Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister's newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula's bruja healing powers can't fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.
Then a bus crash turns Lula's world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn't the only one who's been brought back...
Bruja Born is the second installment in author Zoraida Córdova's Brooklyn Brujas series. Labyrinth Lost introduced readers to the Mortiz family, especially sisters Alejandra (Alex), Lula (oldest), and Rose (youngest), who are witches gifted by the Deos (Gods) with a variety of different magics. It has been 7 months since the events of Labyrinth Lost in which Alex tried to rid herself of magic, and learned that she's a powerful encantrix who has the ability to control all of elemental magic. This time we ride along with Lula as she comes to grips with her emotions and her relationship with her family after Los Lagos.
Lula is making sure that Alex knows that she's not a happy camper having been sent to Los Lagos with her entire circle of witches and warlocks. Lula can’t hide the damage that her time in the spirit realm did to her physically and emotionally. She sees the scars every time she looks in a mirror. This makes things nearly impossible for friends, and especially her boyfriend Maks, to make heads or tails of her ever changing mood swings and the reason for them.
Then things are really flipped on their heads. When Maks is taken away from her in a horrible accident leaving only Lula as the sole survivor, she and her sisters do the unthinkable; they attempt to bring Maks back to life. Having learned nothing from Alex's mistakes in the previous novel, the sisters disrupt the natural order of death itself. Magic transforms, it changes and it can save you if you follow the rules. Magic comes with a cost every single time you use it.
In Lula's quest to save Maks, she disrupts the very balance of life and death and pisses off one angry Deos in the process. On this journey, Lula will need to make things right with Lady de la Muerte, the goddess of death, before she can regain a bit of her own dignity and grace and self-esteem. She and her family will face zombie like creatures called casimuertos as well as the Knights of Lavant who put down those who step out of line. They, and those like the Mortiz family, haven't exactly had a smooth relationship over the course of history.
Even with their issues, there's a very strong bond between the sisters, as well as the presence of actual adults (parents) who don't just disappear for the entire story. They are fully engaged. Especially Patricio who is trying to find his way back to normality. I admit that in the beginning of the story I was worried I wasn't going to enjoy this story. There's a whole lot of resentment by Lula towards Alex. Alex may have saved everyone, but it was because of her actions that people ended up in a bad place which has caused deep divisions in so called allies.
Plus, Alex has now accepted her role as encantrix, has become the creme of the top of magic, and has a wonderful relationship with Rishi. Plus, let's not forget the shocking ending to Labyrinth Lost shall we? That particular story still needs to be resolved, and weighs heavily on all family members. I'm curious as to the direction that the author has taken with Rose. It's apparent that she will be the narrator of the third installment. I also want to learn whether or not Lula will be given the same happiness that Alex has found. I dare say I hope so.