Hot Best Seller

The Queen of the Cicadas

Availability: Ready to download

2018: Belinda Alvarez has returned to Texas for the wedding of her best friend Veronica. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas. In 1950s south Texas a farmworker—Milagros from San Luis Potosi, Mexico—is murdered. Her death is ignored by the town, but not the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. The goddess hears t 2018: Belinda Alvarez has returned to Texas for the wedding of her best friend Veronica. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas. In 1950s south Texas a farmworker—Milagros from San Luis Potosi, Mexico—is murdered. Her death is ignored by the town, but not the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. The goddess hears the dying cries of Milagros and creates a plan for both to be physically reborn by feeding on vengeance and worship. Belinda and the new owner of the farmhouse, Hector, find themselves immersed in the legend and realize it is part of their fate as well.


Compare

2018: Belinda Alvarez has returned to Texas for the wedding of her best friend Veronica. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas. In 1950s south Texas a farmworker—Milagros from San Luis Potosi, Mexico—is murdered. Her death is ignored by the town, but not the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. The goddess hears t 2018: Belinda Alvarez has returned to Texas for the wedding of her best friend Veronica. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas. In 1950s south Texas a farmworker—Milagros from San Luis Potosi, Mexico—is murdered. Her death is ignored by the town, but not the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. The goddess hears the dying cries of Milagros and creates a plan for both to be physically reborn by feeding on vengeance and worship. Belinda and the new owner of the farmhouse, Hector, find themselves immersed in the legend and realize it is part of their fate as well.

30 review for The Queen of the Cicadas

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    The Queen of the Cicadas combines folklore and myth. The story has dual timelines with the first focusing on Belinda who is in Texas for her friend's wedding. The farmhouse in Alice, Texas just so happens to be the site of the murder of Milagros Santos, now known as La Reina de la Chicharras, or Queen of the Cicadas. Belinda becomes fascinated by the story of Milagros and decides to investigate the urban legend and bring some closure to the Milagros family with the owner of the farm, Hector. The The Queen of the Cicadas combines folklore and myth. The story has dual timelines with the first focusing on Belinda who is in Texas for her friend's wedding. The farmhouse in Alice, Texas just so happens to be the site of the murder of Milagros Santos, now known as La Reina de la Chicharras, or Queen of the Cicadas. Belinda becomes fascinated by the story of Milagros and decides to investigate the urban legend and bring some closure to the Milagros family with the owner of the farm, Hector. The second timeline focuses n Milagros and the events that lead up to her racially motivated murder on that farm. Milagros was a migrant worker who picked cotton the farm and sent the money back to her family in Mexico until her death. The dual timelines were a little confusing at first, but once I got into the rhythm of it, I was able to follow. The plot is very well done and made me want to keep reading to see what happened next. I felt the characters were well rounded and I enjoyed getting to know them. Not only is this a tale of horror, it is also a look at migrant workers who were brought to the US using the bracero program and the conditions that many faced. The bracero program was a government program that brought people from Mexico to the US because there weren't enough farm workers to tend the farms because of World War II My appreciation to Flame Tree Press, author V. Castro, and NetGalley for gifting me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars After reading and loving this author's first 2021 release, I was very excited to learn that she had a second book coming out later this year! V Castro once again demonstrates her ability to write fierce, complex female characters. This book offered perspective on infertility, IVF treatments and the challenges of accepting the role of being a mother. I love an author who is not afraid to show the ugly sides of their female characters.  In terms of the story itself, unfortunately I found th 3.5 Stars After reading and loving this author's first 2021 release, I was very excited to learn that she had a second book coming out later this year! V Castro once again demonstrates her ability to write fierce, complex female characters. This book offered perspective on infertility, IVF treatments and the challenges of accepting the role of being a mother. I love an author who is not afraid to show the ugly sides of their female characters.  In terms of the story itself, unfortunately I found this one quite muddle. We follow multiple narrative threads and they just did not come together for me. The story felt fragmented at times and lacked to cohesive storytelling I look for in my Books  As an ownvoices story, this one had a lot of references to Mexican culture. I always appreciate these elements of diversity in my fiction, but I also know that an Mexican reviewer will get more meaning out of those references than I was able to glean.  Overall, this was a compelling diverse read that will likely appeal most to readers with a personal connection to Latinx culture.  Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher. 

