Cover Image: The Return of the Sorceress

The Return of the Sorceress

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I am seriously loving all of Silvia's books. This one is a novella and I wish it were longer because I wanted more.
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The Return of the Sorceress is a quick-read dark and story full of magic, murder, and violence. The writing was fantastic, and I honestly wasn’t expecting anything less from Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I felt like I was reading a full novel, so much was packed into only 100 pages. The world building was incredible considering the fast pace of this story.
I wish this story was developed into a complete series because I did want to see a lot more of the characters especially Yalxi and, their were so many other possibilities for her magic that were left unexplored, and because it was so short I did have a lot of questions left unanswered. Overall thought this was quite a fun read. 
Thank you so much again to  NetGalley and Subterranean Press for my E-copy of this book!
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I want to take up residence in Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s imagination. 
 
This novella is just as memorable and distinct as any of her full length works. The world feels fully-developed, rich in detail with a strong sense of place. This is one little slice of it. It’s like looking through a keyhole and seeing a sliver, but knowing there’s a whole grand room behind the door.
 
Because it was so short, there was no time for filler scenes. The pace was brisk, the scenes taut, the action coming quickly. I loved the found family relationship between Yalxi and her nahual. It’s sweet the way that they have a lifetime of history between them, even if we don’t learn all of it. 
 
I would recommend this for anyone that has a free hour and wants to be transported. If Moreno-Garcia decides to write a prequel, maybe The Rise of the Sorceress, I will be the first in line.
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My first introduction to Silvia Moreno-Garcia was the fantasy/magical realism novel Gods of Jade and Shadow which was excellent.  I was really pleased to see a fantasy novella coming out this year so I gladly picked it up.  First of all, whoever she has doing her covers does a fantastic job.  I really liked this cover! 

Most of the time, I find that novellas aren't long enough to flesh out the world to the point where I really get into the story.  This story was simple but had some twists to it and provided enough background of the characters, the world, and the magic system to tell an interesting story.  

Yalxi is out for revenge after being betrayed by her lover and deposed Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers.  She is seeking revenge for the betrayal and trying to get back the diamond that is the source of great power.  She isn't the best sorceress or the nicest person but it is hard not to root for her even after you learn more about her past.  This is the best kind of novella that has a rich enough world that you just got a taste of with an ending that leaves open the possibility of coming back for more.
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There is a whole world here. This very short novella contains within it the potential for an epic fantasy series, and I think it was to the detriment of these characters, this very cool magic system, and this intriguing world, for it to have been written as a novella rather than at least a lengthy novel. I could have used more time with the characters and more about their past relationship, so I could develop a stronger emotional connection to the story. As it was, I enjoyed this, but it was a middling sort of enjoyment, because it all felt surface-level, like I was skimming or reading the bare-bones of a story. I wanted much more!
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Thanks to Netgalley and subterranean press for an ARC. I really enjoyed this novella. It was engaging right off the bat with fully fleshed out characters and a vivid setting. Really interesting magic system and I always love a magical creature companion. Great fun short book - totally worth a read. Typical great Moreno-Garcia writing too!
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Silvia Garcia Moreno tackles every genre. She is a talented storyteller. Her world building and character development are on point.  This was a departure from other noir and Gothic novels I've read by her. Fun fantasy read
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I received “The Return of the Sorceress” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia from the publisher as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All of my opinions in this post are my own. 

It was really helpful to know that this was actually a novella because it helped me reframe my review and thoughts. I honestly really enjoyed this novella and I enjoyed the world that Morena-Garcia created. Yalxi was a good character along with her nahual because she was such a well developed gray character that really was strengthened when you looked at the growth and dynamic she shares with her companion. While I really loved this world and the idea, I really wanted it to include a little more of the story because it was really quite good. I also loved the nahual - which was actually my favorite. The nahual was amusing and cute, even though it did feed on blood.

Overall I'd give it 4 stars because it's a novella so I have to forgive some of the elements which could've been developed more. I also didn't love Yalxi, but I kind of thought that maybe that was kind of the point? I felt a little back and forth about it since I like to feel truly invested in characters I'm reading. Overall, I enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend to to others to read! It's definitely a quicker, but fun, read with fantasy magic elements and a quirky spirit companion.
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The sad thing with novellas is that they aren’t longer! This could have been a novel and I would have kept reading. Loved the characters, loved the story, I LOVED IT ALL!! Don’t sleep on this, go read it!!
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The biggest problem with this story is that it’s far too short but tis the problem with novellas... 

