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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labyrinth Lost



Labyrinth Lost by Zoradia Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: September 6,2016
Length: 366 pages
My Rating:  ★★★★★


Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...

This book started popping up on blogs I follow and I was instantly sucked in by its beautiful cover. Honestly, the book description could have been super mundane and I still would have wanted to read it based off the the cover alone.
I loved this book for several reasons but I think it comes down to this: There were a lot of themes at play here and they all were represented and nothing major got lost in the shuffle.

Also-

Alex: Alex is probably one of the stronger YA heroines I've read in a while. Not because she's super confident or even extremely competent when it comes to her magic but because she has a strong moral compass. When the story started out Alex threatened to be this whiny, self-absorbed character who was just going to be a pain in the ass, but when the plot really started going and she had to get it together she did. And she made mistakes and owned them which is hard to do for anyone especially a teenager. I also liked that she wasn't ridiculously overpowered when it came to her magic she had limits and those limits got in the way they weren't something that was ignored for the sake of convenience.

Her family- Family is really important in the culture that was created in this book and it's clear Alex's family is the most important thing to her. I don't have a big family so the scenes of her interacting with her sisters and extended family were fun and odd but I get a feeling that's how big families are. Especially her relationship with her older sister Lula who got on my nerves more often than not, which I suspect she was supposed to, but selflessly healed Alex regardless the cost to her. Who even though she had a lot of anger towards Alex still forgave her out of love.
Her friends- I really liked the banter that exists between Rishi, Nova and Alex.

"Let's get this donkey show on the road," she says.
"I think you mean dog and pony show," Nova says. Rishi looks him up and down...
"Since you're here, I'm pretty sure I mean donkey."

Their speech patterns sound organic and their humor is genuinely funny. I will say my only complaint with the story is also found here. There is a love triangle in the midst of the three of them wandering a foreign, mythical realm and while I think it was developed well enough it would have been nice if there was some indication of Rishi's feelings before they traveled to a different dimension. Nova's are pretty clear, but Rishi's at first seem only there to create tension between Alex and Nova. They work themselves out just fine but the beginnings seemed a little stuck in there.

The culture/setting- In the authors note, Zoraida Cordóva talks about creating this bruja/brujo culture and its myths by pulling influences from Latin America, the Dominican Republic and Africa. She succeeded to creating a vibrant fresh and incredibly colorful world especially in her detailed exploration of the realm of Los Logos. The author seems to have had a lot of fun in creating this place and it comes through in the journey Alex and her friends take and the careful description of each new thing they encounter.
It gave me feelings of the Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland. Good journey story in a unique setting. It makes me want to watch all of those movies!

I've read some other reviews that say the end falls flat comparatively, but I don't see that at all. The climax and wrap up were satisfying while still leaving the door open for a continuation. (It appears that this is the first in a series) I'll be curious if the next book follows one of Alex's sisters more maybe Rose? She was the only character I felt didn't get enough development and maybe that's the reason... I hope so!

Thanks to Sourcebooks and the Publisher via Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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