Immortal Pleasures

Del Rey: Ballantine. Apr. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780593499726. $18. HORROR
Centuries ago, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés subjugated Mexico, using his enslaved mistress—Malinalli, better known as La Malinche—as an interpreter and intermediary. Hundreds of years later, ss a vampire, Malinalli now spends her life reclaiming Mexican treasures. She’s come to Ireland to pick up the last artifacts from her mortal life but, when she finds a human interested in her vampirism, realizes that she really wants a forever companion. At the same time, a shadow from her past finds her. Now she must resolve her devastating legacy with her desire to finally allow herself to love. Castro (The Haunting of Alejandra) remains masterful at blending the monstrous and the sacred in examining the darkest parts of women’s lives, and this rehabilitation of La Malinche is no exception. Malinalli’s journey is equal parts blood-soaked reminiscence and personal therapy session, as she flashes back to the colonial past in parallel to her present. Though there is an external threat, most of the growth is from within Malinalli, reflecting the cultural shift of La Malinche from an epithet to a source of strength. Sexuality is ever-present and used to both transform and terrorize.
VERDICT A lush examination of love, self-worth, and colonialism through the monstrous.
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