Aztecs and Mayans get a highlight in Dela's debut novel The 52nd.
Lucas is condemned to watch the Underworld claim fifty-two human sacrifices during the ritual periods. He's a watcher and immortal -- he's dead. But Zara, the last victim chosen is full of life and about to start her college years. There's something special about her that none of the other victims share. Perhaps there's a reason the Underworld wants her? Could saving her end these pointless rituals once and for all?
The 52nd balances romance and paranormal throughout the pages quite well. There's a lot of tension as Lucas' motives start getting noticed by the Underworld, particularly by the witch Xibalba, but nevertheless, the relationship between Lucas and Zara never feels rushed. In fact, these two don't really share a love at first sight. Lucas is on edge and takes his time opening up to Zara. Both their families are very present in the story, including Lucas's pet jaguars.
A new author worth noticing.