After the chupacabra leaves the town decimated, Suzanne eagerly takes advantage of the chance to start a wholesome new life. She finds families to take in children orphaned by the event but one willful girl refuses to leave her side. Through their travels, Suzanne soon realizes her past is difficult to leave behind and that the creature is still stalking them. This is the second book in the Chupacabra series.
Curse of the Chupacabra is a western story with great world building and character development that ends with a thrilling conclusion. This was a definitely a different reading experience than the previous book. There are less characters so the omniscient narration was easier to adapt to. World building and character development were given more emphasis allowing the story to feel more western. It elaborated on the complexity of killing the chupacabra as well as how it chose it victims.
The story has less action in the first half of the story and the threat of the chupacabra is pushed into the background. It causes Suzanne more psychological distress rather than direct confrontation. In the first book, I was more empathetic to the plight of Drake and the chupacabra as a result I never felt that the main characters were actually in danger from the chupacabra in the first half of this story.
Even with the threat of the chupacabra lessened I still found it to be an engaging and well written western story. Suzanne previously worked as a prostitute and ran scams for the harsh madam in a town devastated by the chupacabra. She embraces her second chance at life with blind faith and naivete that leads to situations were her newly formed morals and perceptions are continually tested. These situations created dynamic character conflict that overshadowed the threat of the chupacabra in my mind.
I liked that her young charge was rebellious and in direct confrontation with her goals to leave her past behind. Their chaperon relationship had a lot of conflict but I liked that they began to care and trust each other more as the story progressed. I initially didn't care much for the main characters but they slowly grew on me to the point of where I became emotionally invested in their welfare.
New characters were introduced and I enjoyed reading the parts with the traveling theater troupe the most. Raul/Yuma was developed a bit more as a character making me feel more at ease with his presence as something more than just a token character. The journey component of the story added a sense of adventure and gave it an episodic quality. The world building was developed and showcased more. It gave a better sense of the era, culture, language, weaponry and the different locations were wonderfully described.
Around the 70% mark of the story, a defining moment altered my perception of the chupacabra. I finally realized that none of the characters were safe from the chupacabra. The rest of the story was fast paced, action packed, and established itself as a horror story firmly in my mind. The story ends with compelling cliffhanger that promises the curse of the chupacabra is not completely at an end.