• Booktastically Amazing

Quetzalli's Last Song

by Desiree Calderon de Fawaz

Spoiler- Free Synopsis:

When President Orains gets re-elected for a third term in 2025, the nation plunges into a second Civil War. Doomed for the Brazos camp, Brum Hesles, her two siblings and mother flee their home in the Houston archipelago overnight, leaving her father behind. Assisted by the Unity Forces, a resistance group fighting the new Great Republic’s regime, Brum reaches the safety of her mother’s ancestral home in the Oaxacan town of El Nidal. There, in the relative safety of her mysterious great-aunt’s house, she discovers a library brimming with strange manuscripts, artifacts, and the “musical” key to a world she thinks is safer than her own.

Who is the heiress of Mitla? And what in Beydo’s name is the Flow? The fate of the Realms and the entire world might unexpectedly rest on the shoulders of an olive-skinned, teenage girl: Brum Hesles, the Keeper of Resonance.

"The cover is fire tho"


~Personal thank you to the author for giving me the opportunity to read it in exchange for an honest review! Seriously, thank you. And please don't think I want to be mean because I really really don't.~

This book had so much potential. And yet, here we are.

Once again, disappointed.

Rating:🐦🐦2.0 birdie birdie goes brum to broth.

There are three things I'm trying to get better at:

- Taking a deep breath when MCs kill me with their whininess.

- Achieve the perfect mix between honest and vicious whilst reviewing. (pfft, I'm not even close)

- And most importantly, have fewer expectations and more money to spend on books.

And why am I saying this? Well, because I'm going to try to accomplish them all right now (minus the more money for books. That, I'm afraid, went down the Wonderland tunnel of Shopping for things I don't need but look so pretty on those TikTok Amazon compilations, darn it.).

One of the first things that struck me about this book, was the cover and the fact that I understood maybe half of the synopsis because fantasy is really not my best topic to read about and when I do eventually find a book that I'm even halfway interested, I need to grab the opportunity by the horns before I take the cowardly exit and end up binging a book that was better left in the shadows of the DNF pile. So upon receiving the wonderful opportunity to read this novel(I never get tired of the feeling, even when it's sparse *COUGH* Netgalley, I see you, I get so happy you have no idea, I was like, 'wait, am I having an epiphany right now? A Latino cast and diverse members in a fantasy??? No yeah, GET OUTTA MY WAY PEEPS, BOOKSY IS READING THIS'. And although there were parts I enjoyed at the end of it all... there was a great majority I didn't.... connect with.

Starting with the plot, I finished it a couple of days ago, and I still don't have the full idea of what in the world happened and um, maybe I didn't understand it. At all, really. For a debut full-fledged novel it had quite the complex storyline, however, perhaps too complex for a... debut novel. Let me clarify as much as my bleached neurons are able: I felt like everything that was supposed to happen during the course of perhaps a trilogy, strived to squeeze itself into a four hundred paged books and it kind of felt too rushed for me to comprehend and frankly, I didn't see many of the additions acting accordingly to the feel of the book. Too many things occurring at the same time, too many fillers jumping out, unfortunately leaving me unsatisfied with the outcome and giving my frustrated grunts an alibi to murder me. Because yes, my whole personality can be broken into multiple sections, and each of those sections mildly despise me. As for the pace of the story, it was nice... yeah. I craved to know the end because I really, really, needed to know why some things were introduced even when they carried no weight whatsoever to the story itself. No sleep needed, but also, no mental peace achieved?

I'm too cheap to afford a spa day, I need to maintain my calm as much as possible, please. (*violent flashback to all those stressful books I actively search for*)

Annnnnnnnd, the antagonist? Yep, I still don't even know what it physically looks like. Or what it is. Or what it does. My brain was in pain.

Was the plot intriguing? Absolutely.

Was the storyline predictable? Sometimes.

Did I mostly enjoy it? *sigh* I wish I could say I completely did.

Passing the curtain and letting the bunny out of the top hat, we have the writing. (I was feeling creative, pfft) I just- there were so many things, so so many, that could've worked better. I can't say much because I'm afraid this will be more of a rant and well, I'll save the rant particles to be induced in another 'therapy moment' in the future. But what I will say, includes the following:

- I liked it.

- But then I didn't.

- Then it confused me.

- Then I liked it again.

- And now I'm confused about what it was trying to do.

I enjoyed certain details that jumped out of the page and smacked me in the ever loving description addled mind, however, too many descriptions ruined the effect of the good stuff. It was like having a delicious milkshake and breaking some teeth on a screwdriver that someone mistakenly added to the drink. I tried so hard to focus on the things that were being said, but more times than not, I found myself skipping half of it because I just couldn't deal with the fact that there was a whole chapter dedicated to describing a castle. Trying to picture a fantasy setting is difficult, and I fully appreciate the author trying to do so, but just too much, too many times. What really worked in its favor were the beautiful phrases that some characters said and which really made me feel so much better after that previous chapter. (seriously, a whole chapter. I forgot what was happening before that)

I really do think that the writing was good until midpoint, and I really do think comparing arms to ham and fingers to hot dogs, really is a bit insensible and took me out of the book from the moment it was uttered.

Then we have the characters..

*tiredly rubs wrinkled face*

Oh, the dear characters. I need a drink for this one. *violently chugs chocolate milk*

Okay, the MC. I actually related to her a lot. Sibling rivalry, sarcastic moments, dumb moments, foot in mouth moments, stupid moments, and then we have the other moments. The lack-of-character-development- moments. The moments that required an intense level of maturity not to bash in and scream my way out of the abyss of her utterly moronic thought process. No yeah, insult the person who's trying to help you, no of course, annoy everyone with your whinny self. Please do go on your tirade of tempting me to slam the book in your face. Brum was strong yet selfish, brave yet diminishing of others, sassy yet infuriating. You get why I would have a slight problem with her? (slight, as in, would throw her off a cliff with a broken parachute and throw bait beforehand, so sharks can devour her more easily). I loved how kind she was sometimes with her siblings, however, if only she would've grown more as a person throughout the book, I would've been in her side from day 1.

Unfortunately, it wasn't so. Now, does anyone have a broken parachute they can lend me? I want to test out the theory of humans flying under extreme situations.

The rest of the characters were...good, some were useless, whilst others were there for fillers. But fillers that actually made sense and fillers that actually had something to contribute to their journey to stop The Flow from attacking the realms and, well, destroying the world. Because humans are like that.

I was entranced with the level of diversity, especially in Mexican legends and heritage, and would've craved to understand more of that instead of having to listen to Brum complaining of having a dang rock in her shoe. Good enough characters, not connected with each other enough for me to be able to connect to them. Sadly as it may be, but their adventures did keep me entertained and for that, I'm ever so grateful.

On a closing note, again, I personally thank the author for the opportunity and this review was in no way to offend her, but she asked for my opinions which I tried to freely give. This story felt more middle grade than YA and more high fantasy than the fantasy I'm used to, so perhaps that's one of the reasons I didn't quite enjoy it. The plot had a lot of going for it, a lot gone wrong as well. Flawed but strong in its firmament. The writing left a lot to be desired, though it did have gems scattered throughout. Characters... no, yeah, I'll skip them before I erupt in an inferno filled with future bad decisions. Isn't that just wonderful? I thought so, too.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Brum almost getting killed for the majority of the book.

  • The cute creatures that littered the forest. Yes, I mean you, little rat.

  • The writing had a lot of quotable moments, that's- that's actually really nice.

There really is room for improvement because the premise of the book is wonderful, and I'm 100% in for it!