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Publisher's Summary

When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back, in this own voices middle-grade fantasy perfect for fans of The Storm Runner and Aru Shah and the End of Time

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas - humans who capture and control criaturas - consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime. 

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself - while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family - and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

©2021 Kaela Rivera (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Gripping Intense and Soulful

An amazing story to listen to with my 9 yo daughters. Magical, suspenseful and intriguing, we couldn’t wait to listen to each chapter’s twists and turns as the story (and expert narrator) spun a unique tale of loyalty and love where the protagonist and her unlikely new extended familia chooses to set aside prejudices, biases and stereotypes all for the sake of hope for a better world.

13 people found this helpful

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We all loved it

I listened to this with my kids (10,8 &6)
We all really enjoyed it. If your kids get scared easily it might be a little scary.

12 people found this helpful

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I need more of these characters!

I truly enjoyed this book. It's beautiful, magical, heartwarming, and at times rather dark. But in the end, it was bright and delightful, with characters I want to spend much more time with. I'll be listening to this book again for sure, I'm delighted to hear there will be a sequel.
Not only was the story riveting but the narrator was fabulous. 5 stars from me all around.

10 people found this helpful

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incredible story

this was a wonderful story. it combines all the good in a book. conflict between good and evil, friend and foe and light and darkness. this book made me feel strong and want to be a better person.

8 people found this helpful

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A gorgeous performance and gripping tale

Almarie Guerra absolutely outdoes herself narrating this book, bringing to life rich, emotional characters and tense, gripping stakes and pacing!

7 people found this helpful

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fun for the whole family!

I listened to this in the car with my kids (7&12) we all loved it!

6 people found this helpful

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Entertaining

I got this story for my daughter and found I really enjoyed listening to it with her. It's entertaining and the narration adds to the story telling.

5 people found this helpful

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  • MK
  • 10-25-21

Great story… but… the abuse isn’t ok

Here’s the thing… I loved the story. Loved the creativity. Loved the mythology. Did NOT live that CeCe’s mother somehow made the fact that CeCe’s father hit CeCe in the face leaving a large purple bruise ‘okay’. As strong as Cece is, she ends this novel happily heading home to her drunk, cruel, abusive father, and weak, timid, accepting mother. After fighting the dark criatura, and finding her inner strength, it’s all ‘well, hey it’s ok that dad hit me… he was drunk…’ was disappointing at best and irresponsible of the author at worst.

4 people found this helpful

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Overall I don't regret listening

My biggest problems by far were that the target audience was middle schoolers and that the narrator could sound petulant. Both of these combined just gave a weird vibe. Some scenes just kind of came off as a child being salty instead of some big personal moment.

Other than that I disliked the magic system(if you could even really call it that). Basically you collect jewelry to convince animal people to follow you. It sounds neat at first but then its just the main character chilling with some necklaces while the animal people do all the work. She doesn't really do much except fight the bad guy at the end. Most of the time she just travels from place to place and then channels an emotion into the necklace, its very unsatisfying. There is only 4 or 5 times in the books where she actually does something herself.


Last thing is that the animal people can undoubtedly smack a person into nonexistence faster than they could blink, but elect not to even when they are about to get enslaved. They are tempered by the target audience and the plot armor of the MC. Its worth mentioning that 2 of those aforementioned times the mc does something its her partially enslaving someone that should have immediately killed her.

all in all I think it was a good book. I'm not the right audience and prefer more active protagonists with chracters that have a more consistant ability.

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cece Rios

I really liked this story. The performance was well done. Recommend it to those interested in the Latin culture.