To state it plainly, I’ll put this out there: Luchador is an absolute must read.
I have been a big fan of Finnegan’s since Sotto Voce, which I’ve re-read many times. Luchador too will go into my re-read several times in the future pile. Finnegan is a gifted storyteller, whose attention to detail finely crafts both plot and setting. She sets the scene for readers very carefully and beautifully – I always feel like I am seeing the setting of each scene with the characters. This is no small feat, because I’m not very good at visualizing things.
I think that without this skill, there would be no way to successfully pull of the description of the actual Lucha matches. Finnegan choreographs them so well, I felt like a spectator. There were some where I was on the metaphorical seat of my pants, cheering and, on one occasion, crying.
For readers concerned that the Lucha aspect of the book won’t appeal to them, I have to say: even if it doesn’t, this book is rich with so many, many things that make it special. One, the cast of characters. We are invited into Gabriel’s new world, into the intrigue, drama, love and heartbreak that bring a group of athletes who perform only for love of their sport, who depend on one another for safety and support. For readers who love found families in novels, this will not disappoint.
I loved Gabriel’s coming of age. It was a treat to get to watch him grow, to come into his own; it was refreshing to have a character go through these transitions but with conviction that bore him through sticking to what he wanted and how he wanted to do it all along.
The build up to the romantic plot was really well done as well – because we see the learning and growing and mistakes one must make before they can really know what they want and who they are – and those things are vital to healthy and good relationships.
This book is not your traditional romance; it’s a book to linger over and one to savor. It’s a book you slip into love with and want to stay with long after it’s over.