I was so hyped for Labyrinth Lost. Brujas in Brooklyn? Bisexual protag? Dark Wonderland? HELL YES!
I planned on reading it for release since I was lucky enough to get a Netgalley copy. Well, that didn't go as planned. So here it is as my second review for Hispanic Heritage Month on the last day.
While I didn't hit my dream goal (3, including When the Moon was Ours) I'm glad I was able to participate a little bit.
Hope you enjoy!
Spoiler: You're going to want to read Labyrinth Lost and have it on your shelf.
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Genre: Paranormal, QUILTBAG,
Format: Ebook, 336 pgs.
Rating: 4 Stars
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers 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.
The second time I saw my dead Aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
I was immediately hooked with Alex’s POV. She starts with describing an interesting and traumatizing event she interrupted when she was 7. Waking from the dream-memory, we meet her two sisters as they get ready for school.
Her family is the bickering-teasing-musketeers type that bands together when shit goes down. There are problems, like Alex’s magic not manifesting, their mother having to work two jobs, and their father’s disappearance. Then Alex, the classic middle child, screws up.
Jan: even her best gifs focus on Marsha.
And the plot gets moving.
It’s about 30% of the book before we get to the blurb’s point. It’s set up with their family, their magic, their history, their customs, Alex’s POV, getting to know her best friend Rishi, and meeting Nova.
I fucking loved it. It’s so interesting, well built and different. I can’t say much but Los Lagos was awesome. Not as gruesome as my fav Mcgee’s Alice but “dark as Limbo and strange as Wonderland” is the perfect way to describe it.
Every chapter begins with different quotes from related characters, books, and stories. I adore this addition. Like the map (oh my god, I want that as a poster) and the flower embellishments, it adds an extra special dash of magic. If I had the extra money, I’d buy a copy just to have the prettiness on my shelf.
Plus, Cordova includes background information at the end of the book about different elements like Deathday parties. It’s cool to learn more about the inspirations and how it came together.
Sure, there’s tropes but that doesn’t automatically = bad. There’s a love triangle, insta-love, and Alex being a special snowflake. But it’s better than other novels and the unique world building makes up for it plus some.
Looking back, it should’ve been obvious what would happen next, but I was having such a great time, I honestly didn’t notice. I wasn’t analyzing and dissecting, just enjoying it.
The romance is the only part I struggled with. I don’t typically like love triangles. I find them annoying and…not well done most of the time. However, Labyrinth Lost’s is one people have been wishing for: a bisexual protag with male and female love interests. YAY for representation! And lookie, the bi person isn’t made out to be a cheating slut or anything like that, double YAY!
Nova’s the typical bad boy with home issues, attitude problems, muscles, tats, and amazing eyes. I’m sure he smells great as well. He and Alex met, butt heads, and wind up working together.
For me, Nova is a MEHHHHH romance interest. It’s instant and based on physical attraction. I’m also not into this type and way over this in-every-book portrayal. But his problems are better done, understandable, and interlinked with the lore so it’s not so bad.
I do like their banter and how he brings some tough love and perspective to Alex. Them being friends would be great as long as he backs the fuck off. I was disappointed at how he dominated the time with Alex.
I was screaming “BRING BACK RISHI OR SO HELP ME!” Then she shows up, and Nova is still the focus because he’s acting as guide and won’t shut up.
I really wish there was more time with Rishi. She dresses like a manic pixie girl but isn't. She’s human and does stuff! Really risky, bold stuff. And she’s known Alex for over a year. They are best friends! THIS IS MY SHIP. FORGET THE REST.