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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Reclaim the Stars

Updated: Feb 3, 2022


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐


"Reclaim the Stars is a collection of bestselling and acclaimed YA authors that take the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world. From princesses warring in space, to the all too-near devastation of climate change, to haunting ghost stories in Argentina, and mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean. This is science fiction and fantasy that breaks borders and realms, and proves that stories are truly universal."


 

Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space is a SFF anthology collected by Zoraida Córdova.


 

First and foremost I would like to thank NetGalley and Wednesday Books for allowing me to review this book in advance. Please note that this in no way affects my opinions. Also note that what I read was an ARC, and things may be subject to change for the final copy.

 

As this is an anthology, I will only talk briefly about my opinion of the book as a whole, and then go into details about each story. A such, most of this review will be under a spoiler warning but I will section it off should you choose not to read it.


Now, the word I would use to best describe this collection of stories would be lacklustre. The vast majority of them didn't stand out to me at all, and I found that it took me a while to make my way through the book because I just wasn't all that interested by what I was reading. I didn't realize that this collection included fantasy stories as I thought it was just sci-fi, but even the fantasy stories did nothing for me. As such, this will be getting no higher than three stars from me, and that is a generous rating.


I found that the best stories in this collection were: This Is Our Manifesto, Rogue Enchantments, and Tame the Wicked Night.


In terms of the format of the book, it was separated a bit oddly. I wasn't aware that this was divided into three sections, so when I got a blank page with only a title on it, I was a bit thrown off. It would have been better if it was a bit clearer, like adding in parts, in order to clear up any confusion. Another thing that might cause confusion that I would keep in mind is that, due to the nature of the collection, there is frequent use of non-English vocabulary with no translations.


If you are looking for a good anthology, I would suggest that you pick up Córdova's other collection instead, Vampires Never Get Old. If you are looking for some short stories to read, I will direct you to the Tor books website, as they release monthly lists of speculative fiction to read. I would like to make a note though that I read this book before seeing comments that some of the authors were problematic. So, you might want to do your research before deciding to pick this up.


Now, let's talk about my impressions of each story. Again, there will be spoilers as they are short stories, so if you don't want any you can stop reading now.



SPOILERS AHEAD

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Reign of Diamonds by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐


In this story, our main character must face their kind of ex-lover in a battle to the death in order to gain rule over La Ruta. While this concept could have been interesting if it was longer, my interest was more or less ruined by the fact that this is romance-centric. I'm not a fan of Romeo and Juliet-esque romances so, needless to say, this didn't really work for me.


 

Flecha by Daniel José Older ⭐⭐⭐+


It took a bit for the plot to kick in, but I did think that it was at least a decent one. The main character was sent off earth for protection and went back five years later to find it decimated. I liked the way the story circled back to how it started, but other than that, this wasn't anything particularly special.


 

The First Day of Us by David Bowles ⭐⭐1/2


The biggest flaw about this story was the writing style which, in all honesty, confused me to the point where I had no idea what was going on. The first-person perspective was just strange to read with the author using you and I to refer to the reader and the person they are interacting with. My explanation might not make much sense, but neither did this story.


 

The Tin Man by Lillian Rivers ⭐⭐⭐


This could have benefited from some more context or just more in general. A robot, the tin man, visits our main character with a warning that their area was about the decimated by an earthquake. Besides just being uninteresting, the story just cut off abruptly at the end. I get that this is a short story, but just a bit more might have made this slightly better.


 

This Is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro ⭐⭐⭐1/2+


This story I found to be rather interesting. The main character receives and listens to, a manifesto from a group of activists who are fighting the ones who wronged them. I could have done without the added story because it was the manifesto by itself that I felt made this story interesting. It was a very well-written rally.


 

Creatures of Kings by Circe Moskowitz ⭐⭐⭐


I will admit this one threw me off mainly because I didn't realize that this anthology included fantasy stories. That aside, this story was a bit more on the complex side but, again, I didn't find it very interesting otherwise.


 

Eterno by J.C. Cervantes ⭐⭐⭐


I am a bit conflicted about this one, it was a good idea but not meant for a short story and it went in a direction I didn't like. I liked the idea that the main character was a kind of grim reaper, and he consumed the darkness that grows in people and their memories. What ruined the story for me though was, of course, the romance. He was willing to risk everything for a girl he just met which is generally never something that works for me.


 

White Water, Blue Ocean by Lina Raquel Nieves Pérez ⭐⭐⭐


This follows a family who cannot lie otherwise you will be able to smell it. It was an interesting enough idea, but it didn't have any direction.


 

Leyenda : A Wolves of No World Story by Romina Garber ⭐⭐⭐


This gave me some Carey vibes with all the girl hate going on in this (which is surprising considering that the underlying theme of this story is feminism). The main character Zaybet, a bruja, wants more rights to level the field against the lobizones (werewolves?). Fine enough concept, but it was too ambitious for a short story and the story ended before it really found its footing.


 

Color-Coded by Maya Motayne ⭐⭐⭐


In this, the main character is afraid of her Change (when people gain an ability) because her mom went manic. Nothing really happened in this as there was barely a story to be told.


 

Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno ⭐⭐⭐


The main character Luz gets shipped off to her abuelo's who lives at an abandoned golf course. This one was a bit weird. She kept messing around, and she accidentally woke up a skullman (a man made out of skulls?). What threw me off, was that she kissed said skullman, and then just left with him...to go off into a different realm. Like I said, a bit odd.


 

Rogue Enchantments by Isabel Ibañez ⭐⭐⭐


This story, although it took a bit for the main character to get a clue, involved some sweet vengeance. The main character, Graciela, moves to a new town in order to take over her grandmother's stall. The townspeople are not so happy that she is there, and someone is sabotaging her stall. While it is very obvious who is the one sabotaging it, I did like how I felt that this story had a proper ending.


 

Sumaiko Y La Sirena by Vita Avala ⭐⭐1/2


This story brought up an immediate red flag for me as it is set on a plantation, which means that no so nice things were probably going to happen. And, I wasn't wrong about that as the very strict patriarchy and the use of certain sentences just made me uncomfortable.


 

River People by Yamile Saied Méndez ⭐⭐⭐


This one was just uninteresting, which was sad because the main character, Malena, could see ghosts, and that is one of my favourite plot points.


 

Moonglow by Sara Faring ⭐⭐1/2


This one was just weird, especially when for some reason it was prefaced that this was based on a true family story. This was very fairy tale-like as the main character grew literal seeds inside her stomach and gave birth to...something. Trigger warnings for abortion and body horror.


 

Killing El Chivo by Claribel A. Ortega ⭐⭐⭐


The title of this one is to the point as this is about killing El Chivo, or El Jefe in this case. This didn't quite work out as it is hard to write a short revenge story. There just isn't enough time to establish the reasons for the revenge with such a plot, and you don't get any satisfaction because of it as well.


 

Tame the Wicked Night by Zoraida Córdova ⭐⭐⭐⭐


This was my favourite one out of the collection, and it was a romance to boot. The main character, Aurelio, is kidnapped (in a sense) by what they call the wicked night, but her name is Solana. I liked the interactions between the two, partly because of how they went back and forth, and partly because unlike most of the other stories, we get to see them meet for the first time.


I even like how this did a reverse on us where, instead of the female protagonist running away from a prospective marriage, it was the male. I even thought that the goat was a good character, and I would have liked to read more about this one.

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