'Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls' Readalong: Chapters 16 - 29 [End]

By: Shanleigh Klassen

“Water and fire are not enemies. The Ocean goddess and the Sun god are sister and brother. I blessed you to know that, Cece Rios. To know that your soul is as strong as water.” - Kaela Rivera

Welcome back to our readalong of Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera! Today, we follow Cece as she discovers the depth of her own strength, all while facing off against dark and terrible powers.

Remember, this will be a SPOILER discussion for the last half of Cece Rios, so if you haven’t finished reading chapters 15 - 19, you’ve been warned! Discussion questions are at the end of this post and participating will get you another chance at winning a free OwlCrate Jr box. **Winners for the 'Cece Rios' readalong have been contacted! Thank you all so much for participating!**

The story concludes…

Coyote shares with Cece that Little Lion is distrustful of humans because in his past life, Little Lion was in love with his bruja—revealed to be Cece’s own aunt, Catrina—but was betrayed by her after winning the Bruja Fights. Coyote saved Little Lion, but Coyote was killed by Catrina.

At the semifinal Bruja Fight, Cece must now face-off against Brujo Rodrigo and his criatura Kit Fox. Cece and Coyote outwit the brujo, win the fight, and steal Kit Fox’s soul stone away from Brujo Rodrigo. However, on their way back home, another of Brujo Rodrigo’s criaturas, Ocelot, attacks. The attack rattles Coyote, and he confesses that he Named the dark criaturas into existence to hurt the humans. Cece understands his past actions, and promises that they’ll do what they can to set things right.

Cece later reveals to her parents she’s become a bruja to save Juana. Knowing her parents still think she is cursed, Cece says her goodbyes and leaves with her criatura friends to the Bruja Final. Though Cece fails the final trial, the attempt does not kill her like it should. This angers the Dark Saints, allowing Brujo Rodrigo the opportunity to steal her power. Only when he pulls Cece’s soul from her chest, it is revealed that Cece is not a bruja, but a curandera with power blessed from the Ocean goddess.

Though losing her soul almost kills her, Cece defeats Brujo Rodigro by using her own soul’s power and strength against him, and frees the criaturas under his command. In thanks, Ocelot freely offers herself to Cece’s cause to defeat El Sombrerón.

Now reunited with her friends, Cece battles El Sombrerón to rescue her sister once and for all. Though the fight is painful and difficult, Cece frees her sister and defeats the dark criatura with the strength of her soul. Juana, Cece, and the criaturas return to Tierra del Sol, though Juana is greatly changed from her ordeal. With her friends supporting her, Cece and Juana step forward together into their family’s home.


1. Family is at the very centre of Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls. What does family mean to you?

2. Which character was your favourite, and why?

3. Cece’s soul now exists outside her body, like those of the criaturas. What might this mean for Cece in the future and as she grows up?

4. What adventures would you like to see Cece and her friends on next? 

Don't forget to join us on Friday, May 21st at 3 PM PST/6 PM EST for our live author chat with Kaela Rivera!

Photo from @thebookreviewkid.