book is the underworld! Dela had no problem being graphic and the description of the sacrifices is beautifully frightening. Oh, and it all involves a captivating villain that is both charming and terrifying.
Unlike many modern fantasy books nowadays, the author made it a point to include the protagonists parents and, in my perspective, having Zara’s parents involved in the action made it all seem somehow more believable.
I suppose the only considerable thing I disliked about this book was the trivial attempt at generating a love triangle. It didn’t by any means ruin the moment but it was just painfully obvious that Jeff was thrown into the mix to add some sort of drama but it didn’t work and the book could’ve done without it.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the characters and loved the world Dela brought to life. A well written debut novel and a new author to watch.
Read in: August 9 to 27 2015