Dora Reads is the book blog of a Bookish Rebel, focussed on the nerdy side of life, and providing passionate support of the Diversity Movement in all things bookish.
Mental health advocacy and Queer views abound!
Reading is awesome - and we're gonna spread it to EVERYONE! :)
February. The shortest of months, and the one with Valentine's Day crammed into the middle there.
Which may explain why four of the 5 books I reviewed this month were romances - guess it even got to yours truly! (I'm not going all soft on you though, dearest nerdlets, I'm still your Rebel Valentine! Lol.)
received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Lucina Stone, who I'm in contact with on Twitter.
This does not affect the content of my review; my review is fair and honest.
I agreed to read this with only the vaguest of notions of what it was about - I had read Naz @ Read Diverse Books' review of it, but had mostly forgotten about it by the time Lucina Stone contacted me.
I definitely didn't realise that it was urban fantasy - so that was a pleasant surprise!
I love urban fantasy - a subgenre of paranormal which involves magical-type-people (witches, vampires, etc.)faffing about in cities and/or towns in which they have their own societies (sometimes open to human society, sometimes hidden.)
It's strange, really, since I don't like cities in general - too much of a rural kind of girl. *shrugs* But there you have it.
Turns out there's more to Daniela's family than she thought there was.
In the year 2030, Daniela sees no end to the pain. Depressed and hurt by an abusive relationship, she tries to take her own life...
...and wakes up somewhere strange.
This can't be happening. She can't be in the 1920s... right?
Dani doesn't get this time period, has no idea about magic, and, with a farm-girl named Daphne in tow, is being chased by a bunch of people who want her dead - or at least in jail.
All she wants is to go home to her mothers, but that seems almost impossible from here...
I love the chatty tone of this book. Stone grabs hold of you and says, 'come on guys, this way!' Which is spot on.
And the time travel element is well done! DID YOU HEAR THAT???? THE TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT IS WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!
Too often, time travel gets unnecessarily messy, or even just plain naff, but not here.
Here we have the reality of suddenly finding yourself in a world full of racism and rigid gender rules (Daniela ends up posing as a dude because of her short hair and trousers.)
And it's an element which is missing from your average time travel plot: the day-to-day-ness of living in that period, especially as a person of colour (PoC) in the USA.
I liked the Mexican variations on the stalwarts of urban fantasy.
All of the different species of the paranormal and urban fantasy worlds - vamps, wolves, witches, etc. are removed from their White European stereotypes and instead seen through the lens of Mexican folklore.
Most notably we have the brujas - the Mexican witches - who are written with skill and intrigue, and are far removed from the average urban fantasy witch-chick (who is normally a white goth-girl and/or biker-chick.)
The depression representation is good overall, devastatingly realistic as a whole - but I did have a minor issue with it, which I'll write about in the next section.
The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness depicted is accurate and heart-breaking, and Daniela doesn't magically get better the moment she ends up in 1923, meaning it's not treated as just a plot point.
And we get a same-sex, lesbian, parenting couple - which is awesome.
so great bits:
First thing, as ever, is first, here's the potentially distressing content from this book (hold on, there's some stuff to get through):
racial slurs (including the 'n' word)
segregation and discrimination
burning (as a form of torture)
missing persons investigation
I think that's everything - v. sorry if I've missed anything out.
There's swearing and violence; if you can handle all the other stuff though... *shrugs*
It was only once, but was still disappointing, and I hope won't occur again in future books.
Also, and this one is more of a personal preference, the relationship between Dani's mothers is referred to as a lifestyle. I don't like this.
I'm aware that a lot of LGBTQ+ people are ok with it (especially from older generations,) but I am personally not a big fan of the term.
But then, a lot of LGBTQ+ people find the term queer very offensive, but I personally identify as both sexually fluid and queer.
I guess you just have to understand that some people will be offended by both of these terms, and you need to examine how and why AND WHETHER YOU SHOULD use them in any given context.
Occasionally it felt like the representation of Daniela's depression was a little bit hit-and-miss, simply because at the times when it wasn't affecting her so much it was almost as if it didn't matter any more.
Honestly though, the representation of depression was, overall, heartbreakingly affective.
This is a great book - a strong foundation for the series, with great characters and interesting paranormal elements.
If you're an urban fantasy fan, this is a must. But those not so familiar with the genre will love it too.
UPDATE 22nd APRIL 2017:
A couple of people have raised issues with the lesbian and depression representation in this book, as well as a few other matters. Some people have equated Dani's lesbian mother having sex with a man with biphobia.
I personally don't agree with the lesbian rep/biphobia criticism - because if anyone knows that sexuality is fluid, it's yours truly. But I see the validity of the points made.