The Mexican board game of Lotería is a game of chance. It is similar to our American bingo. However, in Loteria instead of matching up numbers on a game board, players match up images.
There are 54 cards in the Lotería game, and for this short story collection you will find one unique story per card based on a Latin American myth, folklore, superstition, or belief – with a slant towards the paranormal and horrific. In this deck of cards you will find murderers, ghosts, goblins and ghouls. This collection features creatures and monsters, vampires and werewolves and many of these legends existed in the Americas long before their European counterparts.
Many of these stories have been passed over time throughout the Americas, and many have been passed via word of mouth, just like the tales the Brothers Grimm collected. These are indeed fairy tales, but with a much more terrible little slant.
Loteria by Cynthia “Cina” Pelayo
Format: ebook; 224 pages
Publisher: Burial Day Books (July 26, 2012)
I couldn’t have come across a more thrilling collection of short stories than Pelayo’s Loteria. I’ll admit right now that until I read Loteria, I had no clue what Loteria was and had very little knowledge of Latin American folklore. Now that I’ve devoured each of the 54 creepy tales that make up this remarkable collection, I am eager to find out more about the folklore that surrounds the tales within.
The Loteria (aka lottery) is a board game that is made up of 54 cards, with each of the cards displaying an image with a name and number. The game is a lot like Bingo. Pelayo’s tales are less about the game itself and more about the cards. She begins the collection with EL GALLO (THE ROOSTER), EL DIABLITO (THE LITTLE DEVIL), LA BOTELLA (THE BOTTLE) and so on, making her way through the entire deck of cards. It’s a fantastic, thrilling ride and a clear view into the myths, legends, and folklore of Latin America.
My absolute favorite tale was La Botella (the Bottle). There was so much emotion in this one story that I had to read it twice. It’s brilliantly described and well told. Honestly, I would have loved for it to be a lot longer than it was but it wasn’t in the cards. It has potential to be the beginning of a dark yet touching full-length novel. I’d snatch it up like there was no tomorrow.
Here’s a sample of La Botella.
Travel between the northlands and the southlands
That is the travel you must do, child of the crow
For you will bring the light when cold and darkness folds
For eternity this is what you’ll do
If so ever you shall fall from the sky
A replacement will watch over your body and set you free,
And the duty will continue, so crow children can continue to light and warm all kind
Cynthia did a fantastic job portraying each one of the Loteria cards. While some of the tales can easily be labeled horror, I think that they are more light horror and can easily be enjoyed by anyone. There is a card for everyone, really. Pelayo’s interest in Latin folklore, myth, legend and superstition shines in all of her short stories. An index is included that gives more details about the inspiration behind each of the stories, furthering the readers enjoyment.
The Loteria collection is a wonderfully dark and entertaining read that just keeps on giving long after you finish the last tale. I highly recommend Pelayo’s Loteria to everyone this Halloween or anytime!