Book Review: The Cenote

The CenoteThe Cenote by Chelsea Dyreng

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me start the review with a disclaimer. (Something I feel like I do a fair bit of, come to think of it.) This isn’t a typical Bryce Book. It’s a drama with some light fantasy elements. It’s a relationships book. In the immortal words of Fred Savage (in The Princess Bride), it’s “a kissing book.”

So it’s outside my normal reading zone by a fair margin. But Chelsea’s a personal friend, and she happens to be a spectacular blogger and writer, so I had some extra incentive to read a book I wouldn’t normally read, if that makes sense.

I’m glad I did.

This is a book with a lot to offer. It’s set in an ancient Mesoamerican culture, and that culture permeates the book throughout. The point of view alternates between a husband and wife, with each of them viewing the main events of the story through different lenses. Chelsea uses this to great effect, weaving in different layers of tension and advancing the plot in great ways.

What’s it about? Two newlyweds in an arranged marriage get to know each other over the course of a year, experiencing more than their share of ups and downs. Oh yeah: and there might be some ghosts. That’s about all you need to get going, and Chelsea takes it from there. If you like romantic books with supernatural undertones and solid writing, then this is a book for you.

That said, I’m notoriously bad at being able to appreciate books in this genre. I have no doubt there are members of my former writing group reading this review, flabbergasted that I actually read this. Honestly, it took me some time to get into the book, but I think a lot of that has more to do with my unfamiliarity with the genre than anything else. Once it got rolling, it really zipped along. I finished the last two thirds in about a day. It’s funny in parts, insightful in others, and extraordinarily sad in yet others. You’re getting the complete package, that’s for sure.

In other words, if this sounds like your cup of tea, then you should really go out and get a copy.

Even if it isn’t, you should check out Chelsea’s blog. I’ve been trying to rope her into doing a guest blog post over on my page, so maybe you’ll be seeing her sooner than later.

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