Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: September 6, 2016
Format: hardcover | Source: library
Genres: young adult, paranormal, fantasy, LGBT
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
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…
I’m so glad I finally got to read Labyrinth Lost- I’ve been wanting to read it since it came out last fall but you know how TBRs go. Tropes were given an original twist and I loved the mixture of cultures and magic! The worldbuilding in general was excellent, both in Brooklyn and the dark Wonderland feel of Los Lagos. I loved learning about brujas and Alex’s family, the different rituals and ways that magic manifested itself, and why Alex didn’t want magic for herself. The book was creepier than I expected, especially in the beginning, but it was great.
I especially loved all of the ancestors and souls and the roles they played, I think because I love genealogy so much. The first half of the book was great for me and the second half was more uneven but I enjoyed it overall. Of course I was intrigued by Nova even as I was wary to trust him. He and Alex had a great repartee and there was more to him underneath the surface.
I was also surprised at how much Alex’s friend Rishi was in the story! I didn’t expect that; she had her own adventures and role but she also makes it clear that she has feelings for Alex so we get a great f/f/m triangle that I thought worked really well. I also appreciated that Alex wanted to sort through her feelings for Rishi when they weren’t all in mortal danger; that’s always a pet peeve, when romance slows down a truly dangerous situation. There was a good balance of romance and practicality, and it pays off with some cute scenes.
I did think some of the obstacles felt easy, like Alex’s powers. But I guess because she’s so powerful it makes sense she was able to figure out how to use them? The villain didn’t feel that threatening to me either. It really comes down to pacing, I think; a lot of story was crammed into 300 pages and that made some of the obstacles feel like connect the dots. The obstacles themselves, the villain, the mythology of their gods, felt vibrant; I only wish we got more time to absorb everything and that it didn’t feel so point A to point B.
Overall Labyrinth Lost was everything I hoped it would be: a compelling, fun, scary, romantic book about Latinx brujas and I definitely recommend it to paranormal and fantasy fans. I also really enjoyed the author’s notes; so many interesting tidbits that relate back to the story! I’m looking forward to the sequel (companion?) next year. And if you want to read a well-written detailed review with a great take on the Latinx culture and bisexual aspects of the story, check out Marianne’s review of Labyrinth Lost!
Have you read Labyrinth Lost? Do you enjoy books about witches and falling through fantasy worlds?