Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas, #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: September 6th 2016
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
With one sister who can heal any injury, another who’s psychic, and a mother who raises the dead Alex does not lead a normal life. But normal is all she wants; to be able to go to a school dance with her friend, to have a father who didn’t leave because of something she did, and to not have to make offerings to the Gods before breakfast. Alex is a bruja though, and when her powers finally manifest, in a very scary way, it is time for her Deathday.
Desperate to avoid a life which has only brought her pain Alex searches for a way to refuse the offering the dead will give her, to banish her powers and give them back to the Gods who gifted them to her. However without fully understanding the cantos she performs instead of banishing her powers Alex somehow banishes her whole family, the alive and the dead, to the Tree of Souls in the centre of the labyrinth in Los Lagos.
Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that she needs to save her family Alex recruits the help of a strange brujo boy, and the only one besides her who didn’t get sucked into the portal, to guide her through Los Lagos to the Tree of Souls. For a price of course. Jumping through another portal they create in her back garden Alex and Nova find themselves in a place they’ve only read about, but the Los Lagos they find is very different to what they imagined.
With the land overtaken by someone called The Devourer Alex and Nova face a tough battle as they are forced to fight their way to the labyrinth in a world the Gods have abandoned where nothing is what it seems at first glance. It’s a dangerous journey with a fast approaching deadline, because if Alex doesn’t make it to the Tree before the eclipse her family will be destroyed.
Alex is the only one in her family of brujas who sees her power as a curse rather than a gift. In her mind their abilities have caused them nothing but heartache and when her powers make themselves known she wants nothing to do with them. As her family prepares for her Deathday, Alex is desperately searching for a way out of it all. I had a hard time connecting to Alex in the beginning; she was a very closed off character, both from her family and her friends, but as she travels through Los Lagos with Nova she starts to open up more.
As an encantrix Alex is incredibly powerful but she doesn’t know understand the full potential of what she can do with her gift. It’s very much trial and error for the first part of the story when both Alex and Nova are trapped in a place where too many mistakes can cost them their lives.For Alex the journey becomes about more than just saving her family, it becomes about accepting who she is; powers and all.
One of the main themes of this book was family, and I loved reading all about Alex’s. Even with them gone, trapped in the Labyrinth in Los Lagos, they still reach out for Alex and she can still feel the love they have for her and she has for them. In a lot of other fantasy books there seems to be a trend of absent or missing parents, it was the opposite in this book. Even though Alex’s father left her mother and her sisters, even her extended family some of whom have longbeen dead, were very much a part of her life leading her as much as they could on her journey through Los Lagos.
Nova is an enigma of a character. He is pulled into Alex’s journey but not because of the goodness of heart, instead it’s the promise of payment that drives him on. Nova seems to know a lot more not only about Los Lagos but being a brujo, he guides Alex in her journey not just in terms of the route they take but also in terms of her own powers. Covered in strange tattoos there is a lot about Nova’s past which he refuses to open up about, he jokes around a lot but it’s difficult to say whether this statements are jokes or facts disguised that way as a self defence mechanism. He doesn’t seem to let many people close, not even his family who he rarely mentions.
There was the start of a love triangle hinted at in Labyrinth Lost. I feel it will possibly be expanded more in the later books but, although I’m normally not a fan of love triangles at all, I didn’t mind this one. It didn’t take anything away from the plot and the first thing in Alex’s mind was always her love for her family and the task they had arrived in Los Lagos to complete. Anything else she pushed back to think about later when their lives weren’t in danger.
One of the main reasons I picked up this book was because in every review I read people were raving about the world building. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know how important world building is for me and my enjoyment of a story. Los Lagos has been described as Alice in Wonderland mixed with Greek mythology influences and those are two of my favourite topics. Any book that is inspired by Greek mythology or is a new take on Alice in Wonderland goes to the top of my to-read list, so I knew I had to pick this one up. My expectations were sky high but they were all met. From the moment Alex and Nova jumped through the portal and into Los Lagos I was transported with them to a fantastic world, full of incredible sounding locations; the Caves of Night and the Poison Garden, and enchanted meadows where fairies feast and dance. There was so much to this new world, and everything we did see was so amazing I only wish we could have seen more
This is an incredibly diverse book and an amazing story as well. The bruja culture was clearly well researched and even when Alex was still in Brooklyn if felt like we had a whole new world to explore. Labyrinth Lost doesn’t have a major cliffhanger, it actually has a solid ending, but I am excited to see how the second book continues the story. I’m definitely hoping to see more of Los Lagos.
What did you think of Labyrinth Lost? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.