Labyrinth Lost

labyrinth-lost


Title: Labyrinth Lost

Author: Zoraida Córdova

Series: Brooklyn Brujas, #1

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: September 6th 2016

Rating:

Five 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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

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.

“You live in a literal prison inside the labyrinth of a demon witch who is about to kill our entire family. How can there be any hope?”

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.

…The Characters

“Right now, I’m just a girl, and there is also magic in that.”

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.

“It’s love, Alex. Love is you jumping through a portal despite your own safety. Love is mom singing in the car and Rose making tea when we’re sick and even us fighting because we’re blood, and no matter what you do, I’ll never forget that you are my sister.”

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.

“This is Nova. He’s a witch, like me. He’s a guide.”
“I am a brujo,” Nova corrects me.

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.

…The Setting

“We’re here.” He taps his finger on a dark stretch of land labelled Selva of Ashes. “It’s a land unto its own, separating it from the rest of Los Lagos by a river. We have to get across the river, through the Caves of Night, take this middle path from the fork in the road that leads through Meadow del Sol, over this small mountain range called Las Peñas, and boom. We’re at the labyrinth. Cake.”

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.

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25 thoughts on “Labyrinth Lost

  1. Yay! I’m glad you loved this one too. The world and magic was so fascinating. The only thing that stopped me from giving this 5 stars was at times I felt like the characters were a little flat, but I’m really excited to see how they develop in the upcoming books. Brilliant review, Beth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely understanding all the hype it’s gotten so far. The world building was actually my favourite part of this book, and it was the part I was most looking forwards to as well so it’s nice it lived up to my expectations. Oh that’s a shame, I didn’t noticed that while reading but like I said in my review (I think) I did have a little trouble connecting to Alex at the very beginning of the story. Either way yeah I’m really excited for the second book now!
      Thanks Lauren! 😀

      Like

    1. Thanks so much. It’s a brilliant book so I’d definitely recommend picking it up ASAP, especially if it’s been on your TBR list for ages as well! Alex’s family is a major part of this book, even when they aren’t around they do play a large role in her life and her journey so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if this is what you’re looking for in Labyrinth Lost. 🙂

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  2. Great review! 😀
    I’m really glad to see that you loved this book. It makes me very exited to read this book as well. (I’m also glad that it doesn’t end in a cliff hanger, meaning I could read it some time soon – though I do have to get the book first.) I don’t know much about the bruja culture, but I’m looking forward to learning about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Anna.
      Oh this was a brilliant book, a lot better than I thought it would be too and my expectations were already high before I picked it up. Yeah no major cliffhanger, which I agree is kind of nice, but it does end in a way which will make you want to pick up the next book to find out where the story goes next.
      I didn’t know much about the bruja culture either but it was very well written in this book so that’s a plus! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it was amazing! And yeah I’ve been seeing it on a few blogs recently but trust me all the positive reviews and praise it has gotten is well deserved. The world-building is amazing as well, I had high expectations given the way it was described but it actually ended up exceeding them!
      I hope you enjoy this book when you get around to it Marie, I’ll be really excited to hear what you think of it as well, and thanks! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This one has been on my TBR ever since I read Lilly’s review of it a while back and I want to get to it even more now that I’ve read your review. I’ve heard time and time again how fantastic the world building is and it seems like a very atmospheric book. Plus you had me at the words Alice in Wonderland mixed with Greek mythology. Also, I’m so interested in the fact that the main character initially wants nothing to do with the powers she was given. There are so many fantasy books where characters have powers thrust on them and embrace them so easily. I like the idea of a character being more reluctant, it’s unique. And, like you, I love when families play a big role in a book. Especially in fantasies where the absent parent trope is definitely more pronounced. I hope I can get around to this one before the end of the year. Great review as always, Beth! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was on my to-read list for a while for the same reason (though I think it was Jill’s review that made me add it to my to-read list first rather than Lilly’s). I’d highly recommend this book Melissa. I had massive expectations after reading all the amazing reviews and Labyrinth Lost more than lived up to them. Yeah that’s what had me hooked too, and I did get both the Alice in Wonderland and Greek mythology feels from the world as well.
      Alex is a great character, and I think if you like the fact that she wants nothing to do with her powers you’ll like her journey as well. I love her family too, it plays such a large part in this book, more than the almost love triangle even. It’s a fantastic book, I hope you manage to get around to it soon and I hope you love it as well.
      Thanks Melissa! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well that’s good that it lived up to your expectations. I have even more hope that I’m going to love it.
        I think it’s so neat that it has Alice in Wonderland and Greek mythology feels. I never would have thought about combining those.
        I hope so too! And you’re welcome, Beth. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure you will, I’ve yet to see a negative review for this book and I think that’s saying a lot about it! 😀 I would have never either but it really works in this book, I’m really excited to see where the author takes the second book, hopefully we’ll get to go back to Los Lagos or another unique world she creates.

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