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…
On one hand, urban fantasy isn’t really my thing. On the other, I’m always 100% here for latinxs in ANY kind of fantasy. It doesn’t even matter that they aren’t Brazilian (well, they never are), I get excited anyway.
That’s why I picked up Labyrinth Lost as soon as I could and for the first 40% or so I couldn’t put it down (really – it was almost 2am when I finally gave up and decided to finish it when I woke up). The reasons for this are many: the mythology is really, really interesting, the plot is gripping and I loved Alex’s family’s dynamics.
But the story loses some of its steam around 60%, a little after Alex and Nova enter the magical world of Los Lagos. I couldn’t see Los Lagos like I wanted to, and it wasn’t because it isn’t interesting or whatever (I mean, a river of souls? A rainforest that sets itself on fire?), but because of the writing, mainly. Everything happens so fast in Labyrinth Lost that I couldn’t help but not feel much for what was happening. The obstacles Alex & Cia have to fight are too easy and in one occasion really, really cliché. The climax is also too easy/rushed, and the story falls somewhat flat because of that.
I still loved it, in a way, though. I’m not Mexican or Puerto Rican or Ecuadorian, but I still could recognize some of my culture in Labyrinth Lost. In fact, what made me rush to pick it up was a post by the author where she explained who are the brujas of Latin America (in countries that speak Spanish, that is) and I realized that we have the same thing here in Brazil, but with other names: razadeiras and benzadeiras. I’ve already visited some even, thanks to my mother’s (really big) family and their (well, our) traditions. And speaking of family, it was nice to see one that looked a lot more like mine than the average white American family do. I chuckled during the Deathday scenes (before everything went to shit, obviously) because it was so much like what happens in my grandma’s house in São João.
So, I still keep reading this series. I love the world & the mythology, and the characters are nice enough. I just wish the writing was stronger. 3.5 stars.
PS: I’ve seen people say there is a love triangle in this book but I don’t really think so? Also, Alex is bi and her relationship with Rishi is precious.