Select one of the keywords
Esperanza    by Trish J. MacGregor order for
by Trish J. MacGregor
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though it also works as a standalone read, Trish J. MacGregor's Esperanza is the first in a series in which two individuals from different times are drafted into a mystical war. It's between brujos (angry spirits who take possession of the living in order to enjoy sensation once more) and light chasers who help the dead move forward in their afterlife journeys. Light chasers defeated the brujos five centuries before, but now their numbers dwindle.

As the story opens, we see a leader of the brujos, Dominica, and her lover Ben possessing tourists in the city of Esperanza, Ecuador. They use them violently and leave the corpses bled out. We learn that their 'dream was to claim Esperanza and every place southward to Rio Palo by seizing every resident and tourist, man, woman, and child. A city of brujos, living out the mortal lives of their hosts.' It seems that Esperanza is a special place that 'exists both within and outside of time' and 'People who live north of Rio Palo don't age.'

Next we meet the hero and heroine of the piece, each making their way to Esperanza, but lacking memories of how they got to this point. FBI agent Tess Livingston still receives texts from her mother Lauren and eighteen-year-old niece Maddie but is unable to send replies. Her journey intersects with that of Minneapolis professor of journalism - and George Clooney lookalike - Ian Ritter. Ian is divorced and has a grown-up son, Luke.

When Dominica finds Tess and Ian, she recognizes them as transitionals, individuals whose bodies lie elsewhere in a coma, 'at the brink between life and death.' She is shocked to find that she's unable to possess either of them. Meanwhile Tess and Ian get to know each other and fall in love. There are odd happenings. Brujos pursue them, while others protect them, including Nomad, a shapeshifter in canine form who has a past history with Dominica.

Both Ian and Tess survive their injuries and are returned to their own bodies and times (forty years apart). They discover that they can now interact with the dying and help them find peace. As they desperately seek to return to Esperanza - and find each other again - the brujos (who have followed them, believing them important to the light chasers) make regular attempts to destroy them.

Of course they do reunite, but the brujos continue as a threat, and this episode ends on a cliffhanger for a key character. Though I found the storyline rather choppy, it's based on an intriguing premise with good potential. This romantic urban fantasy series is sure to garner many fans.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews