Review: The Queen of Cicadas by V. Castro

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.

The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro. Narrated by Maggie Schneider. Published by Flame Tree Publishing, 2022. Total run time of 6 hours and 44 minutes.

*Trigger Warning: Sexual assault/ rape and harassment, racism.

MAN. :/ This one was such a bummer! I really, reallllllllly wanted to like this book. I tried SO hard! But…. the author sure makes this difficult to like. D:

The plot has a very Candyman from Mexico feel to it. Loved that vibe and that was pretty awesome. So… wtf happened, huh?

Well, first off, I don’t really get the main character, Belinda. :/ What is her freaking problem? I had a VERY hard time connecting with her. I get – and agree- with honoring Milagros, but when that was done, I don’t really get her life choices. Someone please explain to me what her deal is? Her motives are so unclear after the Mexico trip. And honestly, her motives in the beginning before Milagros is pretty unclear as well. :/ Every thing just made her just super unlikable….

Then, the plot is just straight up over booked! Way too much is going on. Half of it feels unnecessary. It felt like the author was trying to cram too many ideas into one book. At the 70% ish point, it feels like the story should have just…. stopped. But…. it just…. kept going….? Why? Who knows. The plot gets ultra muddled at this point and I legit have zero idea what was even going on now. So confused! D:

And now just random sex stuff starts getting thrown in for…..? Why exactly? So odd because it kinda comes out of nowhere? Did I mention how confused I am yet? Because this did not help at all…

Another problem I had is just the writing. D: It was a little challenging to read full sentences in another language with no real context clues as to what it even meant. I am happy to see another culture being brought in, and I don’t believe in spoon feeding the audience the translation, but there does need to be some sort of middle ground. Better balance with context would be helpful.

Ok, back to the plot- I LOVED the 1950s story line! I wish the whole story had just been in the 1950s and less or even none of the 2019. 😮 The 1950s story was SO GOOD!! Milagros is so likable and tragic. Her story is sad and beautiful and leaves you with all the feels and ugly tears. The come upping of the bad guys is the perfect revenge story. I wanted…. nay, NEEDED more of this story!!

The narrator, though, was another check on the “con” side. She sounds amazing for the 2 main female characters. She is perfect at accents and the Spanish pronunciations. The problem is everyone sounds the exact same! Every age, every gender…. it’s all the same. She has such a beautiful voice, but it was very hard to tell who was even talking most of the time.

It was a struggle to get through the last half of this book. D: At the 80% mark I tossed in the towel and DNF’d The Queen of the Cicadas!

I loved the sad tale of 1950s Milagros and the Aztec goddess. Did not really care for Belinda and her 2019 bullshit. Her story just left me confused AF. I really wanted to like this Mexican- American folk horror story, but I just didn’t. Would not recommend this title to anyone. D: I’m not even sure I want to read another book by this author!?


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