Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Title: Kulti

Author: Mariana Zapata

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Kulti was such an unexpected gem. Jasprit brought this to the top of my TBR with her review and I have to echo her sentiments: I loved this book! Sal Casillas is a professional and soccer is her life. When her absolute favorite soccer player ever, Reiner Kulti, becomes her coach, she is prepared for the best season of her life. What she finds, though, is that Kulti is uninterested, brings a whole lot of unwanted attention to her team, and downright rude when he deigns to coach. Sal, seeing her idol fall off the pedestal she had built for him years ago, isn't about to be silent as Kulti ignores fans (like her father) and targets specific players (like her) on the field.

But, of course, there is so much more to Kulti than what Sal saw on television as a child or even in front of her now, as an adult. Zapata's prose is distinct and un-put-down-able. She is a lover of detail and Kulti is a comprehensive tale, following Sal before Kulti enters her life and showing us just how determined, hard-working, and dedicated our heroine is. Sal is a woman of principles and her patience, resilience, and moral compass are admirable. It's impossible not to love and root for her, first as she gets over her star-struck awe of Kulti to confront him, and then later as the two become fast friends.

The romance is under-stated and left off until the very end of the novel, but the story is no less rewarding for that and I loved reading the ups and downs of Kulti and Sal's friendship. Theirs is a relationship I couldn't see happening at all in the beginning of the novel but, of course, half-way through I was dying for them to get together. If there are any flaws with the story, it is only that the explanation that Kulti and Sal are best friends is flimsy, frankly, and the concern he has for her, and not for any of the other players, is a little frustrating. After all, he is her coach and the coach to the rest of the players on her team, too.

Still, the secondary characters are so well fleshed-out, from Sal's friends and family to Kulti's fellow players. For a monster of a book, I absolutely flew through this and I only wish there was a novella or two to accompany it because I'm not ready to say goodbye to this dynamic couple. Zapata is definitely an author I'll be looking out for--after all, her novels feature sports, diversity, and romance in equal parts, so what more could I ask for?


  1. Wonderful review, Keertana! When I started reading I was hoping to hear there would be a romance between Sal and Kulti, and it sounds like that happens. I'm going to check for an audio copy of this one. Especially since you and Jasprit enjoyed it so much! :)

  2. This is the second review of this book that I've seen recently! (Maybe the other one was Jasprit's?) I remember a looooong time ago, another blogger had read this book and was dying for me to read it. I'm a huge soccer fan and I think I'd enjoy the romance. :D I'm glad you enjoyed this book! Great review, Keertana. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  3. Football makes me think of Saturdays, my dad always watched the games

  4. Yay I'm so pleased to see you ended up enjoying this one too. There's also so much pressure when you want your blogger friends to love a book as hard as you did. Like you I loved the slow build up to their relationship and although we only get a bit of romance at the end, I was still satisfied with that. I too am looking forward to reading more of Zapata's books. Gorgeous review! :)

  5. This is completely new to me but you definitely have me interested in it now. I'm going to go check it out on Amazon. ;) Wonderful review!

  6. I like that premise of this one. Meeting your real life heroes in person can sometimes be a let down.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

  7. When you want at least a novella after it ends, you know it is good. I also hate/love it when it happens and this one sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Love the sound of the characters in this one.

  8. Everyone loves this book, but to be honest I completely marked it off as not for me because of my disinterest with sports. I must say I'm incredibly interested in picking this book up now. It sounds like it would be something I'm interested in and I realize I was silly for writing this book off so soon. Wonderful review!

  9. I put this book on my tbr-list, thanks to Jasprit. And seeing your high rating I definitely should bump it up in my tbr-list. Kulti sounds like an intriguing character. Great review, as always, Keertana!

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