Author(s): Zoraida Córdova
Edition: ARC, 336 pgs
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Recieved from ALA for review
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
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 marks 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...
If you are wanting an exhilarating, dark, female-driven, family-centric, magical journey, then stop because Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the book you've been looking for.
I have been needing a darker type of magic story for a while. One that explores that earthier side of magic, with rituals and spells powered through parts of the real world, not just a wave of a wand. Labyrinth Lost delivers that need and adds so much more.
I love the main character, Alex (Alejandra). Zoraida has crafted a character that is still relatable even when being from a family of witches. She doesn't want the power that she possesses because it scares her. I think that we can all relate to that sort of fear in a way; we all have something to be afraid of, whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic. She is struggling to be a part of this family who's very being is determined by their power when she is constantly fighting her own, and fighting it so drastically that she tries to spell it away. I feel this can be used as a metaphor for how teen girls feel about themselves for the most part, at least I know that's how my friends and I felt.
But while Alex finds herself at odds with her family, there is nothing but love from all sides. Her mother and sisters all love Alex, and she them. But not only is her immediate family important, Alex has such a rich history, which is reflected it in the Latinx culture that plays such an integral part of the book. Alex's ancestors span back centuries, and they all play a part in her family's history. And all these people are definitively brujas, casting cantos, not spells. This is an aspect of the book I absolutely adore; more representation of Latinx culture is needed within YA speculative fiction, and Labyrinth Lost is such an amazing addition to that genre.
Then of course, not only are we shown the brujas of Brooklyn, but through Alex's banishing canto, she transports her entire family (and her ancestors too) into Los Lagos, a type of purgatory for brujas. The elaborate layers of Los Lagos again mix many elements from Latinx culture, but also from other myths and stories, creating a rich, terrifying, oil painting of a world that Alex must trek through to save her family.
Luckily she is not alone on this journey, and again the amazing hand of Zoraida crafts some complex supporting cast that you love to love and love to hate (but never really for long). The voice of each character is distinct from one another, and each person, or creature, you meet adds something to the overall world of Los Lagos and the bruja culture, making the book one you'll want to explore again.
It's at all times a journey of discovery and family, but with such twists that it keeps you on your toes while reading. Never a dull moment, Labyrinth Lost is a fantastical ride, leaving you aching on the other side to be a bruja yourself (I for one have been practicing my Resting Witch Face). One of my top books of 2016, I can't recommend this one enough! Out on September 6, 2016, you won't want to miss it!
Book Cover: 4/5
Book Title: 5/5
Overall: 48/50: A+
Other Books by Zoraida
The Vicious Deep Trilogy