When Olivia Villalobos finds a bloodstained love letter she endeavors to deliver it before Chief Inspector Sedeño finds it in her possession.
A city along the southern coast of Puerto Rico emerges in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Olivia, daughter of a drunkard police investigator who never knew the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, finds a bloodstained love letter in the hidden compartment of her father’s coat. Convinced it belonged to the man recently found dead she sets out to deliver it to the Labyrinth of Love Letters. A mysterious place believed to be an urban legend where the transients of forbidden love leave missives for one another. She enlists the help of Isaac Quintero to find the Labyrinth and they soon realize their quest has opened the door into Old Sienna’s darkest secrets—the perils, madness and depth of tragic love.
Expected Publication Date: February 13th, 2017
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Quick Reasons: lots of purple prose and beautiful descriptions; there wasn’t much “plot” to this story; cliched, too-clean ending; I didn’t really connect with any of these characters, though I did empathize with a few; overall entertaining, question-evoking, and complex read
Huge thanks to Felix Alexander and BookTasters for sending me a free digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.
First things first: this was an interesting, though not necessarily action-packed, read. What I mean is, I was super intrigued and held in pretty deep thrall…but I feel as if certain parts of this might have moved a bit slowly, all together. A lot of this book is internal monologues and ponderments; there is not overall a lot of dialogue. Which I suppose, in a sense, makes sense–these characters are, for all intents and purposes, romantics in their own rights…and therefore given to being lost in their own heads. But it does not, in the end, lend itself to action scenes or quite the right “mood” for what is meant. This read much more like an overreaching love-story, not what turned out to be a sort of murder/mystery.
The characters are intriguing and complex, but I didn’t find myself really “connecting” with any of them. Yes, I was able to empathize with and understand their motives…but I found I didn’t really care for them in the end. I wasn’t rooting for them, or holding my breath in anticipation, or fearing for their safety. I was sort of a neutral ground in the scope of this read–not really swayed or moved by the course of events. Even the characters who were meant to be HUGE in personality, fell a bit flat for me, unfortunately.
I REALLY enjoyed the purple prose aspect, though. Seeing as Felix Alexander is a poet, I went into this read expecting gorgeous scene-setting and beautiful descriptors, and I was not disappointed in either of these aspects. The scenery, the world, the sounds and tastes–everything leaped to life around me as I read, helping to better “immerse” me in the book. Felix Alexander did a beautiful job painting this world for me.
I was, in the end, a bit disappointed with the ending. While I understand why it was done the way it is, it’s also…very cliche? in books like this, I feel–and in movies, as well. It also sort of took me by surprise, as I hadn’t seen that ending coming quite as soon as it did (or, it felt soon to me, given the way the characters had been described).
This was an enjoyably descriptive, though a bit plot-slow, read. I had a ton of fun following Olivia and Isaac on their journey; I had more fun being immersed in and awed by the scenery and world being built. I recommend this to lovers of old-world secrets, the consequences of forbidden love affairs, and murder/mysteries that feel more like long-winded romances. Felix Alexander penned a love letter around his readers; why don’t you pick it up and read?