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott Neumann

    What a good novel, I enjoyed this immensely and completed this basically in one sitting, it has been quite awhile since I was able to do this with a novel. When Belinda attends her friend Jasmines wedding, she comes to discover that an urban legend legend used to frighten children is actually real. Soon she becomes obsessed with finding out the truth and getting justice for the victim at the center of the legend. Steeped in Mexican Folklore, and jumping between multiple time frames the story move What a good novel, I enjoyed this immensely and completed this basically in one sitting, it has been quite awhile since I was able to do this with a novel. When Belinda attends her friend Jasmines wedding, she comes to discover that an urban legend legend used to frighten children is actually real. Soon she becomes obsessed with finding out the truth and getting justice for the victim at the center of the legend. Steeped in Mexican Folklore, and jumping between multiple time frames the story moves at brisk pace and never lets up. V. Castro is and exciting new voice in horror and I cant wait to read more by this author.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    A mesmerising read, the beautiful writing by Castro is sure to pull in any fan of folklore horror stories. Most people must have heard of Bloody Mary or The Candyman, the La Reina de Las Chicharras myth is similar, say her name into a mirror three times and you’ll see her, an event you’re sure to regret. I recently saw the TV series Penny Dreadful City of Angels and was really looking forward to seeing that Mexican/American Folklore come to life on the screen, in the end I was disappointed, a v A mesmerising read, the beautiful writing by Castro is sure to pull in any fan of folklore horror stories. Most people must have heard of Bloody Mary or The Candyman, the La Reina de Las Chicharras myth is similar, say her name into a mirror three times and you’ll see her, an event you’re sure to regret. I recently saw the TV series Penny Dreadful City of Angels and was really looking forward to seeing that Mexican/American Folklore come to life on the screen, in the end I was disappointed, a very flat story that was rather muddled…. The Queen of The Cicadas meets everything I wanted from that series. It is dark, devastating and sexy, the myth of La Reina de Las Chicharras was absorbing and I could hardly put down the book, I was always telling myself “one more page”. The story follows Belinda and Hector in present day time experiencing a paranormal event, their research pulls them into the history of a farmworker, Milagros, who is brutally murdered in the 1950’s and a series of vengeance attacks on those responsible and on them that ignored the crime. I found myself siding with the Queen which is not something you usually expect when dealing with these Urban Legends, the punishment she deals out seemed perfectly reasonably to me. As the story progresses I really liked how Castro uses modern technology to enable the existence of the Queen to go viral, it made her feel more life like, one day there might even be videos of her on Twitter. The writing is impeccable, the violence was graphic just enough to make the point, and the violence dealt to Milagros had me sitting there with my mouth open, even the scenes with sex were very tasteful, a lot of books can make you cringe with awkward sex but there is none of that here, each scene was beautiful. The book builds up your fear ready for big reveals, there lots of things happening out of the corner of eyes, which keeps you on the edge of your seat. I have really enjoyed this, it has left me wondering why I don’t read more horror, I really need to get out there and look for more, V. Castro has moved onto my favourite authors list and I’ll be looking at what else she has. Blog review: https://felcherman.wordpress.com/2021...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Death is hardly the end for Milagros, a murdered migrant laborer turned urban legend, in V. Castro's The Queen of the Cicadas. Tortured to death in the late 1950s on the farmstead where she briefly lived and worked, her spirit now haunts the refurbished farm-turned-hotel. Belinda learns of Milagros while staying at the hotel for a friend's wedding and becomes obsessed with the dead woman's story and the myths surrounding her, particularly that of La Reina de las Chicharras, the Queen of the Cica Death is hardly the end for Milagros, a murdered migrant laborer turned urban legend, in V. Castro's The Queen of the Cicadas. Tortured to death in the late 1950s on the farmstead where she briefly lived and worked, her spirit now haunts the refurbished farm-turned-hotel. Belinda learns of Milagros while staying at the hotel for a friend's wedding and becomes obsessed with the dead woman's story and the myths surrounding her, particularly that of La Reina de las Chicharras, the Queen of the Cicadas. Making use of two timelines for much of the book allows Castro to explore Milagros's history through Belinda, who talks with and befriends hotel owner Hector, as well as the aged local priest who served the town back in the 50s. Castro spares no expense detailing Milagros's murder and the fates of her attackers in the aftermath of the woman's death as La Reina de las Chicarras delivers justice. The Queen of the Cicadas is a sort-of Candyman or Bloody Mary figure, updated here with a nifty Latinx twist. Belinda and Hector's excavations into the past gives Castro plenty of room to deftly explore social and political issues, primarily the ways in which hate crimes were investigated, or more accurately were not, by white lawman in the '50s and how little has changed in the realm of race relations between US caucasians and Mexicans given the rise of vile and vulgar racists like Donald Trump, who established concentration camps along the US border to imprison Mexican immigrants, wherein they were routinely abused by ICE officers and some women were forced to undergo surgeries without consent or postcare treatment. That anybody in the US ever thought Trump was a suitable candidate for office of the presidency shows just how little this progressed and much farther we still have to go to grow and improve as a nation. Some of the best moments in The Queen of the Cicadas, in fact, come with seeing these racists and authoritarians get their just desserts via extrajudicial supernatural means (even if it rather localized to the Texas/Mexicos border...but god, what a dream it would be to see La Reina de las Chicarras pay a visit to Mar-a-Lago!). The supernatural elements here are absolutely delicious and are built off Aztec mythology. I found a lot to appreciate in Castro's commentary regarding these legends and the ways they have not only been forgotten but destroyed in the white man's conquests and colonizations and replaced with Christianity. For all those (typically white American) readers who still question why, in the 21st Century, it's important to read diversely, this is why! So much rich history has been eradicated and supplanted by centuries of genocide, and all we've been left with is homogeneous, regurgitated, whitewashed bullshit. Thank Cthulhu for Latinx authors like Castro, Cynthia Pelayo, and Gabino Iglesias, who are pushing horror forward with their challenges against a stagnant status quo and enriching this genre with their OwnVoices perspectives, infusing their tales of terror with fresh takes built of their own cultures, personal histories, and viewpoints. It's this that ultimately makes The Queen of the Cicadas a special, and at times quite poignant, work of horror. While it does have some elements that make for easy comparisons - like the titular Candyman/Bloody Mary-esque figure - it also offers glimmers of hope for those beatdown, underdog cultures to regain their prominence and fight back against the evils that have been inflicted upon them. What begins as an urban legend grows into something far more subversive and intriguing in Castro's capable hands. Long live La Reina de las Chicarras!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I am always looking for horror that doesn't feel like a retread and this certainly fits the bill. Not only do you have Castro's story steeped in Mexican mythology and Mexican American culture, the prose, the style, and the structure all feel distinctive. I particularly liked the way this story, while still rooted in the horror morality tale we have seen so often, also moves past it into a much bigger universe with a whole different way of seeing everything. What starts off feeling familiar is le I am always looking for horror that doesn't feel like a retread and this certainly fits the bill. Not only do you have Castro's story steeped in Mexican mythology and Mexican American culture, the prose, the style, and the structure all feel distinctive. I particularly liked the way this story, while still rooted in the horror morality tale we have seen so often, also moves past it into a much bigger universe with a whole different way of seeing everything. What starts off feeling familiar is less and less so the farther you get. Even the familiar, the story of Milagros, is not quite what you're used to. Milagros is young and pretty, yes, but she isn't a privileged teen, she's an undocumented migrant worker whose labor makes a comfortable life possible for the white people in small town Texas that profit off of her and the other workers. Belinda is less of a familiar horror protagonist, though we have seen women like her at the center of these stories mostly in sequels where they are there to be a contrast with their younger selves. She is approaching middle age, she has worked her way up to a comfortable life only to find she no longer wants it. Divorced, with her son off to college, she isn't rooted anywhere and perhaps that is why she attaches herself to Hector. Hector wants to be settled, he's just ended a relationship where he wanted children and his partner didn't, and has invested everything in the old farmhouse he's converted into a B&B. It turns out the land includes the place where Milagros was murdered decades earlier, a story Belinda already knows. The story is interesting but the prose can be rather rough. (Part of this is that my galley didn't have full paragraph and section breaks so it could feel like it jumped very quickly from scene to scene.) Sometimes Castro will suddenly move past something in a sentence or two and it was occasionally disorienting, but mostly because it goes against your expectations of how a narrative will unfurl. Almost every character here is Latinx (except for some very bad white people, obvi) and many are also queer. There's a significant emphasis on families passing down traditions of magic and/or healing, often with indigenous origins. It can be quite gory, and lots of cicadas tend to show up when things get bloody, so yes the title is literal about the bugs. Includes infertility and a traumatic birth, threats of sexual assault (there might have been a sexual assault on the page, I can't remember 100%) , and some weird issues of consent when a god wants to join in while you're having sex (I mean, I had some questions).

