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Hijo de Xavier Paperback – October 3, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From the Author
This story is largely based on my experiences growing up and flirting with the life of a latino gangster in the Bay Area.
What Happens In Los Volcanes, or Hijo De Xavier opens by inviting the reader to fall in love with the mysterious demagoguery of Xavier as a citizen of the future Mexico City.
When a dealer supplies a drug, the first hit, or say the intro to the book, is a transfixing glimpse into a new world. The second hit is never the same as the first. The journey of addiction thereafter is convoluted but it goes in a defined direction, that of the main character's life.
From the Back Cover
In 2115 The UN takes notice of the inability of its member states to properly govern their people. Riots, protests, and political assassinations have led up to a catastrophic event in the 53rd state, the San Francisco Bay Area, which forced the UN to step in.
Now the war is over and countries loyal to their UN membership have recovered and are on the rise. This series tours the globe, giving readers insight into the bizarre goings-on now that 70% of the planet lives under one government.
Plant hybrids, masked gangsters, time travel, super science. All stories in this series connect and shed light on each other.
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Top customer reviews
The story takes place in Los Volcanoes, Mexico City, a city of ‘extraordinary anomalies’. Fighting till death is one of the most popular commodities and forms of entertainment in this town, controlled by Xavier El Burro, owner and leader of one of the biggest enterprises in the city, Lucha Libre, a dangerous and gruesome fighting sport. Willing citizens, men, engage in blood-thirsty ‘fights of death’ and dedicate themselves to the hardcore training for the luchador position. In honor of their brave spirit, winners and participants receive all the lavish rewards a man can ask for; gifts, women, and respect…that is, if they win.
Manolo, the main character and a gifted artist and architect is instilled with several admirable characteristics and has deep ambition to succeed in life, but finds himself confined to a town that is more like a luxurious prison, for the strict overbearing rules and regulations set by powerhead, Xavier, shadows the city of Los Volcanoes with utter fear. Unfortunately, Xavier, a corrupt ‘by-any-means’ necessary successful businessman (fraud, cheat, and murderer) with a strong military background, is seemingly the only opportunity any man or woman has for survival in the controlled society, and most of the inhabitants occupying the town know very well not to cross Xavier, let alone tamper with any of his immoral and unethical operations.
Regardless of the threat he and his practices pose to society, men and women are both madly in love with his unrestricted resources, extended riches, and immeasurable wealth, allowing him to effectively maneuver, persuade, and influence others whom he sees as inferior to himself. Therefore, it’s no surprise when Manolo and his ‘brothers’ Coco, Machete, and Santos are lured into the man’s death-defying playground, and like most deals, when it comes to decision-making, it’s not as easy as what it seems.
Like a conniving devil, Xavier promises Manolo and his brothers the world, or better yet, bits and pieces of his, if they are to work for him. He seduces them with an ‘innocent’ introductory job as drivers who, every now and again, must ‘get their hands dirty’. He then proceeds to compel the troupe with a much more significant and important position, in which essentially, they are presented with an opportunity to impress and demonstrate their loyalty to Xavier. Otsego, one of Xavier’s ‘soldier’s’ and a sly heartless brute, tells the troupe that they must provide a warning, or shall we say, threaten, a man named Bartolomeo Iglesias de Veracruz, the police Captain of the Mexico City PD. According to Xavier’s keen eye, the Captain is snooping where he doesn’t belong, interested far too much in his operations, giving Manolo, Coco, Santos, and Machete the opportunity to put him in his place. To be perfectly honest, none of the four brothers seem like ‘gangster material’ so it’s interesting that the troupe decides to accept this type of an offer, especially hearing of Xavier and his devious ways. Nonetheless, Manolo agrees to accept (under pressure), but on the inside, is uncertain of his sporadic decision, contemplating the severity and consequences that may inevitably come of joining Xavier’s treacherous force.
Besides, the promise of women, money, and vain glory aren’t valuable to Manolo if he is required to live life under the control of another man (which we can respect him for!). And when it comes to women, Marta, an attractive and mysterious woman he attaches to, and Soraya, a sweet and innocent-like Arab doll, both provide a certain happiness and contentment to him that reminds Manolo of what good really is.
