Review: “Labyrinth Lost,” Zoraida Cordova

Pros: Fascinating
Cons: Powers become generic
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas), by Zoraida Cordova, is billed as a young adult book (not surprising, given the themes of finding oneself and growing into our power), but it’s a great read for us adults, too.

Alejandra Mortiz comes from a magical family, brujas and brujos on all sides. Her birthday is coming up, and the hope is that celebrating her deathday at the same time might, this time, tease her magical abilities to the surface. Alex doesn’t want that at all, and is afraid the attempt will force her to reveal a secret she’s been carrying for years. Soon, however, her entire family is whisked away as a result of something she did, and she’ll have to call on every scrap of power she can find if she wants to bring them home safely.

 

Alex’s little sister Rose is a psychic:

“I could hear your dreams,” Rose says. “It gives me a headache.”

I have a lot of trouble believing that she wasn’t aware of the secret Alex has been carrying.

Alex teams up with a young brujo, Nova, who doesn’t seem entirely trustworthy. Her best friend Rishi also gets mixed up in things. It creates a triangle of possible-love-interests, and I really like that the strongest side of that triangle seems to encompass Rishi and Alex. Also, while I’m not the best judge of things, seeing as it’s been a long time since I was the characters’ age, I believe the content is acceptable for the young adult crowd.

There are some good quotes in here:

Nothing says “happy birthday” like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

There’s a surprising amount of tension, and plenty of high stakes–enough to make this book very hard to put down. I was roped in from the start.

Alex finds out that her family ended up in Los Lagos, a different plane of reality. They’ve been captured by the Devourer, and they don’t have much time to prevent her plans from seeing fruition. Alex very bravely steps forward to do what needs doing, especially now that she knows more about her powers and how they work.

My only problem with characters’ powers is that, like so many TV shows about people with powers, we end up with people tossing random balls of energy or force at others. Mysteriously they no longer use charms or have to come up with clever ways to affect things using seemingly inappropriate magic. It’s just a couple of wrecking balls going back and forth. That feels like cheating. In the earlier details, bruja/brujo magic seemed to have a lot of flare and individuality, and this completely wrecked that. I’m disappointed; I feel that the book could have been much more interesting otherwise.

P.S.: Having seen the mention of “guava and brie empanadas,” I feel the need to do some cooking!

 

Book provided free by publisher for review
Expected publication date: September 6, 2016

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