The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro is an eerie and heartbreaking tale about racism and revenge that will leave you feeling haunted while you reflect on many things long after the last page.
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro
When Belinda Alvarez travels to attend the wedding of her best friend, she arrives on a farm that she learns is the site of an urban legend that she was told about in childhood. However, this urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras – The Queen of The Cicadas, isn’t just a scary story to tell… It’s very real, and Belinda is about to discover that this queen has plans for her and the owner of the farm, Hector.
While we follow Belinda throughout the main portion of the story, we also get flashes back into the past; one when Belinda learns the urban legend, and two, to the farm in the 1950s.
In the 1950s storyline, we meet a farmworker named Milagros who had traveled to Texas for work from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. As she makes a plan to leave the farm after one of the farm owners sets his eye on her, her plans were destroyed when she was brutally murdered. While the town tried to quickly resolve things and brush it away under the rug, the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl, hears Milagros’s cries and has other plans for both Milagros and the people involved in her death.
With the jumping around, I did enjoy finding out more information about the past as the main arc of the story went along as it served up just the right amount of information each time we jumped back. Unfortunately, there were a few instances where I got confused and some of the jumps between chapters felt a little abrupt. I’ll have to go back and reread at some point to see if I had just missed something.
As for the characters, I really loved every chapter that featured Milagros. Her story was so powerful. I also loved Hector and could definitely relate to his dream of having a child. As my husband and I have been struggling to start a family, that really hit home for me and I was so grateful for how wonderfully V. Castro handled that element.
Per usual, V’s writing style was wonderful. There were so many beautiful passages, but many others didn’t shy away from the brutality or darkness. Check out some of my favorite passages below.
My Favorite Passages from The Queen of the Cicadas
Tanya always wore a haughty pinched expression that seemed permanently disgusted by everyone’s existence. It must have been because her ponytail was always pulled back too tightly.
When she glanced at the mirror again, a figure lay just beneath the water in the bathtub. Betty couldn’t move or scream upon the sight of the most terrible thing she had ever seen as the body rose, torso first, then turned its head towards her. It had to be a demon. God almighty would never permit something like this to exist. She blinked, hoping the skinless, bloody woman in the mirror was just another waking nightmare. Betty knew it wasn’t a nightmare when the woman grabbed her by the throat from behind.
We are things of fiction, dusty artifacts preserved behind glass, mere characters created by early civilizations to explain their world. Science says we do not exist. But next time you hear that scratch or howl or have a sensation of unease, it is not science in the room; it could be one of us, passing through your realm. The otherworld is closer than you think because eyes are like skin, soft barriers that prevent enlightenment instead of bringing you closer to the truth.
But for some hate is the only way they can feel comfortable with what they don’t understand or can’t control.
Just when life cradled me in routine, a coin was flipped, and fate presented me with a door.
My Final Thoughts on The Queen of the Cicadas
This is a must read for all horror fans. While it had it’s share of bloodshed and blood-boiling unfairness, it was also filled with a lot of hope.
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Thanks for reading!