Marta, mysterious, strong, driven, and compassionate is strongly against Xavier El Burro and doesn’t refrain from hiding her disgust. As their friendship grows, Manolo, already the opposite of Xavier (and apparently his brothers), is further encouraged to do away with making any ties to work for such an evil man. Soraya, a ‘narcoplant harvest specialist’ also despises El Burro, but is much subtler and subdued in expressing this stance (in comparison to Marta). Plus, unlike Marta, who conceals her employment/employer without specific reason, Soraya appears to have nothing to hide. Originally a refugee from Arabia, her attitude demonstrates a chaste and obedient approach, at the same time abhorring every bit of Xavier and his empire. Just not enough to forget the reality of Los Volcanoes, where it’s Xavier’s way - or no way at all.
The day approaches for the troupe of brothers to finally prove themselves to Xavier El Burro by handling their first ‘job’ and Manolo’s resentment towards the idea has built up ever since Xavier first made the offer. The gritty, grisly background details surrounding Xavier and his menacing happenings move Manolo to distance himself from ‘the plan’ to scare the Captain, even if it means deserting his brothers. Irked by Manolo’s lack of enthusiasm for what the other brother’s feel is an ‘escape’ from past destitution and penury, Machete, Coco, and Santos decide to proceed without their brother, in which we immediately feel the detachment and animosity experienced between the four. And to no avail, it only gets worst. While Manolo is bothered by the terrible rumors of murder, gambling debts, missing persons, and sheisty schemes, no matter how many rumors his three desirous brothers learn of, nothing, not even Manolo stands in their way!
Subsequently, the 3 brothers proceed in making Xavier happy, quickly falling into the darkness of his abyss. In the meantime, Manolo creeps off on a date with Marta, leaving the troupe to go out and deal with Captain Bartolomeo under the instruction of conniving Otsego (Xavier El Burro soldier) on their own. The dicey night ends tragically for Otsego, with Bartolomeo retaliating in defense, axing the man to death. Fortunately, Coco, Machete, and Santos survive, and when they arrive home, are beyond infuriated by Manolo’s absence. Machete, frantic to extract the reason for his brother’s nonappearance urges him to confess it was due to Marta. And when he finally gets the answer he wants, immediately reports the news to Xavier.
Machete, who now suddenly seems to be Xavier’s protégé, adds to this betrayal by exposing the depth of Manolo’s reluctance to Xavier’s ‘offer-to-die-for’ to his new boss, gaining Xavier’s full approval and access to his legacy, and solidifying he and his two brother’s initiation into the cunning organization. It’s hard to believe they choose to support a man that will more than likely end up killing them, forsaking the brother that has been by their side during some of the hardest times of their lives. Blinded, the brothers have their priorities in alignment and Manolo isn’t first on the list. Their initiation into Xavier’s group is much more important and valuable, as another one of Xavier’s ‘inside’ men, Estrello, exposes a secret far more shocking than anything the amateur brothers can fathom; their new boss, Xavier El Burro, has a son! An heir? While this isn’t something we expected, even if he does, where is he? And why is it so important to expose such an intimate revelation to three amateurs barely learning the ropes?
Well, we learn that Xavier has supposedly been seeking out this ‘long-lost son’, but surely not in any effort to love or build a relationship with his offspring, no. In fact, the only reason we believe Xavier eagerly longs to find his son is to stay alive. Estrello tells them how the ‘invincible’ and untouchable man’s body is fatally ill and that he will die if he doesn’t undergo a surgical transplant operation, which requires a matching donor. Estrello says Xavier requires every male who joins his brutal fighting enterprise of Lucha Libre at El Circo to undergo bloodwork sampling, as ‘only a direct DNA match can save El Burro’, but he’s not had any luck. In too deep, Coco, Machete, and Santos, now named, ‘La Nueva Trinidad’, are confined to the factory walls of Xavier’s devious world as, essentially, protectors of Xavier’s life, while Marta and Manolo’s rebellious minds stir up a plan.
Marta, beautiful, but clearly a fighter, confesses to Manolo how she encounters one of Xavier’s men and was forced to murder him (in self-defense) to protect herself from his unceasing harassment. Unsympathetic towards the man’s death, she is elated to report to Manolo the ‘golden ticket’ she acquires after bringing this man to his final breath; the schedule for Lo último, the biggest and most exciting event for Lucha Libre fighters, and everyone else in the active town of Los Volcanoes! Marta, overly pumped to destroy Xavier and his domain, declares that she and Manolo must act to end the unceasing cycle of his abominable practices. But after what Dr. Isabel Villalon unveils to Coco, Santos, and Machete, Marta and Manolo’s heroic and impressive courage seems as if it’s just not enough.