  7. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    So, I’m not Mexican, but I’m from L.A. and Mexican American history and culture has very much been a part of my own upbringing. A good friend of the family was part of the zoot suit riots. I knew who La Llorona was before I hit first grade. We learned about Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta. My closest friends growing up were Mexican and I sometimes spent more time in their own houses than I did my own. So while it’s not 100% my culture…it’s kind of part of my culture by proxy if that make sense. I So, I’m not Mexican, but I’m from L.A. and Mexican American history and culture has very much been a part of my own upbringing. A good friend of the family was part of the zoot suit riots. I knew who La Llorona was before I hit first grade. We learned about Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta. My closest friends growing up were Mexican and I sometimes spent more time in their own houses than I did my own. So while it’s not 100% my culture…it’s kind of part of my culture by proxy if that make sense. In Queen of the Cicadas, V. Castro brings us a tale of racism and retribution wrapped up in a dark fable steeped in Mexican culture and history. The story of Milagros resonates – it’s all too familiar for those who’ve heard the stories of what happens to the women out in the field – even more so to those whose family members live it, even today. The mixture of modern day Mexican American culture and ancient Aztec culture works wonderfully here, throwing the reader into a story that is incredibly rich and beautifully terrifying. If I had any issue with the storytelling, it was in the transition between modern times and the older times. For me, the transitions weren’t seamless, occasionally causing me to stumble. But, oh, I enjoyed the story immensely and loved the way everything ended. I will very happily read the author again and again! *ARC provided via Net Galley

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    3.5⭐ Queen of the Cicadas is the newest release from V Castro, and it's a good read! There are alternating timelines between a character in the past and a character in the present. There's some difficult subject matter, and it can be a bit of a depressing read at times (it was always interesting, though!). I got confused about what was going on a couple times, and sometimes way the deaths were handled felt repetitive. I think I got it sorted out in the end, though, and I did enjoy the book. I'm e 3.5⭐ Queen of the Cicadas is the newest release from V Castro, and it's a good read! There are alternating timelines between a character in the past and a character in the present. There's some difficult subject matter, and it can be a bit of a depressing read at times (it was always interesting, though!). I got confused about what was going on a couple times, and sometimes way the deaths were handled felt repetitive. I think I got it sorted out in the end, though, and I did enjoy the book. I'm excited to check out Goddess of Filth next! Content notes - characters experience racism, torture, misogyny, hate crime

