This book kind of destroyed me for a while, and I’m not sure why. It’s a complicated story, I think. It was a really good book, with really lush descriptions and tremendous worldbuilding. Obviously I also wanted Lucha and Paz to get to be together. The end was okay, I guess. I did really enjoy the questions it brought up about societies and power and the difference between the goddess’s intent and the interpretation of that intent by her followers. And the recognition that Rio really wasn’t all that different from Los Ricos or Salvador. It’s beautiful and fierce and dark, and I loved it. I really liked Salvador as a character, even though he's not a good guy, and I wanted a different ending for him. This is a book I would love to discuss at length with others who have read it. I wouldn't mind reading more books set in this world.
"Lucha of the Night Forest" by Tehlor Kay Mejia is a captivating Latinx sapphic YA fantasy that weaves a unique tale of loyalty, sisterhood, and friendship. Mejia's narrative style evokes nostalgia and sets this fantasy apart.
The story follows Lucha and her sister navigating a world plagued by addiction, corruption, and ancient gods. Sisterly bonds, forest magic, and an addictive drug form the backdrop, with classism, corrupt government, and powerful deities adding complexity.
While some aspects take time to adjust to, the honesty in Lucha's relationships shines. Her dynamics with her addicted mother, difficult sister, enigmatic God, and the complex Paz form the emotional core. The latter half accelerates the pace, unveiling unusual world-building and a magic system centered around "magic mushrooms."
Despite a desire for more depth, the narrative's honesty and nuanced take on chosen-one tropes, exploring free will, addiction, and faith, make it compelling. In essence, "Lucha of the Night Forest" offers a refreshing and memorable fantasy experience, standing out with its distinctive tone and exploration of relationships in a fantastical setting.
I felt this is not this author's best work, which is quite disappointing as the premise is very unique. I appreciate the queer representation and the atmosphere of the story, but the story itself and the characters didn't quite stay with me the way Tehlor's other books have.
Tehlor Kay Mejia's Lucha of the Night Forest is a fast-paced and action-packed young adult fantasy novel. However, it falls short in some areas, particularly in terms of worldbuilding and character development.
The book is set in a richly-imagined world inspired by Latin American culture and mythology. The story follows Lucha, a young woman who is forced to flee her village after it is attacked by a mysterious force. Lucha must embark on a journey to find her sister and to save her people.
Mejia does a good job of creating a suspenseful and exciting plot. The action scenes are well-written and the stakes are always high. However, the worldbuilding is a bit underdeveloped. The reader is not given a lot of information about the different cultures and factions in the world, which can make it difficult to follow the plot at times.
Additionally, the character development is lacking. Lucha is a strong and determined protagonist, but she is also underdeveloped. Her motivations and goals are not always clear, and it is difficult to connect with her on an emotional level. The supporting characters are also underdeveloped. They often feel like tropes rather than fully realized characters.
Overall, Lucha of the Night Forest is a fun and fast-paced read, but it is not without its flaws. The worldbuilding is a bit underdeveloped and the character development is lacking. However, the plot is exciting and the stakes are always high.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for this DRC.
A dark fantasy with a dangerous forest, an oppressive society and a horrible drug. Lucha is trying to keep her family together and must head into the Night Forest to save her sister and herself.
Hard to get into but ended up loving it.
I had high hopes because the premise sounded interesting but the writing didn't work for me. The cover is beautiful though.
This a a fantastic epic fantasy!! I was hooked from the first page. The character arc of Lucha is top notch. It reminds me of This Poison Heart in all the best ways. The action based plot kept me on the edge of my seat wanting Lucha to make the right choices.
In a world ruled by corruption, greed, and drugs that let people forget what is any one to do. Lucha just wants to save her sister no matter what it takes even if that means making a deal with El Sediento the master of death who’s suppose to be just legend. This journey through that defines that destiny is just the culmination of the choices a person they make.
