Reviews

Meksikos gotika, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

ashurah's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

One of my favorite books! I love how Moreno-Garcia emulates a Gothic writing style but includes themes of colonialism, colorism, and eugenics into the novel to the horror. It makes the story really unique and (in my opinion) a lot more terrifying. Although it can be slow at times, it fits the themes of the book and I personally don't mind it.
SpoilerNoemi and Francis' relationship was also very realistically developed - I didn't feel that it was forced or rushed at all.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

libbyxreads's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

If you want to read a modern gothic novel about a haunted mansion in a Mexican countryside, inbred English people, and demonic...mushrooms then be my guest.

The Good
-I’m sure I’m like most people who’ve picked this book up initially due to the stunning book cover. It is definitely an eye catcher

-the creepiness and strangeness of the house at High Place and the Doyle family was well captured. I felt really grossed out by Howard especially. He’s a disgusting and disturbing geriatric demon.

-Surprisingly, I didn’t dislike Noemi. She’s pretty arrogant but I liked that she was someone that wasn’t afraid to demand answers or do what needs to be done to protect her cousin, Catalina.

-While odd and some may say unrealistic, I thought the motivations behind the Doyle’s behaviour and family history was written well but I’m not sure what to think about the whole mushroom thing...

The Not-So-Good
-The pacing was way too slow. I was really bored with the first 2/3 of the book and contemplated many times to DNF it. Honestly, I do not mind slow burns but I just don’t particularly like it when nothing interesting is really going on for more than 100 pages then BOOM! crazy stuff goes down. Yes, there were hints all over that something wasn’t right with the house or the Doyle’s but it still felt repetitive (Noemi walks around the house —> Noemi bickers with one of the Weirdoyles (that’s what I’m calling them) —> Noemi goes to sleep and has strange dreams —> rinse and repeat.

- Since this is set in 1950s Mexico it would’ve been great if that was shown more throughout the book. There isn’t really a lot of detailed descriptions that immerses the reader into seeing that this is the era they’re reading about. If I was told it was set in England or something I wouldn’t think of questioning that. I wish we could’ve seen more of what Mexico in that time would feel like.

-I wish Catalina was more of a fleshed out character. I would’ve enjoyed reading more about her thoughts about being married to a grotesque man like Virgil.

Overall, I give this book a rating of 3 stars. I didn’t love it or completely hate it. There were scenes that disturbed me and kept my interest piqued (because I honestly needed to know what the heck is wrong with that family). And there were other moments that had me bored out of my mind. I must also mention that there are descriptions of sexual assault, infanticide and murder so be careful if you cannot handle such subject matter.

restlessreader's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

honeysaurus's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

I loved the book and its scientific way of explaining what was going on. It starts slow in the first few chapters but once the chapter numbers hit double digits it begins to intrigue even more. The last few chapters of the book are where it’s at though. Most of the book is Noemí’s theories and hypotheses on what is going on in High Place but the last few chapters are when we are given actual answers as to what is going on.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

nattyc96's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Spooooooky and thrilling. This would be an excellent Halloween read. I loved how bold the main character was. There were some parts I could live without, but overall I enjoyed the thrill.

kristine2467's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

“Thriller with a creepy side” is an accurate description. Creative story, great pacing, and I never saw the ending coming. Strongly recommend.

hobbit_reading's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

This was a 4.75 star for me.

It had a real Gothic nature to it but with a little twist, I have been reading quite a few of this sort of take on Gothic literature and I have to say it's a trend that I hope sticks a round for a bit. There was one part of the book that i was unsure about but after I wrapped my head around it and remember what the book's genre was and how certain elements are a part of it I really enjoyed it.

kelseydiane93's review against another edition

Go to review page

2.0

Wasn’t for me. I’m not a HUGE fan of reading stories set in history settings. Also this premise was very similar to another book I read not long ago. Just not for me

dustin_frueh7921's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

I remember Silvia Moreno-Garcia popping up almost sporadically on my Facebook and Goodreads feeds as far back as a few years ago. But it wasn't until 2019's [b:Gods of Jade and Shadow|36510722|Gods of Jade and Shadow|Silvia Moreno-Garcia|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1543268579l/36510722._SY75_.jpg|58230232] (best described as a dark, historical fantasy,) that I instinctively knew she was a big deal; that I needed to sample her work. The kindness and generosity of a dear friend rectified that. In all likelihood I would never have acquired such a stunning work of art.