While the amped pair (Marta and Manolo) work up enough mental nerve and anger to finally rebel against Xavier El Burro, on the other end of the spectrum, La Nueva Trinidad (the brothers) are escorted to the uncanny La Clinica de la Mancha by Estrello and a Dr. Isabel Villalon (a ‘gorgeous blonde’ attendant of the clinic). Dr. Villalon uses the dead body of Otsego (previous Xavier El Burro soldier murdered on the first job) as an example to expose the true method in which El Burro maintains the ‘backbone of his industry’; reincarnation – or more like zombification from a classic Rob Zombie film! After Dr. Villalon injects the syringe into Otsego’s lifeless body, the dead man energetically awakes, ready to do nothing more than take orders, the authentic definition of a soldier! The twisted and horrifying part about this, is that zombified persons such as Otsego (and plenty others) make up practically the entire workforce in Los Volcanoes, Mexico City, according to Estrello! Drivers. Dock workers. Farm workers. Hallow and emotionless, ‘They don’t speak, they don’t stop…. Best of all, they don’t think. They just obey”.
Knowing this, and considering Manolo and Marta’s plan to extinguish the El Burro enterprise means, war. And All the two have are each other, against an entire army of ‘non-thinking’, soulless, heartless zombified human hybrids, ready to kill on demand. Hope, love, and faith seem to be the only friends on the couple’s side right now, but is it enough? In addition to all the pandemonium polluting the mind, and now heart, of dear Manolo, Soraya, the only ‘innocence’ he knows to exist in the ‘post war world’ of Los Volcanoes is missing and he has no idea where she has gone. Oddly enough, each day he can still physically feel her presence as if she is standing directly by his side. Although Soraya’s presence in each scene is usually brief, throughout the book thus far, Manolo describes an inexplicable connection to her that he can’t escape even if he tried. Thoughts of her interrupt his daily tasks and activities without reason – but is there?
Saturday comes around and the day of the big event means lights, camera, action! The show’s highlight is ‘a customary open invitation to the audience to see if anyone would dare go up against the seven-hundred-and-fifty-pound mouth with legs’, a gluttonous luchador everyone fears, Gordo Loco! Still in his office preparing for the ghastly entertainment, Xavier El Burro receives an envelope marked ‘not to be open until asked’, but disregards the mysterious message, puts it in his jacket pocket, unfazed, looking forward to the vicious bloodbath he and Estrello has planned for luchador, Gordo Loco.
In the same day, at the same time, Captain Bartolomeo armors up and prepares to effectuate what he calls a ‘xavierectomoy’ (the name of the operation) at the fighting event to finally eliminate the man who has destroyed so many lives. At this point, there is still no sign of Marta or Manolo, causing us to be concerned; but - there’s certainly a reason why it is said to never underestimate anyone or what their capable of!
Estrello and Xavier’s plan to ‘openly invite’ someone from the audience to challenge the big, bad, Gordo Loco provides the perfect chance for someone, anyone, to interject. Assured and confident that no one will, the announcer is taken back when the audience begins to crowd-surf a man wearing a purple mask to the arena. Astonished, it is Manolo! And he has a special message for Xavier, live, with billions of people watching, saying, ‘I’m the one you’ve been looking for. I am your son’.
Manolo? His son? For the first time in the story, Xavier is speechless, and so are we.
After announcing the shocking news, Manolo is then immediately forced to face the beastly Gordo Loco in the ring, and takes him on audaciously! As he is in the ring fighting for his life against this repulsive beast, the haunting presence of Soraya is ever near. But why? Is she now a spirit or ghost looming over Manolo’s life? Or is he just in love, unconsciously desiring for the two of them to be together, deep down? Unfortunately, there is no time for him to figure it out. Machete, Coco, and Santos, all step into the ring to help Gordo Loco bring Manolo to his demise (Wow!).
