Book Review

The Route of Ice and Salt Review

Book Cover



A reimagining of Dracula’s voyage to England, filled with Gothic imagery and queer desire.

It’s an ordinary assignment, nothing more. The cargo? Fifty boxes filled with Transylvanian soil. The route? From Varna to Whitby. The Demeter has made many trips like this. The captain has handled dozens of crews. 

He dreams familiar dreams: to taste the salt on the skin of his men, to run his hands across their chests. He longs for the warmth of a lover he cannot have, fantasizes about flesh and frenzied embraces. All this he’s done before, it’s routine, a constant, like the tides. 

Yet there’s something different, something wrong. There are odd nightmares, unsettling omens and fear. For there is something in the air, something in the night, someone stalking the ship. 

The cult vampire novella by Mexican author José Luis Zárate is available for the first time in English. Translated by David Bowles and with an accompanying essay by noted horror author Poppy Z. Brite, it reveals an unknown corner of Latin American literature.

My Review

What’s December without a Vampire book review?

Probably just December, but, I need to keep adding to my Vampire reviews so here we are.

This is such a dark and twisty novella that I feel this fit in exactly with the line of Stoker’s Dracula, and in fact our author Zárate gives us a Dracula tale, the missing piece in Stoker’s novel, where our Vampire travels across the seas to his London abode.

In this novella Dracula is not a forefront character, much like in the famous tale, but he lingers in the background, ever present and you’re constantly aware of that.

Dracula is never named, but we know it’s him and we know that he’s spreading the corruption of the ship, the crew’s moods and their sudden turnings.

The focus is mostly on the Captain, he’s corrupted in such a different and more visceral way than the others and it’s beyond intriguing and engrossing. A bit like a wreck you can’t look away from in some ways. The captain is being twisted by having his own desires used against him by the creeping darkness that is in the hold.

The most important and amazing thing about this work is that it is a staple of classic Vampire literature that has been unknown to many of us in English speaking countries and/or solely English Speakers. But now we’re getting a chance to enjoy this fantastically dark work.

Powerful messages about corruption, desires and how others look upon those desires that cause us to make certain choices, and giving into said desires.

I received an eARC of this when I backed it on Indiegogo and it hits shelves in January! 4/5 Cups of hot chocolate from me.

By TheCaffeinatedReader

A Caffeinated Reader and Musician, destined to write lacklustre book reviews with the over-ample amount of free time.

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