Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia Book Review

Mexican Gothic Book Review Feature Image Brianna Lentz

By the title, Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, one would assume this would be a book about a Mexican Gothic story.  And is it?  Technically…yes it is.  It has a gothic overlay, gothic setting, gothic tone but this is more accurately a horror with a Gothic atmosphere.  I see that this book is a winner in a horror category, but the title of the book itself is Mexican Gothic not Mexican Horror.  This is definitely a horror almost meets science fiction story set in Mexico, with Mexican culture and history, led my a female character Noemi in 1950’s Mexico.  The overall setting is a gothic setting, and the author goes over the top with details to make sure the word gothic rings true in almost every chapter.  Every few pages you were reminded this wasn’t just a horror story, but a gothic one.  Don’t forget. 

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia Book Review

I think the antagonists being English were a little bit of a cop out.  I think that the story would have been more interesting had the author chosen a different country of origin for the antagonists other than the most obvious nod to a gothic tale than England.  I would have loved to see this Mexican Gothic more separate from what we most commonly refer to gothic stories.  This absolutely could have stood on its own without the English background.  I can see why it was an obvious choice for money and the time frame but still… I would have loved to have seen Spaniards as the antagonist and not the British… I think that would have been really interesting.  I think seeing the two cultures being discussed would have been fascinating.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes I did, it just was not my favorite gothic and that is how I am reviewing it. I am reviewing the Mexican Gothic against other gothic that I have really enjoyed and how does it compare.  Did I enjoy a story set in 1950’s Mexico?  Absolutely.  My favorite characters were Marta and Catalina.  Noemi didn’t make that much sense to me as a character.  I don’t feel like the author made her as strong of a character as she was striving for her audience to pick up on.  Also, what happened to the Doctor from town?  I think the conclusion of his character got edited out and I as the reader am like….so…what was the point of him to the story if we didn’t get much closure?  I felt like he was built in pretty well to the first half of the story and in the horrific second half he just seemed useless to me.  

I think this book overall was an interesting take on a gothic tale, but definitely could have been pushed so much further.  I am disappointed because this idea has so many amazing places this could have gone and after finishing the book I just can’t help but think really?  That was it?  There are so many missed opportunities here.  I would like to see this idea revisited by someone else and I would love to read that and see where that author takes it, hopefully further.

Now let me clarify what I mean by the above paragraph.  This book is being sold as a Mexican Gothic.  The setting and victims yes…the horror itself is not.  The horror story I think was pretty cool, pretty horrific and could have stood on its own as something else.  I felt like I got sold one idea and read something else that was the actual horror story.  This book felt like 2 different books fused together and it did not work, it really is a shame.  I read a gothic horror story that took place in Mexico. I feel like the actual story that could have been the Mexican Gothic is an entirely missed opportunity.  Where is the Mexican Gothic story?  That is what I would like to see retried in the future.

2/5 stars

Interested in reading this? Here is a link to it on Amazon.

Want to read more book reviews by me? Here is my most recent review of The Guest List by Lisa Foley, a mystery thriller that is phenomenal.

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