  9. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    One can "be woken" by reading nonfiction accounts, whether contemporary or historical. One can also achieve that [albeit painfully] through well-tuned and gifted fictional narratives. Although not a Person of Color, I've been awakened to the lives and despair and plights of Latina women and girls through QUEEN OF THE CICADAS by V. Castro, and MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Maybe it is accurate that one cannot really comprehend until one lives it; but certainly we can see at least the gl One can "be woken" by reading nonfiction accounts, whether contemporary or historical. One can also achieve that [albeit painfully] through well-tuned and gifted fictional narratives. Although not a Person of Color, I've been awakened to the lives and despair and plights of Latina women and girls through QUEEN OF THE CICADAS by V. Castro, and MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Maybe it is accurate that one cannot really comprehend until one lives it; but certainly we can see at least the glimmering, and sometimes see deeper, when gifted authors tell stories and we listen and learn. Then we can change ourselves to improve, to "stay awake" to our sisters (and brothers), and to try to share and inspire others to change. Certainly I am not the same individual as I was before I undertook to read and learn. QUEEN OF THE CICADAS gathers such an immensity of threads of theme and character, of history and contemporary "society," of Culture and Manifest Destiny, conquest and hatred, fear of "the other," greed, psychological emptiness and the yearning for Love and compassion, Myth and Multiverses. I am speechless to express it all. Just read it, devour, digest (as the example of Belinda and the Cicada), then let this novel Wake you and Change you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    It took a little bit for me to get into the story, but once I did… I was all in. What an incredible mash up of Mexican folklore and body horror that gives a voice to characters and perspectives that are under explored in modern literature. Without spoiling anything, the ending also provides a satisfying amount of catharsis without spiralling into a cheap revenge fantasy. I loved it. Read this book! Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest revie It took a little bit for me to get into the story, but once I did… I was all in. What an incredible mash up of Mexican folklore and body horror that gives a voice to characters and perspectives that are under explored in modern literature. Without spoiling anything, the ending also provides a satisfying amount of catharsis without spiralling into a cheap revenge fantasy. I loved it. Read this book! Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Don’t sleep on this author. V. Castro’s second book was difficult to read at times. Her books may be quick reads, but there are so many layers to her words that I’m thinking about the stories long after I’ve finished. Her words invoke a strong emotional response in me. The scariest horror is the historical aspect of the labor camps. The folklore legend of the Queen of the Cicadas was well written and I was disturbed by how Milagros was murdered. It came together perfectly in an unexpected way. I Don’t sleep on this author. V. Castro’s second book was difficult to read at times. Her books may be quick reads, but there are so many layers to her words that I’m thinking about the stories long after I’ve finished. Her words invoke a strong emotional response in me. The scariest horror is the historical aspect of the labor camps. The folklore legend of the Queen of the Cicadas was well written and I was disturbed by how Milagros was murdered. It came together perfectly in an unexpected way. It is a book that I won’t forget any time soon. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Star review and an interview with the author appears in the June 2021 issue of Library Journal. Review is here: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie... Interview to come Three Word That Describe This Book: revenge, unflinching, voice to the voiceless Draft Review: In her engrossing, violent, and exultant debut novel, Castro boldly crafts a brutal revenge Horror story, one that belatedly but firmly delivers justice to the world’s forgotten women. In 1952, on a farm in Texas, Milagros, a farm worker Star review and an interview with the author appears in the June 2021 issue of Library Journal. Review is here: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie... Interview to come Three Word That Describe This Book: revenge, unflinching, voice to the voiceless Draft Review: In her engrossing, violent, and exultant debut novel, Castro boldly crafts a brutal revenge Horror story, one that belatedly but firmly delivers justice to the world’s forgotten women. In 1952, on a farm in Texas, Milagros, a farm worker from Mexico, was brutally murdered. As she is dying, tied to a tree, suffocating on the Cicada shells stuffed down her throat, the Aztec Goddess of Death pledges herself to Milagros. The land becomes cursed and haunted, and the legend of MIlagros, the Queen of the Cicadas grows until Belinda, middle aged and facing a midlife crisis, returns in 2019 to her hometown for the wedding of a childhood friend, on the now renovated farm. Belinda, and the new owner of the property, Hector, both lost souls who on the outside seem to have succeeded in a world set against them, connect with the spirits and help bring their awesome and terrifying power back into the world, giving voice to the voiceless all over the world and punishing oppressors everywhere. Verdict: Castro delivers an unflinching, honest, raw, and thought provoking horror tale that is both serious in its social commentary and fun to read. For fans of gruesome, vengeance themed horror, that is deeply tied to its place and the marginalized identities of its protagonists such as The Only Good Indians by Jones and Frankenstein in Baghdad by Saadawi. Readalikes: Carmen Maria Machado and My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones [revenge horror and voice for the voiceless] Frankenstein in Baghdad same feel and supernatural "monster" but with a "good" reason behind it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    The story of The Queen of the Cicadas in itself is a great one. It's a story largely centered on racism, revenge and bloodshed. I really appreciate how unapologetic the author brought the unfair treatment of Mexican farm workers to our attention. I enjoyed all the urban legend elements and learning about aspects of Mexican culture. What I did not like was how muddled the story felt. I realize it was set in two different times, but at some points it was hard to distinguish what was truly happenin The story of The Queen of the Cicadas in itself is a great one. It's a story largely centered on racism, revenge and bloodshed. I really appreciate how unapologetic the author brought the unfair treatment of Mexican farm workers to our attention. I enjoyed all the urban legend elements and learning about aspects of Mexican culture. What I did not like was how muddled the story felt. I realize it was set in two different times, but at some points it was hard to distinguish what was truly happening. To me, certain scenes switched too fast and without explanation. It is still a great story, and I think it might just be a personal issue with the jumps. Thanks to the publisher for the copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Lucia

    A challenging novel of historical horror, full of substance and rich culture, the horror here lies not just with the supernatural, but also with all-too common evil of racism and prejudice. Very much recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Josh Keown | Night Terror Novels

    Originally posted over at my personal blog site, Night Terror Novels “Unlike things like gravity and the sun, justice is a commodity, like oil or cotton or tobacco.” – V. Castro, The Queen of the Cicadas 🦗I received an e-ARC of this story from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Queen of the Cicadas (2021) will publicly release on the 22nd June!🦗 V. Castro is an author who has been on my radar for such a long time now, and I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive things in respo Originally posted over at my personal blog site, Night Terror Novels “Unlike things like gravity and the sun, justice is a commodity, like oil or cotton or tobacco.” – V. Castro, The Queen of the Cicadas 🦗I received an e-ARC of this story from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Queen of the Cicadas (2021) will publicly release on the 22nd June!🦗 V. Castro is an author who has been on my radar for such a long time now, and I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive things in response to many of her releases. They’ve also been appearing thick and fast as of late – which I think is testament to the author’s amazing work ethic and output – and so I figured it was high time for me to finally check one out! I’ve started with this, her upcoming title with the excellent Flame Tree Press and their Fiction Without Frontiers imprint. I’m a big fan of this publishing house too, so immediately went for this novel when it popped up on NetGalley. And after reading this one, I’ll definitely be checking out more of Castro’s stuff just as soon as I can. The Queen of the Cicadas, or La Reina de Las Chicharras, follows a woman named Belinda Alvarez, who returns to Texas for the wedding of her closest friend Veronica. The farmhouse where the wedding is being held is the site from which a notorious urban legend was born: the titular La Reina de Las Chicharras. As Belinda gets to know the farm’s current owner Hector, the pair are drawn into the tale of Milagros, the woman behind the legend, and the gruesome circumstances of her murder during the 1950s. The jaded and uncaring townsfolk ignore her death, but someone – or rather something – takes notice: namely the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. Obviously it goes without saying that the real horror on display here is not the so-called Queen of the Cicadas, or even the goddess Mictecacíhuatl, but the abhorrent treatment of Milagros by the racist and backwards members of the family she works for, and the indifference displayed by the rest of the townsfolk of Alice, Texas. There are some pretty grotesque scenes and descriptions in this book, but one that stands out is Milagros’s death itself. Castro doesn’t shy away from presenting the macabre reality, and though it sometimes makes for a challenging read, it is also an important one. Without giving away too much in regards to the plot, I do just want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the way Castro explores what would happen if a deity like Mictecacíhuatl was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be real and exist, and examines the ramifications of such a revelation. What starts as a relatively contained story of a woman investigating an old urban legend on a farm in Texas quickly unfurls and grows into something so much more significant, as themes of faith, belief and devotion also weave into the narrative. Whenever I read a book, I always take notes down of passages that I find interesting, powerful, or resonant, and naturally, it often so happens that the more notes I feel compelled to jot down the stronger I think the book is. By the time I was done with this book, I had quite a hefty pile of notes, which I personally think is testament to the strength of the writing. This feels like such a personal book, and the raw, unflinching manner in which it confronts some tough subjects and important issues head on is truly impressive. The author doesn’t beat around the bush, and instead tackles these topics with lucidity and honesty. Obviously as a white English guy I haven’t experienced anything close to oppression or lack of representation, but I’ve seen plenty of people from a similar background to Castro praising her work on confronting these issues and offering that representation through her stories and characters – praise that is fully deserved, as she is doing an admirable and commendable job of championing underrepresented or disenfranchised voices through her writing. On the subject of Castro’s writing, it is fantastic not only for its natural flow – which makes it very easy to devour quickly – but also for the unfiltered, often brutal honesty it is laced with. There’s real heart and passion to the author’s voice, and it makes for an engrossing and impactful read. The characters were all very well-written as well. I absolutely loved the friendship between Belinda and Hector, and during the sections that concerned Milagros’s story, you could really empathise with her torment. These parts were by turns painful, infuriating and emotionally affecting – the injustice of Milagros’s fate was illustrated perfectly, and it only made it all the more satisfying to see these awful people get their just desserts. I think the only real problem for me was that sometimes the pacing was a little uneven, particularly towards the finale, in which the tempo slows down quite considerably. It just felt like it lost some of the earlier momentum during the final act, though I did enjoy the ending itself, and thought it fit the narrative perfectly. That minor point aside though, this is a sensationally good book – the story is both mesmerizing and deeply unsettling, and Castro’s writing is incredibly readable and so heartfelt. VERDICT: The Queen of the Cicadas is a passionate and powerful read that takes a familiar basis for the urban legend of the titular queen and spins it into something all of its own. The story Castro weaves is wonderful – at some times dreamlike and fantastical, and at others nightmarish and downright disturbing. Altogether, this is a terrific book with a powerful current of social commentary and an honest, often brutal, dissection of some important issues. It’s a high ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from this reviewer. I also want to say a humongous thank you to both the author V. Castro, publisher Flame Tree Press, and to NetGalley, for providing the ARC and giving me the chance to read and review it early. Book Information Title(s): The Queen of the Cicadas (La Reina de la Chicharras) Author(s): V. Castro Publisher(s): Flame Tree Press Flame Tree Publishing Original Publication Date: 22nd June, 2021 Page Count: 224 pages Format Read: Digital Advance Review Copy (Y/N): Y Website(s): https://www.flametreepublishing.com/i... https://www.vvcastro.com/

