I’ve been so SO excited to review this book and time kept getting away from me. That’s my way of saying that working two jobs is more time consuming than I thought it would be, and I’ve been prioritizing sleep over writing book reviews. But now that I’ve combined the two blogs and am putting the reviews all in one place, things are looking up. So here I am! Finally reviewing Zoraida’s wonderful, lovely, witchy book.
First, I was super excited for this book to come out as soon as I heard the premise. And then the cover was one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen (I bought a hard copy after already owning the Kindle version so I could stare at the cover sometimes). And then! I read one of Z’s other books (Luck on the Line, which I’ll eventually get around to reviewing but haven’t yet, unfortunately) which was lovely and swoon-worthy. But I was saving Labyrinth Lost until I was in a good mindset for it. And I’m glad I did that, because I wanted to love it so much, and I did. I DID. Here’s the rundown:
Alejandra Mortiz has always known that she’s a bruja, even though she’s never exhibited any sort of magic or power. Her mother and older sisters are healers, and her younger sister has the gift of sight, but so far, Alex has nothing. Until a bully is actively threatening her best friend Rishi at school, that is. She shows him, and then it’s time for her deathday party. Except… she doesn’t want her powers. Her father left because of her and her magic, she just knows it. So she tries to give her powers away, with the reluctant help of Nova, a mysterious brujo she met in a shop a couple days before her deathday party. But things go drastically wrong, and Alex, Nova, and Rishi end up on a quest through Los Lagos so they can rescue Alex’s family.
ALL THE HEART EYES IN THE WHOLE WORLD, OMG.
3 Things I Loved
- Alex’s friendship/relationship with Rishi. Part of what was praised about this book when it was coming out was the fact that the main character was bisexual. Having read those reviews before starting the book, I thought that Alex’s sexuality was going to be a main part of the plot and was going to be discussed in length. It wasn’t like that at all, which I LOVED, because it just made it a part of her, rather than a plot point. As a reader, you can see the beginnings of attraction between Alex and Nova when they meet and through the beginning of their journey through Los Lagos. But once Rishi shows up, you can see that too. And sure, there’s a bit of a love triangle, and I usually hate those, but it’s rare when the two people “fighting” over the MC are of different genders. And it’s also rare for the MC to be worthy of fighting over, which I maintain that Alex so is. But what I loved the most was how Alex describes Rishi. I want so much more of them. She describes Rishi as sunshine, as brightness, as acceptance and happiness. I loved their friendship, I loved their tentative and pure love. I just loved them.
- Magic. Okay, the magic in this book is so cool. It comes both from deep within the person wielding the magic, but also from ingredients and things that are purchased and mixed together. It was such a fun nod to Latinx heritage (mostly Ecuadorian, in this case, I believe), and it was exciting and interesting to read about. I loved it.
- Family. I would argue that, throughout everything else in the book, the main thread is family. Alex thinks that she can protect her family by giving up her powers, and then she has to save her family from the creatures in Los Lagos. Family is at the forefront throughout the entire book. That’s rare with fantasy/magical realism, at least in what I’ve read. Other books have threads of it too (The Hunger Games and Red Queen come to mind) but I think it’s done a lot better here.
You know, I didn’t find anything problematic. This was #ownvoices, and I always like those takes. The only thing I can think of that niggled at me a little was the fact that there was no discussion at all about Alex’s bisexuality. That could be because she was figuring it out, sure. But it could also be because it either wasn’t included or was edited out. In any case, an acknowledgement of discovering her own bisexuality would have been nice, but it’s lovely the way it is.
Do y’all remember my Diverse/Lady Book Project rating system? Here’s a refresher:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good, but not something I’d reread
- Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart
Given this, I’m giving this book a BLUE rating. I’m still chasing that purple unicorn, but this was darn close to it. I loved it, I flew through it, and I want the next book ASAP. <3
Have you read this one? What did you think?