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The Haunting of Alejandra

Written By: V. Castro

Published By: Random House Publishing Group

Reviewed By: Melissa Minners

               In October, I like to get into the spirit of things and read something spooky.  Fortunately, publishers and promoters who participate in the Netgalley program have noticed.  I recently received an offer to review a book by one such promoter.  Without further ado, I present a review of V. Castro’s The Haunting of Alejandra.

                Alejandra feels like she is losing her mind.  She knows she has lost her identity.  An adopted child, Alejandra has always tried to please those in her life and her husband is no exception.  Ever since marrying Matthew, she has done everything to please him, with one exception – after the third child, she had her tubes tied.  Otherwise, she has always dropped everything to please her husband.  She left her job to take care of their children for him.  After finding her mother through a family tree DNA testing site and establishing a connection with her, Alejandra found herself moving from Texas to Philadelphia to better Matthew’s career.  In the process, Alejandra has lost her career, her mother, and any connection to her Mexican roots.

               But now, she is starting to see and hear things she can’t explain…things that make her feel less…things that make her want to cease to exist.  Little does Alejandra know that a demon has attached itself to her bloodline.  The demon presents itself as La Llorona, a white-veiled woman of Mexican legend who drowned her children so she could be with her new lover, only to discover that her actions would push him away.  The demon feeds on pain and anguish and relishes the day when it can feed on Alejandra’s soul and that of her daughter and her daughter’s daughters.  Always with her, the demon has become stronger thanks to Alejandra’s stress and depression over her move to Philadelphia.

               But Alejandra is perhaps stronger than the demon believes, seeking help from a therapist and curandera (healer who uses folk remedies).  The help she receives causes the demon to become angry, retaliating through her children.  Alejandra refuses to allow La Llorona to continue to terrorize her children and will do whatever it takes to end this stain on her bloodline.  With the help of her therapist, her mother, and her strong female ancestors, Alejandra sets out on a journey to defeat this demon and banish it from her bloodline forever, but will the fight be too much for her to bear?

               The Haunting of Alejandra offers up something different from what I usually read when it comes to horror.  This is not your average ghost tale.  When I first started the novel, I thought that Alejandra’s new home was haunted, but it was actually Alejandra herself that had a demon attached to her…and not just to her, but to most of the females in her bloodline.  Now, that’s a terrifying thought!  V. Castro uses Mexican folklore to weave a horrific tale of demonic attachment that results in extreme depression followed by a soul-sucking death that continues on past the original soul, consuming every descendant it can mark.  Castro’s descriptiveness allows the reader to visualize the entire tale and her use of flashbacks helps tie the whole mystery behind this demonic attachment together. I loved the inclusion of Mexican folklore into this tale. I don’t know enough about this culture’s folklore except for a bit about Dios de los Muertos, so I can honestly say that V. Castro has done quite a bit to further my knowledge in the subject.

               The story is fast-paced and the eventual battle between Alejandra and her demon is edge-of-your seat stuff.  Though I felt the battle was awesome, the epilogue left a bit to be desired.  That being said, I enjoyed what I read – a fast paced novel with some nasty scares and a formidable demon that presents itself as a thing of legends.  The Haunting of Alejandra was so enjoyable, I completed it in a week’s time.  Definitely a nice addition to my horror collection.

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Published by Melissa Minners

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