Lotería was the 2013 debut novel of Mario Alberto Zambrano.
With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, she retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of lotería cards. Each of the cards’ colorful images—mermaids, bottles, spiders, death, and stars—sparks a random memory.
Pieced together, these snapshots bring into focus the joy and pain of the young girl’s life, and the events that led to her present situation. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.
This book was stippled with Spanish aphorisms and phrases, and included an impressive amount of vocabulary in-context, to help teach Spanish to non-speakers. A full deck of Lotería cards is presented back-to-front, to mark the chapters, as if the reader is flipping a card when turning the page, reminiscent of Isabelle Allende and Salvador Plascencia’s magical realism.
“I didn’t feel like remembering today so I laid out the cards close to each other so that they were touching like tiles, like El Nopal.” (175).
Luz associates her memories with the Lotería cards, using them to prompt her, to spark her memories. Than she writes about it in her journal. As we read her diary — addressed to “You”, always capitalized, in reference to the reader, or in reference to a higher power — we understand the trauma she is trying to run from. Continue reading
Despite the rumors, Renée Ahdieh‘s long anticipated Flame In The Mist is more likely inspired by the story of Mulan rather than existing as a retelling of the tale. Many elements seem to echo the popular Disney’s Mulan cartoon (she cuts off her hair, saves the life of an important warrior, and lives a secret double life as a man), including one of the important quotes of the book: “Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain.” (143)
The sequel to Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen remains equally adventurous as the first, transporting the reader to the far-away otherworldly lands of Bharata & Ujijain, Alaka and beyond, this time following Mayavati’s younger sister Gauri on her own journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Filled with adventure, politics, friendships, sisterhood, romance, illusion, transformation, sacrifices, trials and tribulations, A Crown of Wishes weaves an otherworldly story, carried on the wings of birds with feathers of glittering gold.
In A Crown of Wishes we find Gauri, the legendary warrior princess of Bharata, exiled and imprisoned in Ujijain at her brother Skanda’s command. Scorned by her people for the lies Skanda has spread, Gauri faces execution in Ujijain. But Vikram, the cunning ‘Fox Prince’ of Ujijain, sees her potential and offers Gauri a chance at redemption. Together, they enter the Tournament of Wishes with hopes of winning a wish from The Lord of Treasures that would secure them their greatest desires. Continue reading
Morgan Rice’s newest novel Rise of the Dragons is an action packed fantasy sure to please fans of her previous novels, along with fans of works such as The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. The first to what looks to be the next The Sorcerer’s Ring, Rice’s acclaimed Young Adult fantasy, Dragons starts out running, a fast paced read that keeps you guessing until the very last page, and then leaves you wanting for more.
Escalon is a kingdom of oppression, fallen to the neighboring kingdom of Pandesia and forced to live under their rule. Continue reading