Labyrinth Lost

Labyrinth Lost

Book - 2016
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Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she's hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. When a curse she performs to rid herself of magic backfires and her family vanishes, she must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland, to get her family back.
Publisher: Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Fire, [2016]
ISBN: 9781492623168
Branch Call Number: Fiction Cordova TEEN
Characteristics: 324 pages : map ; 22 cm


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From Library Staff

Zoraida Córdova's Brooklyn Brujas series features Latinx witches.

This is about a Latina protagonist who's a bruja, by a Latina author.

From the critics

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STPL_JessKovs Sep 16, 2019

Charmed but with Latina Brujas.

I had zero expectations for this book; I saw the word Bruja and knew I wanted to read it. And as we all know, if the cover is stunning (which it is) I need to have it. This book hit so many marks for me. Full of POC characters, with a strong and varied female cast, a good portrayal of bisexuality AND bruja mythology.

I enjoyed Labyrinth Lost and it left a very complete feeling but I didn’t end the book with a WOW. I know I loved a book when I can’t help but utter a soft “wow” at the end.

Jul 05, 2018

Though this book is really nothing special, it also doesn't have any outlining flaws either. It's character cast was strong (though the lesbian relationship was definitely a minus) and the plot twist was surprising. Even with all that, this book is just good enough to make me feel bad for not saying it's great but just bad enough that it doesent deserve the title. This book gets a 8/10 and a Would Recommend if No Other Book is On The List.

Jul 02, 2018

very good. This book reminds me of Charmed and Practical Magic meets Latinx culture. Queer love is one of the themes but it mostly focuses on being different culturally and accepting one's origins as well as love relationships such as love of family, friends, etc..

JCLJoshN Jun 22, 2018

I keep saying I've gotten tired of urban fantasy, and then another novel comes along that sucks me in. But this one stands taller than most of the others. A friend described it as "Practical Magic meets Thor: Ragnarok" and she wasn't off with that. Zoraida Córdova pulls off rich, poetic, psychedelic prose that also manages to be sarcastic and laugh-out-loud funny. So good, I read bits of it to a friend over the phone so I could share my delight. The author also manages to put the characters' hearts on the book's sleeve (er, not the book jacket, just the metaphorical sleeve, you know?) while also showing how complicated and tangled emotions can get. Earnest yet convoluted. This is REAL magic.

One of my favorite elements of this novel was the world building. Drawing on Ecuadorian, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Caribbean backgrounds, Córdova blends folk traditions, syncretic religions like Santeria and other combinations of Catholicism and native religious ideas and practices, with urban Latinx speaking patterns. Everything melded together beautifully to create a rich magical world that feels uniquely Latin American. In many ways it reminded me of J.K. Rowling's use of European magical and folk traditions that influenced the type of magic and creatures that were featured in Harry Potter.

On top of the fantastic world building, I loved the themes of familial love, embracing your power, and navigating the "in between".

Often fantasy stories feature heroes or heroines from broken families or characters that have grown up without a family. Instead, Alex has a loving, if sometimes irritating, family as well as her extended family and the bruja community. Her father is missing in this book and Alex is convinced he left because of a sinister event while her sisters and mother believe he's merely missing. Despite her father's absence, her family is her world. And after their disappearance Alex fights to find them and save them.

Additionally, much like the Akata Witch series that I've reviewed previously, I appreciated the character development in this book. We see Alex at the start of the novel as a shy awkward girl, uncomfortable with her differences and her power. However, by the end of the novel, Alex has learned to embrace who she is and that she is powerful and radiant. *I'm not crying, you're crying!* To me some modern YA fantasy books shy away from demonstrating true character growth, which is why I'm very pleased with the main character in particular.

Lastly, throughout the book Alex is in the middle of a crossroads or intersections of different identities, decisions, and desires. I applaud any author that can demonstrate the dichotomies that many people from diverse backgrounds face. Along with being between the non-magical world and world of brujas, Los Lagos itself is a world in between, and she's in between childhood and adulthood. And something I think is important to include here is the fact that, yes there is a love triangle, however, this love triangle is between Alex and a female and a male love interest. This was not explicitly stated anywhere on the synopsis but I think it's an important point. It might be a little spoiler-y but I loved how natural both love interests were. The scenes were normal and not exaggerated. I've read a number of articles that discuss how bisexual relationships are often misconstrued and that bisexual women are often depicted as homewreckers and are supposedly prone to infidelity. All terrible stereotypes. Thus I was really happy to see a bisexual character where their sexuality wasn't the main focus of the story and also was not throw in for drama.

