Book Review: Calixta
Reviewed by Manik Chaturmutha
An enchanting tale of magic and demons
Calixta by Omaya Vélez is a dark fantasy about love and loss, about good and evil.
The novel follows a woman who was sold into slavery by her father at the age of eight. It focuses mainly on Calixtas’s adult life, where we see her as the Madame of the most successful brothel in town.
Calixta’s masters educated her profoundly so that she could be an exquisite exotic, the best of her kind in her profession, and bring money to the brothel. But this is all before she saves her pregnant best friend and dies for the first time.
When Calixta dies, her soul goes to a station in heaven known as the “Box Exchange Train Station.”She’s made a Vanquisher and then returns to the land of the living.
After returning, Calixta is forced to start a new life and leave her brothel behind as many demons begin attacking her for the gift she brought back from Heaven. Thus, Calixta and three of her best friends must escape from the brothel, searching for a place where the demons can’t find her. In their search for a safe place, they meet another Vanquisher, Lord Dreyden, who reluctantly agrees to help them.
In this story, we see how Calixta goes from an exotic who only cares about her friends, business, and money to a Vanquisher, a fighter, and a mage. We see her incredible journey of learning to hope and to love.
What a fantastic journey Calixta goes on. The intriguing opening line—“I will never forget the first time I died”—has exactly the kind of hooking power that I want out of my first sentences. The worldbuilding of this fantasy also really pulls you in. Calixta is an inspiring tale for every woman forced into a bad situation—a story about self-acceptance and finding faith.
The role magic plays in this novel makes Calixta all the more enjoyable. The training sessions between Dreyden and Calixta, where he teaches her how to use magic, are pure enchantment.
The book also teaches us to be better people. The story shows us that even in a place surrounded by evil and sins, there can still be kindness, like Calixta taking the bullet intended for one of her friends.
The only drawback to my reading experience is that characters and narrators can be a bit difficult to distinguish early on in chapters. A little more information could have been helpful for this multi-POV novel.
If you are interested in fantasy novels with a sprinkle of romance, adventure, and action, then you’re going to enjoy this one. It’s also good for those who love strong female characters and hate-to-love tropes.
Genre: Fantasy / Epic / Dark
Print Length: 372 pages
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