Initially, the cover. I know, don’t judge a book by it, but it was so striking! I have a familiarity with Dios de la Muerte celebrations from my time in San Antonio (My college had a celebration every year, it was fantastic! I adore the sweet, colorful breads.). The concept also sounded really interesting, and I’ve always loved time travel. When I saw they were offering a free copy for review, I figured I’d give it a shot.
What I liked:
The world building was, for the most part, woven into the story in an intriguing way, letting the mystery of Emma’s family and what it has to do with Daniela getting tossed back in time unravel slowly. There’s a really interesting magic system, and I love the way it hints at a much larger mystery.
Daniela was really sympathetic, too, which kept me reading. I wanted to figure out how she’d traveled through time, and how she could get home.
Also, LESBIAN MOMS! I could use more incidental queerness in my reading, where their being GLBT is NOT the issue or focus of the plot, but simply a part of them, no more significant than their eye color.
What I thought could have worked better:
The point of view tends to slide around. It “head hops” in ways that often decreased the tension. It made the plot hard to follow at times, for me, and ended up with the characters not feeling as fleshed out as I think it could have managed if it’d stayed in maybe 2 or 3 perspectives consistently.
Probably as a result, I never felt completely immersed in either time. It could have used more sensory details to really accentuate the difference beyond simply the past having a lot of racism. (Though I love the idealism that we’d eliminate racism in the next 15 years!) 2030 in the beginning didn’t feel like a future time, but could have been any time since the 1990s. We get an burst of tech when she does return home, but nothing that felt super futuristic versus what we have now. On the flip side, when we’re in the past, there’s some great slang, but it didn’t really convey much other atmosphere. I’ll freely admit, the main reason I end up reading novels with historical elements is to be transported into those times, and this didn’t pull me in enough to manage it.
Overall, it could use some cleaning up on a structural/grammar level as well.
Recommendation: There’s some promising elements, but it didn’t come together enough. Skip.