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Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas) Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Alejandra Mortiz comes from a long line of powerful brujas (witches), although she has unsuccessfully tried to hide her powers from her family. They dismiss her disinterest as typical teenage behavior and continue to have high expectations of her and her abilities. At her Deathday celebration, a special ceremony where she is expected to take her place as a bruja and embrace her abilities, Alex rebels. Seeing magic as a curse, Alex rejects her destiny by secretly casting a canto (spell) to strip herself of magic but instead banishes her entire family to Los Lagos, the underworld. Horrified by what she has done, Alex is determined to make things right and free them. She embarks on a dangerous quest into the deadly underworld with the aid of the untrustworthy and handsome Nova and her nonmagical BFF Rishi. What they find is certainly more than any of them bargained for. This work is a magical journey from start to finish. Córdova's realistic world-building is the backbone of this engaging read. She spins a fantasy tale based in Latin American culture, with original mythology that rings true. Her focus on family and relationships, along with themes of loyalty, friendship, love, revenge, and being true to oneself, comes across effortlessly. A complex cast of characters drives the plot while keeping readers captivated. VERDICT A compelling must-have for teens.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
"Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine's journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family." -Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix
"Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish." -Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.
"Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic." -Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die
"A richly Latin American, giddily exciting novel. " - The New York Times
"This work is a magical journey from start to finish... A compelling must-have for teens." - School Library Journal, starred review
"First in the Brooklyn Brujas series, Córdova's (the Vicious Deep series) magic-infused, delightfully dark story introduces readers to an engrossing, Latin Americaninspired fantasy setting and an irresistible heroine who longs to be "normal" and pines for the father that left their family behind years ago. A final twist will leave readers eager to revisit Córdova's immersive world." - Publishers Weekly
"Labyrinth Lost is more like reading Paradise Found. Zoraida Córdova brings us a new generation of witches, enchanting and complex. And every page is filled with magic." - Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die
"A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante's Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary." - Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper
"Zoraida Córdova's prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic." - Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight
"Córdova's world will leave you breathless, and her magic will ignite an envy so green you'll wish you were born a bruja. Delightfully dark and enchanting. An un-putdownable book." - Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and Shiny Broken Pieces
"Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish" - Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.
"Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine's journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family." - Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix
"Zoraida Córdova's stunning storytelling and wondrous world-building make this one to remember, and bonus: there's a multicultural, bisexual love triangle to give you the swoons." - Bustle.com
"This was a unique and interesting twist on magic from a cultural perspective that I am not very familiar with. It was fascinating, dark and compelling. I highly recommend it." - SLJ Teen Librarian Toolbox
"Dark enchantment in a witchy coming-of-age tale...Labyrinth Lost, brings a new perspective to the fantasy genre. Drawing on her Ecuadorian heritage, Córdova tells a story that is both culturally new yet hauntingly familiar." - BookPage
"Fans of darker YA filled with adventure will definitely enjoy this read." - BuzzFeed
"A terrific, galloping adventure through a vivid and wrenching underworld. " - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
"Córdova weaves Latin American religions and cultures, spellbound creatures, and a bit of a love triangle into her unique world. This one is sure to intrigue lovers of fast-paced fantasy" - School Library Connection
"Zoraida Córdova's story is enchanting, like a modern day fairy tale and just utterly alive." - Bustle.com
Top customer reviews
Labyrinth Lost revolves around Alex, a bruja living in Brooklyn with her mother and two sisters who also have magical abilities. The problem is that Alex doesn’t want to be a bruja and on the day she’s supposed to receive her blessing from her ancestors, she tries to wish her powers away- and ends up exiling her family to Los Lagos. Realizing her mistake, she sets out to bring them back but runs into a dark and sinister force in this other realm.
When this book first came out, I saw it everywhere. Twitter, tumblr, blogs… I could not escape this beautiful cover. I decided to wait and give it a few weeks to let the hype settle down before I read it because I feel like a lot of times we get swept up in other people’s exuberance for a book and miss the experience for ourselves. What I realized was that the hype around this book isn’t actually hype- it’s just that good.
The plot is strong and the pacing flows. There were several parts where the author could have bogged us down with details and chose not to which kept the plot pushing forward. I’ve seen reviews where people are criticizing the handful of answered questions we were left with and that cliffhanger ending, but hello! Sequel!
I loved all of the characters and I think the author did a pretty good job on hashing out their personalities… except for one character and it was almost enough for me to drop a star from the rating. Alex has two love interests in this story- Nova and Rishi. Nova is fleshed out and given an entire backstory and has a very strong personality. Rishi, on the other hand, we don’t get much about her besides the fact that she likes Alex and she jumped into a portal. That’s it. I can give you all sorts of facts about Nova but really nothing about Rishi. Which was terribly disappointing to me. I felt like I was forced to want Alex to go for Nova because I know all these things about him. Rishi felt very bland and dry and I really didn’t care if anything happened between her and Alex. And this is coming from someone who generally always prefer f/f ships to m/f ships.
There is also PROPER BISEXUAL REPRESENTATION in this book. None of this “half gay” stuff or “gay for you” or “straight for you”. PROPER. BISEXUAL. REPRESENTATION. Let that sink in.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes magical girls, magical boys, sarcasm, and ancestors being sassy.
That blurb doesn't really begin to tell the reader the half of it. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect spoilers in the blurb, but simply saying that she hates magic is a little off, in my opinion. She hates magic in that Elsa from Frozen kind of way. She's not ridding herself of a measly amount of power that isn't all that useful anyway or some part of herself that she doesn't feel like she identifies with. She's ridding herself of the dangerous power that she feels overwhelming her ability to control it and out of fear of what might happen were she to lose control. Sure, there are some other reasons in there and they are perfectly understandable 'I wanna be a normal girl' reasons, but I feel like those would have been manageable if not under the colossal weight of her power.
The setup is done well and I felt like I had a good grasp of the characters and where everyone stood when the plot took off. Then there's Los Lagos and the insanity ensues. I enjoyed the darkness of it. Rather than Wonderland, which is what the back cover uses, I found Los Lagos reminded me of Oz. There is an order to things, no matter how unsettling they are and the inhabitants know what that order is. Moreover, each one is just trying to do the best they can within their circumstances in much the same way as the inhabitants of Oz. they have their own motivations that are not tied to our protagonist which makes them a bit unpredictable to her and to the reader.
The worlds that stories take place in are one of my favorite parts of reading, it's why I tend to lean toward paranormal and science fiction and one of the things that's been a new joy to historical fiction. I loved the world building of this book. It's not just Los Lagos but also the world building to create this community of brujas and integrate them into Brooklyn. It's beautifully done.
I look forward to the next installment!