My only critique of this book is that I did get a bit tired about hearing how sexy Nova, the brujo, is and how apparently he always seemed to have his shirt off. Don't get me wrong, I love a crush-worthy love interest, it just seemed like the references to his physical attractiveness was too much. Moreover, at just over 300 pages, the plot seemed a bit rushed. The book is jam-packed with world building and character relationships; I wish it could have been slowed down just a bit to allow even more development. Lastly, I saw the plot twist about allegiances a mile off. But that didn't irk me too much because the characters and world were imaginative and endearing.

KateHillier Apr 06, 2018

Wow. This was fantastic. A well woven, intricate, and so family oriented coming of age story by way of witchcraft, and a blend of Alice in Wonderland with Dante's inferno.

Alex's family are brujas, witches, and Alex has never been comfortable with it. There are very solid reasons for that and very solid reasons for her taking her 16th birthday and Deathday as an opportunity to use magic to wish her powers away. This backfires tremendously as her entire family vanishes. Alex and her friends go on a long and hard journey for a shot to get them back. It is hard journey in more than the obvious.

The world is dark but the change Alex makes and the support she had throughout is just magical.

ArapahoeLaura Feb 07, 2018

A girl must travel through perilous danger to save her family and accept the fate she never wanted. Features a bisexual main character

Jan 22, 2018

Goodness, thank heavens that's over. This story started with a strong premise and an interesting world. But seriously, I was dragging myself through this book.

Honesty to goodness the worst part was the characters. I wasn't rooting for any of them. They all were flat and boring and one dimensional. Their motives and actions made no sense to me and I thought they were all acting before thinking and it got very annoying after seven, eight, nine times.

Another repetitive thing was the trials in Los Lagos. How many times do you have to face the evil lady before she just incinerates your ass? Or you destroy hers (which apparent all that took was some faith, trust, and pixie dust -- because the development there was too quick and unrealistic). This whole world as created, couldn't we throw some more elements to it than creepy monsters and dead relatives with advice or necessary exposition?

The romance was so silly. Rishi was a huge disappointment because her whole purpose was to love Alex. She had no life or concern of her own. I mean, does she have parents? Or siblings? Or a life other than her best friend who is the chosen one? No? Okay -- just another generic best friend character who turns into love interest.

Yes, I appreciated the diversity and the different magical system. I even appreciated the family element, especially with the sisters. But Alex was ridiculous, for all her talk about loving and trusting her family, she didn't even trust them enough to be like "Hey, my power is dangerous. Since I've never picked up a canto in my whole life, you think you experienced brujas might be able to help with this?" Could have saved everyone a lot of time. Including me.

ArapahoeBridget May 09, 2017

This is a really interesting story. I was thrilled by the romance aspect that I didn't anticipate, I loved the family and friendship bonds that wove through all elements of the story, and I really enjoyed that so much of the story defied simple definitions of wrong and right. It's a good choice if you like urban fantasy and are looking for something new.

Mar 15, 2017

Such a unique premise with great writing. It's a well-written YA fantasy with brujas. I'd certainly suggest it.

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Add Age Suitability
Jul 05, 2018

blue_dog_31717 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Oct 10, 2016

jke3322 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary
Oct 14, 2016

Alejandra Mortiz is a powerful bruja, or she would be if she hadn’t been supressing her power ever since her father’s disappearance several years earlier. But when events cause her to lose control, her power is revealed to her family, and generations of brujas and brujos begin planning her Deathday. There she will receive the blessing of her family, living and dead, and her power will be cemented. But Alex doesn’t want to be a bruja. She sees the price her mother and sisters pay for their powers, and wants no part of it. But what if giving up her power comes with a price even greater than using it?


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Oct 14, 2016

When we were children, they would scare us to sleep with stories of maloscuros under the bed. But we aren’t like normal families. Our monsters are real. Sometimes we are the monsters.


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