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro is a blend of urban legend, haunted house, and multi-generational saga, and it packs a punch. Castro hits the ground running, weaving together the stories of Belinda and Milagros, the murdered farm worker. Although both women are flawed and morally gray, they each connect to the reader in their own way. Belinda's story is told in first person, but the narration head-hops a bit not only between her narrative and Milagros's, but also several other points of vi The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro is a blend of urban legend, haunted house, and multi-generational saga, and it packs a punch. Castro hits the ground running, weaving together the stories of Belinda and Milagros, the murdered farm worker. Although both women are flawed and morally gray, they each connect to the reader in their own way. Belinda's story is told in first person, but the narration head-hops a bit not only between her narrative and Milagros's, but also several other points of view. Most only last for a few pages, but it may be disorienting for some readers. I was really moving through this book for the first half, and Milagros's story was what really made it for me. However, the plot structure and pacing is less than traditional; I really felt like we hit the height of the action quite early, and the denouement takes a significant amount of time. I found my attention lagging in the latter half, but I really think it was the right ending for the story. Perhaps it was not the right choice stylistically, but for the characters, it was the ending they deserved. Ultimately, I did really enjoy this book. It has its flaws, primarily the pacing and some unrealistic dialogue, but I really enjoyed the ride. I can feel how close this is to the author's heart, and I love seeing that passion hit the page. I'd recommend this to anyone, but especially fans of Tananarive Due's The Good House. -- Thank you to the publisher for providing a free ARC via Netgalley. I have tried to stay as unbiased as possible in providing this review. This is an all-the-good-bits abbreviated review. For my full review, check out my blog, The Library Cryptid.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Thank you to Flame Tree Press & Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of The Queen of Cicadas in exchange for an honest review! I have finally read a V. Castro book & I am so pleased & cannot wait to pick up more from this author! When I started The Queen of Cicadas, I was beyond into it. I was flipping digital pages like it was nobody's business. I absolutely loved everything about it, but I guess I'm going to do something out of character & that is to get the negative out of the way first: Thank you to Flame Tree Press & Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of The Queen of Cicadas in exchange for an honest review! I have finally read a V. Castro book & I am so pleased & cannot wait to pick up more from this author! When I started The Queen of Cicadas, I was beyond into it. I was flipping digital pages like it was nobody's business. I absolutely loved everything about it, but I guess I'm going to do something out of character & that is to get the negative out of the way first: at a certain point, I kind of fell off. It felt like the book reached its conclusion & it was a good one!! But then it just.. kept going. & I just stopped vibing. So, that was what kinda dampened the read for me but now let's talk about the good! I love books with the urban legend aspect & that is definitely found in The Queen of Cicadas. While we're learning about what's going on, so is our main character Belinda. I also love that V. Castro included so much of her culture within the pages! The Queen of Cicadas is definitely an intriguing read. & Castro's writing is so good. We flash between past and present -- I loved seeing the story of Milagros play out during her time, while also reading how Milagros plays a part in the present with Belinda. These scenes were seamlessly put together. & the DETAIL. Wow. I was beyond creeped out while reading The Queen of Cicadas which gives V. Castro a million bonus points from me. Although I had my issues as mentioned above, I do think this is a book that a lot of readers will enjoy!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    This is the first time that I have read this author, and I am going to get Goddess Of Filth as soon as I can. V.Castro has the voice of female rage, takes it, and authentically entwines it with Mexican folklore, the treatment of displaced people and combines them into a howl of outrage that outlasts the human lifespan. A dual narrative , set in the now and the 1950's, explores the myth of the Aztec goddess, Mictecacihuatl through the eyes of Belinda, a woman attending a wedding in the farm house This is the first time that I have read this author, and I am going to get Goddess Of Filth as soon as I can. V.Castro has the voice of female rage, takes it, and authentically entwines it with Mexican folklore, the treatment of displaced people and combines them into a howl of outrage that outlasts the human lifespan. A dual narrative , set in the now and the 1950's, explores the myth of the Aztec goddess, Mictecacihuatl through the eyes of Belinda, a woman attending a wedding in the farm house where the urban myth of Milagros, a migrant worker, is firmly embedded. The way that these women are portrayed is vital, and pulsing with rage. The way that Belinda has changed her physical appearance to fight the inevitabilities of ageing, and places a high value on physical attractiveness , throwing herself away on any available man yet unable to care for her own son, is so very apt and modern, whilst in the 1950's, farm worker Milagros, who has risked life and limb to cross the border, needs to disguise her form , wearing men's clothes in order to deflect attention from the odious landowner. The night of the wedding party, whilst looking for somewhere quiet to drown her sorrows, Belinda is introduced to Milagros' story and becomes even more intrigued as she digs deeper into the past.  The fact that so little has changed in the visibility and concern over the degradation, and lack of opportunities afforded to women of colour is deeply upsetting but a necessary truth that needs to be understood in order to be tackled. Then, as now, the preying eyes of men and masculine attention lessens the women, especially Latinx women, and reduces them to a consumable product. Neither woman is viewed in their own rights as having any power, intellect or agency to make good decisions by an over riding patriarchy that has no respect for women of colour. What they do not account for, however, is the power of myth, legend and belief in things not of this world, to take vengeance within these time frames. The underestimating of women is a constant theme throughout history, and the symbolism of being a queen of cicadas, a species which is fascinating for it's revolving life cycle, and it's use as a motif of rebirth, is woven in the fabric of Belinda and Milagros' life. Richly described, unstinting on the male violence in the pursuit of what they feel is their 'due', and endlessly moving in the way it centers non heteronormative narratives, this is a pure howl of female rage at a world which ignores the voice of women at its' peril.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    Review to come!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Rohrs (words we love by blog)