In the beginning I wasn’t certain I liked this to be honest but by the end Yalxi won me over. Her tale is of a woman who once made the wrong choice leading her down a path she hadn’t originally intended and when she loses that life she once held right to she has to fight to either get back the life she thought she wanted or realize that it wasn’t necessarily what she needed anyway. I liked it and was very much interested in her world and all the sorcery I just wish there was more I would love to read more.
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As a very short novella containing a vengeful and motivated main character, SMG successfully creates a vivid world in under 100 pages. I loved the magic system and once again the world. It's always interesting and cool to have a vengeful main character because they always know exactly what they want. There's that lingering question of whether they will go through with what they want or have a change of heart. All the other characters were just as interesting. I also liked how the information of the past was given to us so we understand our main character. 100% would recommend this one.
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A delightfully dark and twisted novella that feels like a fairy tale in reverse. 

Moreno-Garcia is one of the stylistically strongest writers active today, and the writing throughout was just fabulous. It did take a while for the main character to grow on me as she’s not written in order to endear her to anyone. A bold choice for a novella, but there’s power in that, too. The unfolding of her story was also paced really well for the short amount of time there was for it. 

The world building was also a masterful mix of information and intuition. 

This last paragraph may count as a spoiler so be warned:

For such a dark and perilous tale, the ending was an unexpected grace of comfort and friendship, which contributed a lot to my overall enjoyment.
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They say that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is it even possible for someone who is handed massive power to not succumb to that power? In The Return of the Sorceress, Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves a story that questions everything we believe about power, loyalty, friendship, and the subtle and obvious influence of mentors.

We meet Yalxi “in media res,” already on the run from those who betrayed her and usurped her position as the head of the Sorcerer’s Guild. Moreno-Garcia beautifully sets the tone on the first pages: our main character injured, stumbling through buildings devoid of color on a dark night, remembering how this part of the city looked so different when she’d first arrived as a girl of seventeen. The mix of current peril and past carefreeness in this scene permeates the entire book, reminding us that it is highly likely we can never go back to who we were once a taste of power changes us. As the book progresses, we get to see how Yalxi changed from that “callow girl from the provinces” into the feared Mistress Yalxi. We get to see how she dethroned her predecessor, intent on being a better head of the House of Sorcery, and how she wielded the power she took on. And of course, we get to see how she was dethroned in turn, and how she plans to get her power back.

I don’t want to give away the twists and turns of that journey. There were several wonderful “Oh, wow, THAT happened” moments that I think readers should experience without knowing what’s coming. I will say that the loyalty of childhood friends, both human and supernatural, plays heavily into the proceedings. People change as they get older even when great power isn’t at stake – so how much more will they change if power is the prize? Loyalties shift, intentions change, people get hurt. Sometimes, the most reliable ally ends up being the person you thought would leave you in a heartbeat if a better offer came along. And sometimes, we hurt someone proactively to avoid being hurt in turn later. Regret also plays its part, and fear of losing what one most loved.

This is a fantasy, so the power at stake, and the source of it, is magical. The chase and fight scenes are thrilling, fueled as they are by the blood-based and jewel-based magics being wielded, but the blood-based magic also infuses the scenes of introspection and intimacy that give Yalxi and the reader a momentary respite as the story barrels towards its surprising, but totally appropriate, ending.

This story could have been told in much longer fashion, either charting Yalxi’s rise to power, betrayal, and quest to regain her power chronologically or by interspersing detailed flashbacks between the present-day scenes. Anyone who has read any of Moreno-Garcia’s novels knows she can fill several hundred pages with exciting story beats and deep characterization that keep you reading even if you know you should have long since gone to sleep or taken the dog for a walk or prepared dinner. I’m happy to report that the author is as adept at the novella form as she is the novel. She keeps the story moving forward, giving us just enough of the characters’ background to understand where things stand and why the current situation is untenable when it’s appropriate that Yalxi’s thoughts turn to her own past.

The Return of the Sorceress is a complete and deeply satisfying tale of one woman’s quest to regain what was stolen from her and correct a mistake she made long in her past. Even though this tale is done, I do hope Moreno-Garcia will give us more adventures in this world. I don’t think Yalxi’s story is completely done.

