Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on September 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, LGBT, Paranormal, Supernatural, Young Adult Fiction
ARC provided by BEA 2016, Sourcebooks Fire
"Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic." --Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die
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...
Praise for Labyrinth Lost:
"Zoraida Córdova's prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic." --Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight
"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
"A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante's Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary."--Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper
"Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish." --Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.
LABYRINTH LOST was such a fun story! First, I want to acknowledge a book with a bunch of diversity done right. There was a heroine not so sure of herself, a bad boy and a conflicting girl-crush all wrapped up in a fantastical adventure full of magic.
This book had my attention right away with this bruja (literal English translation= witch) family and a reluctant girl. Alex comes from a long line of powerful brujas, only her power hasn’t manifested yet. Or has it? As her Deathday is approaching her whole family is in a hurry for her power to emerge. They got way more than they bargained for when Alex turns out to be an Encantrix (the most powerful bruja to emerge in a generation), and she doesn’t want the power. What’s a girl to do, except maybe use her awesome gift to make the power disappear. That’s not exactly what happens when Alex finally tries to use her magic. Alex makes her whole family disappear instead of her power. Now all she has is Nova (an admitted bad boy) to guide her Los Lagos, the land in-between, to get her family back.
I really enjoyed that each chapter began with a little tidbit of legend (although I am not sure if it was fiction by the author or actual folklore) which helped lead into the current situation Alex found herself in. The story starts with Alex in Brooklyn
awaiting dreading her Deathday. Her home-life is full of crazy antics as her family is not “normal” and even her best friend doesn’t realize how different they are. It was nice to get to know her family before they disappeared since they were all so likeable.
The story then goes into Los Lagos where fantasy becomes reality. There was so much awesome world building in this story, I could clearly picture everything in my head. This is pretty important to me, almost as much as pacing, which was a bit of an issue towards the middle of this story. I kinda got the feeling that Alex’s power was a fix-all for anything Los Lagos could throw at them. So even when she faced certain underworld bad-asses, I knew she would pull through.
Something kinda cool happened for Alex in this story as her best friend emerged to maybe be something more for her. I don’t really know how to feel about that since I was so smitten with Nova. The thing that I struggled with throughout this story was connecting with Alex herself. The story is well told, but I didn’t feel like rooting for Alex all that much, since she seemed to take her powers and the people around her for granted. I will say that I am willing to read the sequel as long as Nova makes an appearance, and we get to know him better.
All in all this was a fun story that took me by surprise. I would recommend this to YA Fantasy fans who enjoy an adventure in a fun mythological world.
Excerpt from Labyrinth Lost
Follow our voices, sister.
Tell us the secret of your death.
Book of Cantos
he second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”
But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.
When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.
A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.
The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.
Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.
So I opened the basement door.
Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.
A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.
“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.
Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.
I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.
They were dancing.
Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.
And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.
Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.
Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.
The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name: Alejandra.
She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.
Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”
There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.
My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.
“Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”
I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.
I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.
“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.
Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”
Check out the trailer for Labyrinth Lost
Labyrinth Lost Coloring Page: http://www.sourcebooks.com/images/LabyrinthLost-ColoringPage.pdf
2 Copies of Labyrinth Lost with Signed Labyrinth Lost Bookmarks (US & Canada only)
This contest ends September 19, 2016 and is sponsored by the publisher