About three weeks ago, I read the book Esperanza by Trish J. MacGregor. Writing this review has been difficult due to spoiler avoidance!
Tess Livingston, an FBI agent, exits a bus at a bodega high in the Andes mountains of Ecuador. Tess has a huge problem because she does not remember getting on the bus! At the Bodega, she meets a handsome journalist named Ian Ritter. He is on route to the Galapagos Islands, and he does not remember getting on Bus Number 13, either.
While at the bodega, Tess witnesses the scary death of a man who had been possessed by a brujo, an angry spirit who uses humans to feel and experience the physical world. I think it is genius the way MacGregor depicts the movements and lifestyles of the brujos. Their world is like nothing I have ever read. Coincidentally, Bus Number 13 is headed for Esperanza, Ecuador, where one of the largest brujo tribes in the world preys on tourists (because the locals know how to protect themselves from the hungry brujos).
There is plenty of action, suspense, and even time travel in this novel. Ian and Tess seem to fall in love a bit too quickly given their unusual circumstances. And as much as I want to root for Ian and Tess, their characters are not as developed as I would have liked, and I found I did not care what happened to them as much as I should have. As a matter of fact, I am actually more sympathetic to the brujo tribal leader, Dominica. I really liked her character in spite of her selfish and violent nature.
Esperanza is the first book in a planned series of "The Hungry Ghosts." I will definitely read the next book, and (hopefully) Tess and Ian will be more developed. I recommend Esperanza due to its uniqueness.
Until next time...