My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls is spectacular and definitely a must-read for those who enjoy middle grade adventure.
With a creative mixture of folklore and fantasy, Kaela Rivera creates an unforgettable world of criaturas and brujas, of darkness and fire and water. But it’s her main character, Cece, who pulls us in so deeply with her struggles to fit into her town and family and the mistake she makes which costs her sister’s freedom.
Cece’s need to save her sister challenges her to reinvent herself, but it also forces her to ask – how much of herself should she change? Because to get to her sister, she has to be willing to harm and subjugate others. Thankfully, Cece’s connection with the infamous Coyote helps her stay the course but not succumb to the dark path laid out by the other brujas. Their friendship was my favorite part of this book. Cece and Coyote have a special chemistry that was truly enjoyable to read.
Family and friendship are at the heart of the story and that carries us through some of the darker elements like Cece’s dad’s drinking, the casualties of the Bruja Fights, and the unknowns of Juana’s experience with El Sombrerón.
Overall, Rivera does an excellent job keeping us captivated with her beautiful writing and engaging characters. You can definitely count me in for book two!
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