Review: THE ROUTE OF ICE AND SALT by José Luis Zárate (2021)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2021 (1998 in Spanish)
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content/Trigger warnings: discussion of a hate crime, voyeurism, nightmares, PTSD

Continuing the series of vampire books we, as a culture, were not privy to until very recently (first of which is The Gilda Stories), this novella is a retelling of Dracula’s journey to England from the point of view of the ship’s captain. It originally came out in 1998, but debuted in English last year.

This novella is horny and gothic with all the pricks and discomfort of long months of an icy sea.

The layers of eroticism and claustrophobia are off the charts here. Given the time period, the captain is painfully aware of how he can’t act on desires. It’s uncomfortable for the reader to be so deep in that mindset, but I think that’s part of this book’s charm. There’s no escape, mostly because we’re stuck on the open sea and there’s something in the cargo hold.

Once the external terror of an already small crew disappearing hits, it’s downright terrifying. When the captain is confronted with his past, desires, and responsibilities by literal vampire Dracula in a nightmare sequence, horror mode is activated. All the discomfort and intimacy of the previous chapters hit like a tidal wave. It’s frighteningly effective.

An excellent read for people who enjoy incredibly queer stories that happen in and around the legend himself.

One thought on “Review: THE ROUTE OF ICE AND SALT by José Luis Zárate (2021)

  1. Pingback: August 2022 Reading Recap | Jo Writes Fantasy

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