Thankfully, the spiteful brothers don’t get a chance. Instead, a massive swarm of powerful Japanese hornets suddenly plague the El Circo arena, bringing El Burro soldier, Estrello, to an unexpected gruesome death. Action, action, and more action sparks up the arena as the event quickly spins out of control! But we wonder, what will Xavier do now, knowing that Manolo is his real son? As heartless as he may be, the least he will need is proof, and if legit, his organs?
As Manolo is still being pinned by Coco and Machete in the ring, suddenly, an invisible force, the same one that brought the Japanese killer hornets, restrains Xavier El Burro with a gigantic knife to his throat. Selfish for his life, the man, at once, demands that Coco and Machete release Manolo, as he is at the colossal weapons mercy. The moment then comes for the ‘man’ everyone adores and idolizes, to admit and confess his steep multitude of sins and transgressions. Nonetheless, a stony heart isn’t easy to crack.
The invisible force then divulges a secret that discloses not only its identity, but also the truth about Manolo’s unbelievable recent revelation as well. The invisible force manifests into human form as Dr. Villalon – who amazingly, is Marta! This really blows our minds and explains why she refused to let Manolo know where she worked earlier in the story. Disturbed, Xavier ‘appears’ to be in disbelief, but when Marta motions Xavier’s hands like a puppeteer master, to retrieve the envelope from within his jacket pocket before the show, a human genome mapping of Xavier and Marta’s DNA reveals that they are biological father and daughter!
Marta, uncaring that he is her father, attempts to happily finish him off with a clean slice to the neck…but is horrified when all that comes out is green ooze! It turns out Xavier El Burro is not entirely human. And after his zombified ‘Xavier body’ goes to waste, he begins speaking from the voice of his el burro, his… donkey. This explains where the name ‘Xavier El Burro’ really comes from! Xavier, now in donkey embodiment, is the epitome of his own warped and unethical practices. As a volunteer spy for the UN, he tells them how the scientists transferred his consciousness to the donkey from his human body to help him go undercover as a spy. What a disguise! Furthermore, the donkey, or Xavier, tells Marta how he knew all along she was his daughter, even so, she’s practically useless to him. Though she’s his biological daughter, her DNA is not an exact match which is needed for the organ transplant to repair his physical body.
Following all the commotion, Marta is now eager to get Manolo to safety. She decides that doing what she and Manolo said they would is most important, and that’s to escape. So, the pair take a rocketplane to Bangkok, hopefully to find some relief from the scandalous Xavier El Burro conspiracy; yet there’s a small piece of information the narrator includes that makes us re-read the entire last chapter, saying “Manolo, Marta, and Soraya were at last truly free”. Soraya? How? And why did the narrator choose to include Soraya in the enamored couple’s final getaway when she has been missing for some time? Well, we won’t spoil all the suspense! Instead, we’d like to conclude our thoughts by saying this; the Author sincerely deserves full credit for all the hard work and thought required to craft such a fascinating and compound story! We won’t be surprised if the Amplified series is transformed into a cinema, as the book demonstrates very strong traits of originality, intelligence, cultural diversity, ingenuity, imagination, with taste, class, and style! We are absolute fans of his writing and are positive anyone can read this book, not only to be entertained, but also inspired, as we are.
Hands down, the Realistic Poetry Review Team is proud to present this book with a 5-star rating and is extremely happy we were invited to read it!
While the initial idea had a lot of promise, as far as I could see its only role in the book was as a backdrop, which was disappointing. I managed to get a third of the way through the story, and then spot-read the rest, in the hopes I was doing the book an injustice, or missing some subtle satire that came through in the later pages, but unfortunately nothing leapt out at me.
Aside from the near-complete lack of plot, the switching around from third person to omniscient and the omnipresent explanations of what a given character was thinking or feeling, as opposed to showing the reactions, added to my difficulties with the read. In addition, the fight descriptions were way over the top to a point that had me shaking my head, which I doubt was the intended result.
This was only the second book this year that I had to leave as a Did Not Finish. I try really hard not to abandon a read; I know how much blood, sweat, and tears authors put into their books, but unfortunately once in a while it does happen, and What Happens in Los Volcanes, Or Hijo de Xavier was one of those reads for me. The setting was original, the basic concept was good, and the story itself, sadly, started turning me off about ten pages in and never pulled me back.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.