Title: Aztec Gold
Author: Caridad Piñeiro
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 01/03/2011
Sometimes you get those stories that really work well in novella format, despite the large amount of detail & plot that's held within it. This book is one of those tales.
Six months ago, Cynthia Guerrera's lover and fellow archaeologist Rafael Santiago trekked into the Mexican jungle in search of one of the fabled Cities of Gold—and never emerged. Guilty over their parting, Cynthia won't rest until she knows what happened. When the discovery of a conquistador's journal corroborates Rafe's intended path, Cynthia is determined to finally leave the safety of the museum to rescue him, despite the conquistador's dire warnings, and her own traumatic past.
Arriving at a remote village deep in the jungle, Cynthia is both elated and angered to find Rafe alive. But he is far from well, having watched his team be decimated by a bloodthirsty demon-goddess. When Rafe reveals he has been gifted with supernatural powers—powers he plans to use to kill the beast and save his brother, still held captive in the temple—Cynthia must face her own inner demons to fight alongside the man she loves.One of the best things about this story was the detail that Piñeiro put into it. She really put in her fair share of research when it came to both the location as well as the mythology in this tale. It's lovingly poured over & the history of the demon-goddess is incredibly well done. Also something to crow about are the love scenes between Cynthia & Rafe. With the story being so short & the two of them being apart for a good chunk of the first half, it's very important to try to show their chemistry, which I believe that the author did.
Some readers, however, might feel that the story is a bit slow to start off. My advice is to keep going- the story really begins to shine once Cynthia leaves to find Rafe. I will admit that I wish there had been a little more detail as far as Rafe's powers go (maybe a bit more about him gaining them), but the length of this story really does work well. Any more & it would lose the edge that it has.
The book has a definite conclusion, but there's enough here for a sequel & I'll admit, I'm curious about it. (Especially since it could include Machu Picchu in some way, a place that has more than its own fair share of mystery surrounding it.)
(ARC provided by Netgalley)