January 25, 2023

REVIEW Cece Rios and the King of Fears (Cece Rios Book 2) by Kaela Rivera

Cece Rios and the King of Fears (Cece Rios #2) 
by Kaela Rivera
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Harper Collins 

Cece Rios and the King of Fears by Kaela Rivera is the second book in the Cece Rios series, and it picks up not that long after Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls leaves off. Cece has just saved her older sister from the clutches of one of the legendary Dark Saints, and they are finally back home. Things seem like they should be fine, with their abusive father out of the picture and Cece’s criatura friends happily living with them, but El Cucuy and Devil’s Alley are not done with the Rios sisters yet. 

After the events of the first book, it was interesting to get both Juana's and Cece’s perspectives. Both sisters have goals at the forefront of their thoughts; Cece thinks she still needs to do more to put her broken family back together. Juana, on the other hand, seeks to avenge all the wrongs that have been done to her. Their missions take them in seemingly parallel directions, and the confrontation with El Cucuy draws ever closer. In the background, there’s also their mysterious tia Catrina, who's been exerting her influence behind the scenes for a while now, and whose motives are entirely unclear. 

The world of criaturas and brujas was already big in the first book, and the world-building is only expanded with this book. I enjoyed learning about all of the new criaturas. I also enjoyed getting to see more of the infamous Devil’s Alley. Admittedly, it was hard to figure out how to spell some of the criatura names from only hearing them in the audiobook version so I appreciate the inclusion of a glossary for reference purposes. 

Almarie Guerra and Karla Serrato did an excellent job bringing Cece and Juana’s perspectives to life. If you or a young reader in your life enjoy adventure stories influenced by cultural myths, the Cece Rios series would be a great choice for what to read next. I haven’t seen confirmation, but I’m hoping that this book gets a sequel (which is reported to be Cece Rios and the Queen of Brujas at the time of writing this review). I’m excited to see what happens next for Cece, Juana and their friends. 

About the Book
In this thrilling sequel to the “spellbinding” (ALA Booklist starred review) and “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly starred review) Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls, Cece and her sister, Juana, must journey into the stronghold of Devil’s Alley to discover the hidden origin of the dark criaturas.

Cece Rios thought saving her sister would be the end of her adventures in the world of criaturas. But part of Juana’s soul is still trapped in Devil’s Alley. As Cece tries to find a way to get it back using her new curandera abilities, Juana takes her fate in her own hands and sets off alone, intent on restoring her soul and getting revenge on El Sombrer√≥n.

But then they discover that El Cucuy, king of the criaturas, is hunting for Cece, craving her powers for his own dark purposes. Can the Rios sisters—along with Coyote, Little Lion, and their other criatura allies—uncover his secrets and reclaim Juana’s soul? Or will the sinister forces of Devil’s Alley overcome them all?

Connect with the Author Kaela Rivera

Kaela Rivera grew up believing in will-o’-the-wisps and el chupacabra, but even ghost stories couldn’t stop her from reading in the isolated treetops, caves, and creeks of Tennessee’s Appalachian forests.

She still believes in the folktales of her Mexican-American and British parents, but now she writes about them from the adventure-filled mountains of the Wild West. When she’s not crafting stories, she’s using her English degree from BYU-I as an editor for a marketing company (or secretly doodling her characters in the margins of her notebook). Her award-winning debut novel, Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls, came out April 13, 2021.

Her biggest hope is to highlight and explore the beauty of cultural differences—and how sharing those differences can bring us all closer.

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