Author ~ Erin Finnegan
Publisher ~ Interlude Press
Published ~ 3rd November
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, New Adult
Each week, Gabriel Romero’s drive to Sunday mass takes him past “El Ángel,” the golden statue at the heart of Mexico City that haunts his memories and inspires his future. Spurred by the memory of his parents, Gabriel is drawn to the secretive world of lucha libre, where wrestling, performance art and big business collide.
Under the conflicting mentorships of one of lucha libre’s famed gay exótico wrestlers and an ambitious young luchador whose star is on the rise, Gabriel must choose between traditions which ground him but may limit his future, and the lure of sex and success that may compromise his independence. Surrounded by a makeshift family of wrestlers, Gabriel charts a course to balance ambition, sexuality and faith to find the future that may have been destined for him since childhood.
From the award-winning author of Sotto Voce, Luchador is a story about finding your identity from behind a mask.
I knew next to nothing about Luchadors before reading this book, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I was taught without being preached to. To be honest, I hadn’t expected the book to go into quite so much detail but it was certainly nothing to complain about.
Gabriel is an interesting character but I struggled just a little to get to grips with him. There was potential for a lot of depth because he had a complex story to tell with hurdles to climb and a lot of passion, but he often stood at a distance. It felt as though opportunities to get close to him were missed, or even entirely avoided – like his “coming out” as a luchador to his family.
Gabriel’s first love interest, Arcturo was one-dimensional. Again, I think opportunities were missed to get under his skin. As it is, he comes across as surly, selfish and completely up his own arse. This is a shame because I think he could have had a great deal more depth and that would have added to the drama.
Apart from my issues with the characters there wasn’t much else I didn’t like. The book is very well written and often takes the reader in unexpected directions. There are plenty of shocks and surprises as well as a liberal sprinkle of social comment and world building that works well for someone who is as much a stranger to that world as to an alien landscape.
Although Gabriel is eighteen at the start of the book it very much has a young adult feel without the immaturity of a lot of coming-of-age stories. I think it would go down well with both young adult and grown up audiences.
The book was very easy to read and although I had a slight hesitation about reading it after a quick flick through and seeing how much match description there was, once I dived in I couldn’t put it down. Considering I had no prior knowledge of luca libra at all I never once felt lost or overwhelmed by what was going on.
By far my favourite part of the book was the ending, and I don’t mean I was glad to see it end, far from it. I didn’t see the ending coming but it was perfect and I loved it.
All-in-all I think this book is very much worth a read and the four and a half stars are very well deserved. With a little work on rounding the characters it could easily be lifted to five.
Meet Erin Finnegan
Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and winemaker who lives in the foothills outside Los Angeles. A lifelong sports fan and occasional sports writer, she has had to dive out of the way of flying luchadores at matches in both the U.S. and Mexico. Her first novel, Sotto Voce, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a Foreword Reviews Indiefab Silver Book of the Year Award.