    As A Mexican-American I can fully say that I appreciate and love this story! The mention of curandera’s, La Lorona felt like I was back listening to my great grandmother tell me tales to warn me from making mistakes that would haunt me! And haunting is what La Reina De Las Chicharras did! This story had so many layers and you got different narratives as each “culprit” paid the price for their sin! It was a little jarring at first to keep pace with what was happening within the story but once I g As A Mexican-American I can fully say that I appreciate and love this story! The mention of curandera’s, La Lorona felt like I was back listening to my great grandmother tell me tales to warn me from making mistakes that would haunt me! And haunting is what La Reina De Las Chicharras did! This story had so many layers and you got different narratives as each “culprit” paid the price for their sin! It was a little jarring at first to keep pace with what was happening within the story but once I got invested it was easy to see how the changing of narrators helped the story move alone and flow! This book made me feel proud of my heritage and where I came from! I loved the strong female leads who may have seem weak but were fighters in their own way! Belinda was any woman lost trying to be who she is in her soul as well as fighting for what is hers in the world! She’s a misunderstood soul and you could feel how her curiosity for Milagros was more than just wanting truth but wanting to bring rest to a tortured soul! There are moments of suspense and agonizing horror but also moments of hope and peace! I love the line that Castro plays between faith and spirituality! A very dark, twisted story that you will fall in love with if you’ve always wondered what awaits on the other side.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Horror DNA

    Let’s start off with the fact that this book would definitely be my top ten of the year list, if my lazy ass would ever get around to writing one. But as my dearly departed mother always said, “It’s the thought that always counts.” V. Castro The Queen of the Cicadas is absolutely amazing. A well-written story with perfect pacing and realistic characters that is a must-read for any horror fan. You can read Jennifer's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here. Let’s start off with the fact that this book would definitely be my top ten of the year list, if my lazy ass would ever get around to writing one. But as my dearly departed mother always said, “It’s the thought that always counts.” V. Castro The Queen of the Cicadas is absolutely amazing. A well-written story with perfect pacing and realistic characters that is a must-read for any horror fan. You can read Jennifer's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    The Queen of the Cicadas is a tale of love, sex, revenge, murder, and great power. We start with our main character, Belinda, as she returns to a Texas farm for a friends wedding. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas. The legend states that a young farm worker, Milagros, was brutally murdered and the town had no intention of doing anything about it (aside from turning the other cheek). This attracts the attention of the Aztec goddess of The Queen of the Cicadas is a tale of love, sex, revenge, murder, and great power. We start with our main character, Belinda, as she returns to a Texas farm for a friends wedding. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas. The legend states that a young farm worker, Milagros, was brutally murdered and the town had no intention of doing anything about it (aside from turning the other cheek). This attracts the attention of the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. Mictecacíhuatl offers a plan for both to be physically reborn by acts of feeding on vengeance and by worship. Belinda becomes more and more drawn in to this legend as fate continues on. V. Castro writes with a passion that most cannot summon and seems to do it effortlessly. I found this book to be one of the more interesting supernatural horror reads so far this year. I absolutely loved how Cicadas focused quite a bit on how powerful women truly are. This is a 4 star read for me. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Flame Tree Press, and V. Castro for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erin Talamantes

