Book Review | The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina (ARC)

I didn’t intend to read two books with “Inheritance” in the title this month, but here we are.

I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.

In The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, we follow the Montoya family, who are used to strange and magical things happening, especially around their family home in the tiny town of Four Rivers. They don’t question it, until their grandmother Orquídea invites them home for her funeral, and they find her half-transformed into a tree. Once she departs, leaving more questions than ever, the Montoyas are left to pick up the pieces and adjust to the new marks of magic upon them. Seven years pass, and several Montoya cousins realize that their family members are being killed one by one. They soon realize that someone or something from Orquídea’s past is coming after them, and so they set off for her birthplace in Ecuador for answers before it’s too late for the rest of the family.

I did a buddy read of this book with a friend, and we both agreed—it was pretty good, but also kind of confusing.

I liked most of the characters, especially Marimar and Rey. They had a sweet sibling-like bond, and I enjoyed their banter with each other. I also liked Rhiannon and Tatinelly, though I felt like I got to know them less than the other two. As for Orquídea, she was quite intriguing, and the flashback scenes of her youth were some of my favorite parts. My favorite minor character, though, is probably Quilca, even though he was only in about two scenes and was very weird. But I wanted to see more of him anyway.

Speaking of wanting to see more of things, I feel like that was the main reason this book left me a bit confused. It felt like there were a lot of interesting events, but I didn’t understand why they were happening. Maybe that’s how the genre of magical realism works (I haven’t read much of that) but I still wanted to have reasons for certain things other than, vaguely, magic.

Related to that, while I liked the scenes featuring Orquídea’s younger years, including her childhood and her first marriage, I also still have questions about some of that. Mainly some of the machinations of Bolivar, her first husband. Further, it surprised me that we didn’t get to hear more about Orquídea’s life in between that marriage and when we met her at the beginning of the book. I feel like there could have been more information given about her life, even if it wasn’t related to the main plot.

I feel like I’m saying more negative things than positive ones, but I genuinely did like this book. It was entertaining, the settings and descriptions were well-written, the characters were great, and the action was both mysterious and exciting. I just feel like this book would have benefited from being longer, going more into depth about some of the magic. It feels almost as if another book, maybe a prequel, would help, or simply taking more time to explore everything. It was still a fine story, but I just wanted more from it.

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