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Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
The Blood of the Cactus by Joey Rodriguez is a Western novel set in the dry, barren, magical desert. This is the story of two very dangerous bandits, Alejandro and Yanga, who are pursuing vengeance for wrongs done to Yanga’s family in the past. They wander around the desert and enter a surreal world where they exact revenge on sinners and a number of criminals. As they demand justice, the transgressions of the past are exposed and the plot becomes highly interesting. The story is divided into five chapters: Lucero, Marmaja, Celoso, Deseo, and Yanga. With gun fights, journeys on horseback, train rides to the mountains, other Western themes, and an intricately woven plot, readers will certainly not be disappointed with this novella.
The Blood of the Cactus by Joey Rodriguez is a uniquely engaging novella. It has most of the elements of a good Western novel and a lot more. The pace of the story is smooth and the author’s writing style is descriptive. What makes the story unique, however, is the use of magic realism as a literary device in a Western theme. Here, the author uses the harshness and isolation of the desert, with the action taking place in an arid, desolate landscape, and the effect is mystical. Some characters appear as hybrids between humans and animals. This also lends the story a magical theme unique to this kind of genre. With enigmatic characters like Alejandro and Yanga, The Blood of the Cactus is certainly an unforgettable read. Highly recommended!