    *Thank you to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for an arc in exchange for an honest review* **3.5 When Belinda attends her best friend Veronica’s wedding in Texas, she learns that the farm where the wedding is being held, is where La Reina de Las Chicharras (Queen of the Cicadas) resides. In the 1950s, a farm worker named Milagros was brutally murdered. However, when no one seemed to care about her and how she was treated, the goddess of death did. She allows Milagros to seek her revenge on the peop *Thank you to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for an arc in exchange for an honest review* **3.5 When Belinda attends her best friend Veronica’s wedding in Texas, she learns that the farm where the wedding is being held, is where La Reina de Las Chicharras (Queen of the Cicadas) resides. In the 1950s, a farm worker named Milagros was brutally murdered. However, when no one seemed to care about her and how she was treated, the goddess of death did. She allows Milagros to seek her revenge on the people who wronged her. This is my first time reading a V. Castro story, which I was very much looking forward to after hearing so many people in the community say such good things about them. As someone who is also Mexican, I loved the idea of this story. I loved the culture and the urban legend plot line. I love Mexican urban legends and as someone who grew up being told them, it was fun to see that tackled in a horror novel. I’m also a big fan of a revenge story, so I was definitely excited to read this one. Unfortunately, it did fall a little short for me. While I absolutely loved the story of Milagros and her revenge portion, I felt like the rest of the story just dragged a bit. I didn’t really love the direction it went in and I really would’ve loved the story to focus mainly on Milagros and what happened in the 50s. The present day storyline was just slightly too bizarre for me and I didn’t love it as much as I did the storyline from the past. I do think this would’ve worked better for me, if it had been shorter. After a certain point, I was just a little bored and ready for it to be over. I think a lot of it could’ve have been condensed and just shortened. Because there are so many powerful parts to this story, I felt like sometimes it got overshadowed by the things that weren’t as poignant or interesting. I did like the writing and I loved the Mexican culture in it, so I will definitely be open to checking out more from this author in the future.

  24. 4 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

    3.5/5.0 Stars ‘The currency of loyalty and blood surpasses anything that can be exchanged by hand.’ THE QUEEN OF THE CICADAS La Reina de las Chicarras is the first book that I have read by Castro, the storyline and mystery behind the title—as I had not reread the synopsis prior to diving in—pulled me in immediately! The various scenes Castro creates in this book run the gamut from: heartbreaking, anger inducing, cringeworthy, creepy good, hot and steamy erotica, and touching moments that brought 3.5/5.0 Stars ‘The currency of loyalty and blood surpasses anything that can be exchanged by hand.’ THE QUEEN OF THE CICADAS La Reina de las Chicarras is the first book that I have read by Castro, the storyline and mystery behind the title—as I had not reread the synopsis prior to diving in—pulled me in immediately! The various scenes Castro creates in this book run the gamut from: heartbreaking, anger inducing, cringeworthy, creepy good, hot and steamy erotica, and touching moments that brought me to tears. It’s easy to get invested in the characters, as the reader you are first introduced to Belinda as she arrives for her friends wedding at a Victorian farmhouse in Alice, Texas. Then, what’s viewed by many as an urban legion we learn—through alternating timelines—the story of Milagros and her sister, Concepcion, my curiosity piqued as more is revealed about them. I couldn’t wait to learn more about Milagros, though I won’t reveal spoilers, I will say— Bloody H*ll! My Heart! The first half of the book was hit and miss for regarding the frequent change in the timeline, which at times was confusing. The second half was perfect, all the feels with an ending I was and wasn’t expecting. Recommend! ‘Science says we do not exist.. But next time you hear that scratch or howl or have a sensation of unease, it is not science in the room; it could be one of us, passing through your realm.’ Thank you, NetGalley and Flame Tree Press, for loaning me an eBook of THE QUEEN OF THE CICADAS La Reina de las Chicarras in the request for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa S

    Belinda returns to Texas for the wedding of her best a friend. She's surprised to realize that the farm was the site of the urban legend La Reina de Las Chicharras, which she first heard told at a childhood sleepover. In the 1950s, undocumented farm worker Milagros Santos was murdered by a group of white women. She was tied to a tree so tightly that she was strangled, with fire ants dumped over her and cicadas stuffed down her throat. Her legend says that she can be called by anyone who speaks h Belinda returns to Texas for the wedding of her best a friend. She's surprised to realize that the farm was the site of the urban legend La Reina de Las Chicharras, which she first heard told at a childhood sleepover. In the 1950s, undocumented farm worker Milagros Santos was murdered by a group of white women. She was tied to a tree so tightly that she was strangled, with fire ants dumped over her and cicadas stuffed down her throat. Her legend says that she can be called by anyone who speaks her name 3 times into a mirror, Bloody-Mary style. The murder was swept under the rug by the town and never solved. Belinda and Hector, the new owner of the farm, seek to uncover the mystery of her death and are pulled into the legend themselves. They find that the story is deeper than it appears, Milagros and her twin sister Concepcion, practiced Indigenous Mexican religious beliefs and worshipped Mictecacíhuatl- the Queen of the Dead. Mictecacíhuatl heard Milagro's dying cries and offered her a way to live forever through her and the urban legend. Layered and complex, this story takes a creepy urban legend, adds some supernatural horror and a healthy portion of feminist rage and serves it up as a satisfying dish of dark horror and vengeance. The story alternates between Belinda and Hector's experiences in the present and Milagro's life in the past to create a compelling narrative and move the plot forward at a quick pace. I also want to note that V. Castro has a real flair for some very creatively spicy scenes. The MC Belinda is unapologetic about owning her sexuality. She knows what she wants and she takes it - I loved that about her. The supernatural elements are creepy and scary but the real horror is in the treatment of the migrant workers who were brought to the US to fill the labor shortage. This book shines a light on the discriminatory and sometimes viciously abusive treatment they received. As is so often the case, the real monsters are the people. My favorite quote from the book. As the cult of the Queen of the Cicadas was gaining power and displacing traditional religions, Belinda noted: "…there is nothing they can do about it. They no longer control the narrative. A cult of nasty women, as some have called it." I loved it! I'd like to offer up a toast to all the nasty women out there - may we know them, may be them, may we read them. Thank you to Flame Tree Press for providing me with an ARC of tis book, and for Netgalley for providing me with an e-galley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brennan LaFaro

