Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: THE HUACA by Marcia Mickelson

Today's the last day of Marcia Mickelson's blog tour for her new novel, THE HUACA, and I'm pleased to be a part of it. Ms. Mickelson and I share a love of writing and BYU football, which means we'd be fast friends:)

THE HUACA follows seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings, whose mother died six months earlier in a vicious home invasion gone horribly wrong. The police have zero leads, and Ellie's given up hope of ever finding out who killed her mother or why. Then Gabe de la Cruz, the mysterious loner from her history class, insists that he can help. He shows her a hand-carved box that allows him to travel to the afterlife, a place the Incas called Hanan Pacha, and communicate with the dead. At first, Ellie can only see her mother, but as her strength in Hanan Pacha grows, her mother is able to send her images of her final moments, and Ellie realizes the huaca may be the key to cracking the case.

What did I like about THE HUACA? The twist. It genuinely took me by surprise and raised the stakes tenfold. I also thought the bits of Incan culture sprinkled throughout the story were intriguing and well-applied. (In fact, I wish Ms. Mickelson had had more time to develop those!) What didn't I like about the book? The sometimes scattered storytelling. The novel couldn't always decide whether it wanted to be a contemporary, a love story, or a fantastical mystery, and there were a lot of scenes that didn't really contribute to the main plot. Also, it took me a while to like Gabe. When he first introduced Ellie to the huaca, she was (understandably) freaked out, and he used his physical superiority to force her to enter Hanan Pacha. Boys need to know that that's NEVER okay.

On the whole, I thought the book got better as it went and ended up in a surprising place. If you like contemporary stories with commercial hooks, you'll probably like THE HUACA!

In the interest of full disclosure, I did receive a free e-copy of THE HUACA in connection with this review, but as you can see, that didn’t stop me from giving you my honest opinion about the book.


Stephanie Garber said...

Ooh, I love the cover of this! And great job with the review, Krista! I appreciate your honesty. The Huaca sounds like an interesting story.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

This sounds really interesting. I'll have to check it out! Thanks for the review! :)

Marcia Mickelson said...

Thanks, Krista, for taking the time to write a review!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Yes, Stephanie, the cover is GORGEOUS. I really like the color palette.

You're welcome, Chantele! It's always good to hear from you.

My pleasure, Marcia. Thanks for reaching out!