Who enjoyed a YA fantasy? Me? Moi? Who? I'm flabbergasted. Are you?
Anyway. As with the rest of my ARCs, I meant to read this 9234829346 years ago, but here we are. It's a good month for this one, anyway. Heritage. Horror. All of that.
I may have mentioned this before when reviewing Mexican Gothic, but what is it about mushrooms?
As always, there is a very prevalent theme of light and dark. I don't enjoy the idea of a savior, but I get that it's relevant to the culture.
Because I'm trash, I wanted a villain romance. That's not what we got, and I'm mostly fine with that. It's not quite first love, but it almost feels like it. It's cute, I guess. What is wrong with me?
From the cover
A scorned god.
A mysterious acolyte.
A forgetting drug.
A dangerous forest.
One girl caught between the freedom she always wanted and a sister she can't bear to leave behind.
Under the cover of the Night Forest, will Lucha be able to step into her own power...or will she be consumed by it?
This gorgeous and fast-paced fantasy novel from acclaimed author Tehlor Kay Mejia is brimming with adventure, peril, romance, and family bonds--and asks what it means for a teen girl to become fully herself.
I really struggled with this book and I am not quite sure why…I go back and forth with whether it was not adventurous enough or the world building wasn’t as strong as I needed it to be. Lucha’s growing powers seemed to happen out of nowhere and the pace didn’t allow me to connect to the characters. Super cool idea that just needed 200 more pages.
Thank you to NetGalley, Tehlor Kay Mejia, and Random House Children's Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.
This book sadly did not work for me! Overall, I would say the positive things are that the cover is stunning (that's what initially drew my attention) and the description also sounded like something that would be up my alley. The writing was also good, but unfortunately I felt as though the story was quite confusing at times, and eventually I had to realize that maybe this book would be better suited for someone else.
The strong characters and dark fantasty setting of secrets and the trade of secrets was very good. I liked the setting and story, but the storytelling wasn't compelling enough for me to stay raptly engaged. I kind of petered out.
This book started out strong but then got so confusing. There was just too much going on and it got hard to keep track of it all. I also feel like the characters were not very well developed. I struggled to care about Lucha's relationship with her sister or even her love interest. Neither were shown much so it was hard to truly connect with them. I think this would have done better as a duology where certain plot points could have been expanded on and the characters could have been developed more.
Nicely paced with a really gripping story of family, sisterhood specifically, at the heart of it. Love the own voices edge, and the overall fantasy actually feeling like fantasy!
Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia was an absolutely amazing, atmospheric, original story - just absolutely amazing - and I highly recommend it. One of my top reads of the year.
Lucha wants freedom at any cost but will the price of a sister's life be too much to pay? Lucha of the Night Forest gives readers an epic fantasy adventure in the forest, immersed in folklore. Mejia is exceptional in placing the reading inside her worlds and making them feel part of the story. Mejia does not shy away from grey characters or topics that can burn. Everything in this story is circular and has a meaning. It does take a little bit for the plot to get moving at the start but once it does, hold on.
A Sapphic YA fantasy with beautiful world building and a willingness to play with the usual tropes. Lucha will do anything to protect her sister, Lisa. She partners with the dark, brooding God to stop the drug haunting her people. But the beautiful Paz, and the truth sends Lucha on a journey of choice that she may fail at. The characters were enchanting, and the story twisted classic eliminates in fun ways that left me craving more.
Like several other readers, I had a hard time getting into this book. I usually like YA fantasy and had no expectations as I had not read the author's previous book but will give them a try. I know that this will be popular among our teen customers.
This was such a weird book. I did enjoy the word play that the author engaged with Spanish throughout the narrative, the nomenclature of people, things, and places. However, everything felt so nebulous and shifting that I never really got ahold of anything as I read. Lucha also had an enormous amount of really unclear aha moments. Mejia created an immersive atmosphere though, so immersive that it obscured pretty much everything else.