    Castro’s work is unmistakable. Perpetually written with Latinx culture in mind, you can expect bad things to happen to good people, worse things to happen to bad people, scenes that border on erotica that never detract from the plot, and ferocity between the pages. Queen of the Cicadas may be the best example yet of what this author can do. Part urban legend and part revenge tale, Castro injects Aztec mythology into a story that spans several main characters and several timelines. Somehow, she ma Castro’s work is unmistakable. Perpetually written with Latinx culture in mind, you can expect bad things to happen to good people, worse things to happen to bad people, scenes that border on erotica that never detract from the plot, and ferocity between the pages. Queen of the Cicadas may be the best example yet of what this author can do. Part urban legend and part revenge tale, Castro injects Aztec mythology into a story that spans several main characters and several timelines. Somehow, she manages to keep it all coherent and tells a sprawling story within the confines of about 200 pages. La Reine de Chicharras is a compelling figure reminiscent of Candyman and Bloody Mary. The origin story is arguably the most memorable part of the book and is bound to stick with readers long after the credits roll. Castro knows to tell a revenge story, and she’s at her best here. The reader can’t help but snarl at the injustice and risk losing their place when they stand up to cheer at the comeuppance. Queen of the Cicadas is fast-paced and angry. Impossible to read in a passive manner, you don’t have to be of Latinx descent for this book to be impactful. It’s one of the strongest Flame Tree releases of 2021 so far, and excites me to no end to read Castro’s upcoming collection, Mestiza Blood, in November. I was given a copy by the publisher for review consideration.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Nowark

    “Sometimes the dead come back to take what was stolen from them. Blood justice.” Milagros was a migrant farm worker from Mexico. She was ruthlessly killed by a white woman because her husband couldn’t keep his hands to himself. She caught the eye of Mictēcacihuātl, or Queen of the Underworld. Milagros soon became La Reina de las Chicharras. The Queen of the Cicadas. The Queen of the Cicadas soon became an urban legend, a myth. But there is so much more to Milagros, now that she’s become La Reina. A “Sometimes the dead come back to take what was stolen from them. Blood justice.” Milagros was a migrant farm worker from Mexico. She was ruthlessly killed by a white woman because her husband couldn’t keep his hands to himself. She caught the eye of Mictēcacihuātl, or Queen of the Underworld. Milagros soon became La Reina de las Chicharras. The Queen of the Cicadas. The Queen of the Cicadas soon became an urban legend, a myth. But there is so much more to Milagros, now that she’s become La Reina. As always with V. Castro, I absolutely loved the writing! This book was fast-paced and full of a wonderful world of lore to keep the reader invested. Castro’s use of Aztec mythology in her writing has made me interested in it myself, and I plan on reading some nonfiction books soon. I’d love to know the origins of her backgrounds. I’m giving The Queen of the Cicadas 4 stars because, while I enjoyed the story, I kind of got lost in the end. I did enjoy the ending, but it felt drawn out compared to the rest of the book, and Castro’s usual style. Thank you to Net Galley, Flame Tree Press, and V. Castro for this advanced review copy! The Queen of the Cicadas releases on Tuesday, June 22nd. CW: violent murder, body horror, suicide

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    4.5. Need time to think on this one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I enjoyed this read largely because it was so different from anything I've read recently. I was never quite sure what to expect. A revenge fantasy for the Indigenous peoples of Mexico, featuring a goddess who comes to a migrant worker when she's dying from a heinous hate crime. This struck me as a Latinx, female-led version of Candyman, only, over time, La Reina de las Chicharras comes to protect the downtrodden who call her. I understand the importance and role of having a place for anger at inj I enjoyed this read largely because it was so different from anything I've read recently. I was never quite sure what to expect. A revenge fantasy for the Indigenous peoples of Mexico, featuring a goddess who comes to a migrant worker when she's dying from a heinous hate crime. This struck me as a Latinx, female-led version of Candyman, only, over time, La Reina de las Chicharras comes to protect the downtrodden who call her. I understand the importance and role of having a place for anger at injustice to go. My own spiritual beliefs uphold forgiveness over vengeance, so my worldview differs. Milagros is the woman killed in the hate crime. Belinda is the modern day woman investigating what happened to her and led to the urban legend of La Reina de las Chicharras. I liked seeing Milagros's life unfold in parallel to Belinda's. I wish we had seen more character development and depth for Belinda. Sometimes the writing verged into showing instead of telling. I also think chapter breaks in different places could have helped withe some of the jumping perspectives. There is relatively significant queer content here, with Milagros being a woman who loves women, two important gay male characters, and Belinda exhibiting fluid sexuality (although she never names it). As a woman in recovery, it disappointed me to see Belinda written as a woman in addiction who then never overcomes it (or even tries to) in spite of her character arc seeming to indicate that she has been transformed in a positive way. If you like urban legend style horror and want to see women in the lead, then you will likely enjoy this read. Those offended or disturbed by the idea of the universe holding multiple gods and religions simultaneously should likely look elsewhere. Check out my full review. (Link will be live June 22, 2021). *I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bianca (Belladonnabooks)

    At its core this is a story of racism, identity, myths and legends with hints of sexiness and sensuality throughout. This is not simply a horror story. It is a story of resilience and cultural strength. This is the tale of the urban legend of La Reina de Las Chicharras, Queen of the Cicadas who seeks vengeance for those who have been wronged or discriminated against. The storyline alternates between Mexico in the 1950s where a farm hand named Milagros is cruelly murdered, to 2018 in Texas where At its core this is a story of racism, identity, myths and legends with hints of sexiness and sensuality throughout. This is not simply a horror story. It is a story of resilience and cultural strength. This is the tale of the urban legend of La Reina de Las Chicharras, Queen of the Cicadas who seeks vengeance for those who have been wronged or discriminated against. The storyline alternates between Mexico in the 1950s where a farm hand named Milagros is cruelly murdered, to 2018 in Texas where a woman named Belinda is attending a wedding for her best friend. Both stories share the commonality of this urban legend. It was obvious the themes within this book are very dear to V. Castro’s heart. I found Milagros’s story heart wrenching and absolutely tragic. It made me angry. I felt it was in this narrative that Castro’s voice really shone. Her authenticity and bravery to share snippets of truth was incredibly inspiring and powerful. I heard Castro state on a podcast recently that this book was in part a response to the book American Dirt. I can certainly see this now with that in mind and I’m truly in awe at her bravery and courage to share the truth. I simply love the way V. Castro writes. She blends horror and sensuality seamlessly, with an emphasis on strong and fierce female protagonists. This book was no exception and she’s quickly turning into one of my favourite writers. Those who enjoy strong female protagonists, sensual but non tacky horror and urban legends or myths will likely love this book. Thank you to Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for the opportunity to read this book in advance.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.