She sat in the bed and gripped the covers with one hand while with the other she held her cigarette. Slowly she stood and approached the wall, unblinking. The shifting mold was mesmerizing. It rearranged itself into wild electric patterns that reminded her of a kaleidoscope, shifting, changing. Instead of bits of glass reflected by mirrors it was an organic madness that propelled the mold into its dizzy twists and turns, creating swirls and garlands, dissolving, then remerging.

There was color to it too.


Essentially, Mexican Gothic was an examination of the descent into madness. But like its cover, it revolved around much more. Such superficialities didn't interest the author. She really went all-out, leaving nothing to chance. It's interesting that many of the earliest concepts and references to the Mexican Revolution and class relations served as foundations of what would develop later on. In the confines of its three hundred pages, she dabbled in the many forms of art, including folklore, mythology, and architecture-- the precision of High Place being a prime example. Religion and gold mining were also on display. And though she ran the thematic gambit, Mexican Gothic never felt convoluted or disorganized. The opposite, in fact. Everything was very professional, amply researched, and well-thought-out. Never boring.

Throughout this marvelous, tour de force journey, Moreno-Garcia's literary influences were unmistakable. To name a few: Bram Stoker's [b:Dracula,|17245|Dracula|Bram Stoker|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1387151694l/17245._SY75_.jpg|3165724] Shirley Jackson's [b:The Haunting of Hill House,|89717|The Haunting of Hill House|Shirley Jackson|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1327871336l/89717._SY75_.jpg|3627] and based purely on conjecture (I haven't read them yet,) [b:The Castle of Otranto|12923|The Castle of Otranto|Horace Walpole|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1390597628l/12923._SY75_.jpg|46432] by Horace Walpole and [b:The Yellow Wallpaper|8217236|The Yellow Wallpaper|Charlotte Perkins Gilman|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1276430319l/8217236._SX50_.jpg|17352354]
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Also, it goes without saying, the original [b:Grimm's Fairy Tales|19351490|Grimm's Fairy Tales|Jacob Grimm|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1386705031l/19351490._SX50_.jpg|46022931]. I have no doubt whatsoever that there were many more classic gothic stories which greatly influenced her.

And then there's the horror aspect. My gosh, it was ridiculously good, complete with ample quantities of creepiness and the disturbed that's sure to please most horror aficionados. It wasn't merely vivid depictions of gore or adrenaline-fueled discomfort. It was much more. One aspect I enjoyed a lot concerned the psychological. In that realm, she posed questions of immorality and other perversions. How do you accurately define right and wrong? Those being relative terms, is it even possible to give meaning to morality and immorality in such ways as to satisfy everyone? That worked exceptionally well because it closely resembled real life: nothing's ever black and white. Shades of gray permeate.


There must be other minds, bits of persons, hidden underneath the wallpaper, but none as solid, as tangible as Ruth. Except, perhaps, for that golden presence that she still could not identify and that she could not even declare a person. It didn't feel like a person. Not like Ruth.



That ending, though. Holy crap. Despite some very heavy-handed foreshadowing, I did not see that approaching, or how it all came about, at all. If the first two hundred pages can, in fact, be called a slow burn, then the climatic finale was very bizarre, dark, unpredictable, revelatory, at times disgusting, and ultimately satisfying. There were, however, a few details which felt convenient and perhaps a little too easy (clichéd, too,)) but overall I can’t complain too much. Driving the denouement home in a powerful and earned way was the authentic development of our protagonist, Noemi Taboada. She genuinely came into her own, gradually and steadily. I liked her from the start, yet by the end, I adored her. Her cousin, Catalina, and their mutual friend, Francis, proved themselves in strong ways, too.


The house was quiet, a quiet that she disliked, for it seemed to her all the boards that normally creaked and groaned had stopped creaking, the clocks on the walls did not tick, and even the rain against the window panes were shushed. It was as if an animal waited to pounce on them.



I mentioned that the end got bizarre and gory. The quality and quantity was satisfying, but I was expecting Moreno-Garcia to take it further, to revel in unprecedented carnage and mayhem. I was hoping to be gobsmacked, to be taken aback with sizable twists and turns of the proverbial knife. Nevertheless, I was extremely impressed, and I highly recommend Mexican Gothic.

My next work by the author will probably be the aforementioned, Gods of Jade and Shadow.

maameowusua's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous challenging emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

2.75