[Really] Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.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 markings 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…Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.
First of all, I love the concept of the book. I've encountered the enchantment of the Fae, the magic of the Old World witches (and their descendants in modern day America), the mystics of the voodoo, and the power of the demigods; but I have never read something like these brujas.
They're not witches in the way we usually, and normally, perceive witches to be. As Alejandra tells it, it's like a combination of African, Caribbean, and Mexican mysticism. I don't know if the mythos contained herein is based on something in the real world's myths and legends (i.e. like that of Titania, Mab, and Oberon and the Nevernever) since all I could think about was Marie Laveau and Papa Legba.
But as I said, this world Ms. Cordova created was interesting. A distinctive culture and heritage; rituals passed thru generations; a brave, new world to explore.
However, I have to tell you that I struggled with this book. I finished it but I didn't like it as much as I wanted to like it.
When it became clear that Alejandra struggled with being the odd one out (and with being the middle child), what with having a beautiful, popular older sister and a precocious, special younger sister, I knew she would have a problem with her power -either she didn't have one or she ended up with one that sucked.
I was right; BUT she's The One. Don't get me started with The One concept. The One concept could be engaging and sympathetic; a character who could make you believe and root for her. But Alejandra as The One? Two word: speshul snowflake.
I would've appreciated her struggles, her issues, and her story more but the narrative and the journey hindered that.
I fought with it. There were times that I had to skip and skim sections and just go straight to the conversations. It was chaotic.
Maybe I am just spoiled with books that just lay the groundwork in a first book in the series with a plot of self-discovery and a smaller battle, all of which contribute to the major arc spanning the series. Plot point check. Oops! Not yet finished. Wait another year for the next book.
Labyrinth Lost felt like two books were combined together. Well, I could also say that two books could have been better when it was just combined to be one book. I know I felt that with other series. But in here, it just didn't work.
The romance was... yeah. I don't have a problem with Alejandra and Rishi being together; it was how they came together that's not sitting right with me. But they've been best friends since ever, someone whines. I glare: There was no build-up to get there.