Las Hermanas is an action-packed war story, fast-paced and engrossing. I think a lot of people who have been wounded or oppressed could enjoy this book and the vicarious revenge sought. Anyone not wishing to witness the bloody deaths of war, or idealistically opposed to revenge, might wish to avoid this book about very human people fighting against their own genocide.
Las Hermanas is about a remnant of survivors in a Latin American country where a few wealthy elite want everything for themselves and conduct massive massacres of campesinos or the working peoples' villages with a view to ridding the area of resistance or counter land claims from the resident communities. We are basically talking about genocide, and we the readers live in a world where we see this dynamic happening all around us in a variety of forms, so what is happening in the story is certainly credible.
In an early attack, our protagonist Adi witnesses the death of her sister. When she recognizes her sister's killers later on in a different place, she takes her revenge and kills them, setting into motion an ugly war. And a scar-faced man, el diablo or the devil, who oversees the genocide is looking for Adi in particular. They have several encounters. Eventually they are at war and her single goal is to kill this person. Meanwhile, through the story he manages to kill a number of people particularly dear to her. Her hatred grows.
This is a story about a woman who wants revenge. Her fury and violence over and again incite the man's vicious response, repeatedly leaving vulnerable and innocent people dead. More and more she sees that he has to be stopped and takes well-planned steps to try to make that happen.
The reader has to accept the emotions of the protagonist and her friends. Can even a just war be fought without hatred? And from a symbolic point of view, we can feel satisfaction whenever Adi and friends move closer to their goal.
Nevertheless, while totally understandable, revenge and hatred as the compelling motive rather than a broader concern for justice in a social as well as personal sense, has left me wondering how the war would escalate after the conclusion of the story. Soldiers, not just mercenaries, would pour in and destroy anyone left whether part of the fighting or not. Other ranchers, and now the governments, aided by countries with economic interests there, would wipe out what is left, war would rage, and, if anyone survived, a devastated and damaged people would be left.
Adi proves to be a heroic character who leads her people well. The only difference in such stories of the past is that this hero is a woman, as are a lot of the fighters. Women fighters are a reality in this day, historically played a strong role in Latin American rebellions, and they are making inroads into war and detective literature as heroes and not the stereotypical females of the past. Melin does an excellent job of creating this reality and seeing it through.
For those looking for modern images of female heroes, this book may be exactly what you are looking for. I recommend it.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this first novel from Melin. Her experiences and research shine through the novel as she sweeps the reader into a world where the marginalized struggle in a never-ending fight for survival. A great story about loyalty, friendship and tenacity. Fast-paced and suspenseful, a great read for anyone who enjoys action. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a new read.
What started as a bedtime read soon became my daytime book as I found myself swept away with the action-packed storyline. From the very first words "Las Hermanas" hooked me with its energized tale of a young girl thrown into a very grown-up world as she fights for her family, friends, and freedom. I thoroughly enjoyed this read; a great first book from a new author!