Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic, from its name, is a gothic horror novel with a gorgeous cover. It turns out we do judge a book by its cover.

Now believe me? I know you do.

I read the Goodreads review on this book because when I was done with it I wanted to see what others thought about it. The reviews were either buzzing 5 stars or lonely 1 star or two, sometimes a three got in. And I understand these opposing reviews because I thought they were both valid.

For the five stars, the plot is original. It’s unlike anything I have read. Yes, we get a creepy castle/mansion on top of a hill. Some mystery. Yes. Yes. Really good book. I’ll recommend it btw. Cos why not?

For the one and two stars, was the execution. It could have been executed better. The writing could have been tighter. That was most of the concern here. But as a horror (gothic horror) writer myself, I know how hard it is to achieve this and the time it takes. And since this isn’t her first book, there must have been a deadline. Not an excuse though but…

There was a lot of dragged foreshadowing in the beginning and middle of this book. Then the pace was BAM BAM BAM at the end. I barely knew what was happening. It was a bit rushed like Anatomy by Dana Schwartz.

I’ve read somewhere that a book should be consistent. If it is fast-paced, the climax should be fast-paced, if it is slow-pace, the climax should be slow-paced but with more tension. How you can achieve that? I don’t know. 🙂

Let’s have a look at the Goodreads blurb:

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemí’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

•••

The romance in this book has also been called out. It could have been better. By not making the main character, Noemí, undermine the man, Francis. That part made me go meh. Noemí has rambled on about how not-so-good-looking Francis is compared to his brother which gave me mixed signals. But being it gothic, well at least my book has some moments like these, we could assume she has her reasons. There might be something going on which is beyond the character’s knowledge. And since we aren’t reading through the god’s eyes, we only know what the character knows.

Why you should read this book:

  • The cover. Yup, you should add this to your shelf for the cover. Just kidding.
  • It has a really good plot. The one that will be obvious when you’re done complaining about the bad execution. It is something new. Something really creepy. Although the author fits too much of it. She could’ve concentrated on an aspect and damn would it scare me. But she didn’t, thankfully, so I still have an empty spot for the scariest book I have ever read.
  • It is gripping. I couldn’t put it down. And although it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to, I wasn’t disappointed.

Now, will I reread it?

It’s unlikely that I will. I won’t miss the character, and, I won’t forget the plot. I might read another book by this author. There is a secret in her -well this book at least has- plot that I’ll like to see if the others have too.

That’s all I have to say about Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia. Read it if it sounds like some you’ll like but I’ll advise searching the TW. There is racism, some gore -not too disturbing since you can skim through but I’ve read reviews where people complained about it- and some others I can’t remember.

Peace out ✌️

3 responses to “Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia”

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