Book Review: Labyrinth Lost – Zoraida Córdova

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Published: September 6th 2016
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary
I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched 27969081feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

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 markings 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…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

“A seamless blend of fantasy and Latin culture, Labyrinth Lost feels both strikingly authentic and badly needed: in the overwhelming white world of YA literature, a cast of characters comprised almost entirely of people of color—combined with a fantasy world both inspired by a non-white culture and written by a member of that culture—is sure to change the lives of many teens who rarely see themselves reflected in the books they read. But there is another layer of importance to the novel, and that is Alex’s bisexuality. Presented matter-of-factly, without any cheesy plot twist attached, her bisexuality becomes visible but not defining, and the mere fact of its healthy portrayal makes it essential to a group of queer people long erased in mainstream media.” —Lambda Literary. 

There are many things that initially attracted me to this book, one of the main factors being the absolutely beautiful cover which from the first glance drew me to it and I knew I just had to get my hands on it (I have a slight weakness when it comes to Day of the Dead), in addition to the book being loosely based around Latin culture – something I believe we don’t see a lot of in any type of industry so I’m always thrilled whenever I can find a book or a television programme based around that culture and this book certainly didn’t let me down.

One of the main things I loved about this book besides the extremely likeable and versatile characters, and exploring the land of Los Lagos with its hidden secrets is the fact that there is a handsome and mysterious boy who accompanies Alex on her journey and he isn’t her key love interest as there are hints and suggestions throughout that her best friend may also be a love interest. Now, you may be thinking that this isn’t a big deal, but in most books I’ve read, whenever it is suggested that the main character is interested in the opposite sex, it is something that should be discussed and made into a big thing, but in this book it is treated like it’s normal and it shouldn’t be made into a big thing as it’s just love. Not very often in young adult fiction is the mysterious handsome boy not the soul love interest for the protagonist and that is one of the many reasons why I love this book – because it is different.

In addition to this, throughout there is an overwhelming sense of girl power. Alex lives with her single mother after her father abandoned several years ago, her older sister Lula who has the ability to heal people and her younger sister Rose who’s ability is seeing things that other people can’t. Every woman in this book, including Alex and her family prove that they don’t need any male help in order to succeed in life or look after themselves and their family, which in today’s culture is a very important message for females of all ages and I just love it. There is an overall sense of empowerment from every single character, whether that be their gumption, talent, intuition or their ability to sass their way out of every situation. Because of this, the characters are unified and makes it feel like one big family, where people pull together for the greater good.

For all, you out there that love a good mythical creature, then do not fear for they are here. Los Lagos is a land of wandering, lost souls – many of them taken by the antagonist of the book, the Devourer, a woman who was banished by the gods for her misdeeds to Los Lagos so decided to take the power from the land and people in order to make herself more powerful so she can ultimately escape to Earth once more. Whilst doing this she disrupts the lives of the inhabitants of the land such as the fairies and the bird-woman creatures, whom themselves have their own personas that make you want to go out there and be a strong independent person!

If you couldn’t guess already, I absolutely loved this book and everything about it, from its diverse, wacky characters (including Alex’s best and only friend Rishi who is all other kinds of brilliant) and messages that it portrays to its readers. Zoraida has done a fantastic job with the book, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Alex and her family of ‘witches’ get up to next!

 

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