Title: The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina
Author: Zoraida Cordova
Genre: Adult Fantasy, Magical Realism
Page Count: 321
Published by: Atria Books
Date Published: September 7, 2021
You can find it here: Amazon, Bookshop.org
The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.
Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked backed.
(3.75 Stars) Magical realism can be, in itself, a polarizing genre and I can see this story greatly dividing readers. Oftentimes, magical realism can feel unapproachable, hard to digest and hard to follow or the fantastical elements do not mesh with the reality, leading to an unbalanced story. But here, Zoraida Cordova does an excellent job balancing the supernatural and odd within a believable, tender story of family, legacy, grief, inheritance and self discovery.
The right reader for The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina is one who enjoys the strange and unexplainable – corpses rising from the dead to smoke a cigarette, flowers growing from appendages, grasshoppers exploding from pustular growths – nestled in a story that quietly takes its time, slowly plotted, purple prose, and open endings that doesn’t necessarily wrap things up. These literary elements can be challenging and frustrating to the reader and I can’t say I myself fully loved them all. Sometimes I wished, instead of drawn out prose at climatic times, the writing could have been clearer and I know I would have preferred an ending that delivered a bit more explanation, a bit more closure. But overall The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina was wholly unique, always expanding the borders of fantasy, and for that reason it kept my attention. This story is a must for fans of Anna-Marie McLemore and Silvia Moreno-Garcia a la Gods of Jade and Shadow.
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