Reclaim the Stars | Edited by Zoraida Córdova


Reclaim the Stars | Edited by Zoraida Córdova

Out Now from Wednesday Books; 432 Pages

Content Warnings: Mentions of family and generational trauma, deadnaming and misgendering, allusions to sexual content, mild racism, homophobia, and transphobia

About the Editor: “Zoraida Córdova is the acclaimed author of more than two dozen novels and short stories, including the Brooklyn Brujas series, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina. In addition to writing novels, she serves on the board of We Need Diverse Books, and is the co-editor of the bestselling anthology Vampires Never Get Old, as well as the cohost of the writing podcast, Deadline City. She writes romance novels as Zoey Castile. Zoraida was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and calls New York City home. When she’s not working, she’s roaming the world in search of magical stories. For more information, visit her at” (Bio taken from Editor’s website)

Find Zoraida Córdova on the following platforms:

“Even with telescopios, no one could have seen through the swirling atmosphere that I was still breathing. They could not have seen the shape of Ignacia’s lips, how many times she said my name.”

The first piece within Reclaim the Stars, “Reign of Diamonds,” is a beautiful introduction to the Latin American-inspired sci-fi and fantasy stories that await. With a wonderful mix of detailed storytelling and realistic characters, I was rooting for a happy ending from the first page. Anna-Marie McLemore weaves together a literal star-crossed love story as the heroine must fight to the death to maintain her family’s control over the La Ruta interstellar trade route. However, it will not come easily as her rival is another woman who has become more familiar than an enemy kept close. 

“Reign of Diamonds” was possibly my favorite story in the collection, partially because of the undeniable queer representation. Mainly, though, it’s because of the way that McLemore seamlessly integrates the futuristic and cosmic storytelling with the very realistic, central romance between two brokenhearted but ultimately warring women. Spanish is also intermixed with great care, so that English-only readers, like myself, are able to understand. This ultimately grounded the relationships and worldbuilding beyond the science fiction elements. I found myself constantly returning to this sapphic, galactic Romeo and Juliet with a much happier ending.

“Panic urged me away, the usual reaction to the cursed foam that was slowly pouring from her eyes and ears, surrounding both of us in a bubble of rotten clouds.”

If the women in your family are cursed to rot from the inside out with every lie, and the men are destined to never love, how can you live any semblance of a normal life as a nonbinary person? Gabriel carries with them the generational, maldición eterna, which began when a female ancestor was forced by her family to lie and deny her love for a goddess. This fantasy story is based in the real world, allowing Gabriel’s mother and father to have freedom of choice and love far away from their family’s whispering ocean shore and the cloying stench of relatives pretending to accept you. 

This piece entitled “White Water, Blue Ocean” by Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez primarily explores traditional familial expectations, and how for many young queer people, your very identity can break apart those relationships. Gabriel’s relationship with their father is a particularly bright spot in this story. Gabriel’s mother’s family holds the curse, and Gabriel’s father can sympathize with not fitting in with the dysfunctional family. The lore within Pérez’s story is very well integrated between the trauma, but I will warn any potential readers that Gabriel is deadnamed and intentionally misgendered by their family multiple times. It is overall a realistic (and magical) examination of the repercussions of ancestral lying and broken family dynamics.

“This is the story about the boy who would unleash an ancient power for the sweet sin of a banished god’s love.”

The final story of the anthology, “Tame the Wicked Night,” by collection editor Zoraida Córdova is an interesting fusion of historical fiction, Latin American mythology, and transformative romance. Aurelio Saturnelio becomes the head of his family’s house when his older brother goes to war. With his immense abilities to influence the growth of plants, he finds more solace in nature and with the animals around him than with any other human. When Aurelio must enter the deadly Midnight Mountains to slay a beast called the wicked night as penance for rejecting a marriage proposal, he is met with a fascinating monster-woman, who is perhaps the true love that Aurelio has been searching for.

I chose to include this concluding piece from the anthology because it encapsulates the magic, romance, and self-identity that each story within Reclaim the Stars searches for. Aurelio and the monster goddess, Solana, quickly fall in love because they are able to relate to each other as outcasts. I really enjoyed the unique dynamic of a man willing to leave his entire world behind for the one woman who makes him happy. The writing is superb with quick and funny dialogue and very detailed depictions of the fictional country. Zoraida Córdova’s final story echoes back to her introduction about the impossible magic that readers once believed in through beautiful Latin-American stories of love, violence, magic, and healing.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Writer and Editor, Kayla Chandler