This book is the best introduction into the genre of urban fantasy any reader could have.
It is clear that Daniel himself has his feet planted steadily (no shade to Carlos- get the book to get it) on both sides of the world of the living and that of the dead. He ushers us into the world of Salsa Nocturna so realistically and seamlessly that I was left feeling like this was the norm. The best part about the way the writer tells his stories is that while there are the usual ghostly characters who have unfinished business and who seek to cause mischief or harm to those of us who are living, he also writes about those who seek to do good, to bring justice to the living who are leading unjust lives and those who just want to be present among us because they want to maintain a connection with life. He makes the afterlife seem less scary. I was comforted by so many of these stories.
I was drawn in by the characters before I even got back stories and when their snippets of their histories were shared, I was even more captivated. Let me be honest, I was not in love with all of them- some are on my list of Permanent Side Eye Recipients and I’m not talking about the clear villains of each story.
I live-tweeted my thoughts while reading the first few stories because I was in a world of bewilderment when I read about Carlos’ and Gordo’s approach to the spirit world. I would not be in a crew with these two men because their idea of recreation did not align with mine and I was super okay with that. Skin Like Porcelain Death is that “WHAT THE HELL?! OH HELL NO!! NAA! BIND IT, LORD!” story for me. And as you continue reading, you realize that these stories are all actually linked to each other somehow, making this so much more than what you thought it would be at the beginning. The book became more than just a collection of stories put together to make me gasp and squirm and throw my hands in the air in judgmental frustration. At some point, before I even noticed, the stories began sticking to me- they connected. Protected Entity and Red Feather and Bone are my favourites, if I have to choose. They took me through a roller coaster of emotions for which I was grateful after reading. My favourite quote comes from The Collector (which you can read or listen for free here) but I’ll leave you to guess what it is.
Another one of the best features of his writing is that each story had a believable and necessary ending. Necessary, to me, in that the characters sometimes get what they want and when they don’t, it serves to carry the larger picture along in such a wonderful way, the reader is left satisfied. The ending of the book leaves you wanting more without having a cliffhanger. Story lines are resolved while possibilities for other story lines are masterfully created.
The one downfall of this book for me is the fact that there was not even one Jamaican present. All this duppy talk and not one o my people enter the mix? No sah. Do better, Mr. Older. But I won’t hold this against him too much as I’m sure he will indeed do better with his future books.
I recommend getting your own copy of this book. You’ll be glad you did.
And the best part of all- there will be more! Daniel José Older has written the PREQUEL to Salsa Nocturna called Half Resurrection Blues and it’s available for pre-order now and will be out January 2015 (that’s in just a few months! Eek!)
If nothing else makes you want to buy it, look at this sexy ass cover. JUST LOOK AT IT! Scrumptious!
I do hope you like it and feel free to leave your thoughts.
Until next post!
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