I received an electronic Advance Reading Copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was released in hardcover in June 2021.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review. The Return of The Sorceress was the first work I have read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and even from this short.story I can understand the hype around this author.  I very much enjoyed her style of writing, and I was invested in the characters right away. This was a key factor to enjoying the story for me since the length of the novella doesn't grant you the time a novel would to grow fond of the characters. The pacing was also spot on. I wouldn't say the story is action packed, but you could feel the tension growing with every page, and I felt stakes were high for Yalxi(our main character) from the beginning. The only reason this gets four stars instead of five was because I wanted more of the story. I would have loved this as a full length novel. I highly recommend it though.
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To me, the most talented authors are ones who can tell a whole story with beautiful prose and characters in less than 100 pages and that's what Silvia Moreno-Garcia did in The Return of the Sorceress. Yaxli was a complex and deeply flawed character who grew so much once she stopped pushing away the past and let herself reflect and feel. The relationship between her and the nahual is scarred from her past actions but she mends it and then it mends her. I'm not left needing more, but I would not mind a continuation of this story that focuses more on Itzyul.
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Thanks to NetGalley for providing me an eARC of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

The Return of the Sorceress is a novella that follows the deposed Yalxi as she quests for revenge against her traitorous lover. Despite the short nature of the novella, this story manages to have wonderful world-building and fantastic atmosphere. I could picture myself in the environment and that is something I love in stories. The only flaw with short form fiction is that I am always left wanting more, and that is still the case with this story. The plot was wonderfully paced and resolved, but I would have loved more time spent on the backstory of the characters as that seemed the most interesting bit.
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I'm a huge Moreno-Garcia fan, I try to read everything she puts out. I didn't love this. Some really cool concepts, and has the feel of a fable, but didn't have the deep character building that I'm used to in her work. Still worth reading, but this probably would've benefited from being a bit longer.
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While I didn't enjoy this novella as much as I'd hoped, it still has its merits. The world is interesting, the character's quest clearly outlined and filled with intriguing exploits—but somehow I found my attention bouncing around while reading. I'm not sure if it was the prose, or the lack of intimate characterisation, or simply my pandemic-addled brain, but something prevented me from enjoying this to the fullest and connecting with the main character.

I did really like the ending, though! I felt it was the best possible ending for this quest, and I loved the prose of the very last section. I also loved the relationship between the main character and the nahual—a magical spirit companion who feasts on her blood in exchange for favours.
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I was given a free copy of Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (author), Subterranean Press
(publisher) and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

This review will be spoiler free.

I would characterize Return of the Sorceress as high fantasy featuring mages, references to guilds, and has a familiar as a significant minor character in the story.

Since this story is a novella, there is not opportunity to learn about the world building and the magic system.
A significant part of the story features the main character, who is a mage, on the run but she needs to take care of her rival.  The main character is developed, intriguing, engaging, and has depth. I also liked the familiar who was her companion while she was on the run. The familiar added some light moments and levity to the story. 

The other characters were not developed or had any depth because the story is novella-length.

I would have preferred a novel-length story, but I did find Return of the Sorceress to be an enjoyable read.
I rate Return of the Sorceress 4 stars.

I would like to thank Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Subterranean Press, and Netgalley for the free ARC.
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Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy novella from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

This be seventh book I have read by the author and me seventh five star read.  Her writing floats me boat.  I have said before that what I find amazing about all of the author's books is that they feel so different from each other.  The first was a vampire story with stunning vampire culture and history.  The second was a Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz age in Mexico.  The third was a romance with a hint of fantasy set in the Belle Époque era.  The fourth was a coming-of-age thriller set in Baja California in 1979.  Then came a gothic horror set in 1950s Mexico.  Six was a heart-wrenching novella set in space.  Now we have a mesoamerican fantasy novella.  I did not read the blurb going into this so everything was a surprise to me.  It was awesome.

This one follows Yalxi a blood magic sorceress who has been cast low from her former ruling position and is ready to claw her way back to the top with pure fury and grit.  The blood magic is nasty and takes it's toll on the wielder.  Yalxi's only hope for her success is her own willpower and a nahual.  I adored the nahual but started out not having much sympathy for Yalxi.  I needn't have worried because the novella was quick-paced, enthralling, and had a very unexpected ending.  The dark parts were lightened by Yalxi and the nahual's relationship.  The story was perfectly contained in novella form and was absolutely satisfying.

I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia and am excited for her new books later this year.  Arrr!
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