Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
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.
Labyrinth Lost, by author Zoraida Cordova, is the first installment in the Brooklyn Brujas series. Alex Mortiz is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. She is also carrying a dangerous secret she hasn't told anyone about. Her powers aren't asleep, as she's led her family to believe, they are very much alive and waiting to come alive as they do in a riotous scene in the beginning of the book. The problem is that Alex has hated magic every since her father disappeared taking her mother's happiness along with him.
While most Latino girls celebrate their Quinceañera, Alex prepares for her her Death Day which falls on her 17th birthday. It is the most important day in a bruja's life. Death Days are about being blessed by the old ones and family that has gone before her. It may also be her only opportunity to rid herself of magic. But, the curse she performs during the ceremony to rid herself of magic backfires, and her family vanishes.
Alex is forced to work with a shady character named Nova who may have some serious ambitions and plans of his own. To get her family back they must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland. A place with aviana bird people, a river of souls, Saber tooth tigers mixed with snake demon, half bird, half human Aviana's, fairies, a villain named the Devourer, and the Tree of Life which is tied to Alex's family.
Alex has map lines on her palms indicating that she is an Encantrix, just like her descendent Juanita. One could say it is the highest blessing of the Deos. Encantrix can command the elements, heal the sick, and speak to the dead. Some reviewers have compared this story to a mashup between Pan's Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland. Really comes close to being the truth.
Bottom line: Labyrinth Lost is a story about a young witch who has no desire to be like her gorgeous older sister Lula who has the ability to heal, or Rosie who is a seer, or her mother for that matter who has brought more babies into the world than any obstetrician. She just wants to be a normal girl with normal teenaged issues with her best friend Rishi. Alex is an interesting character in that the author gives her so many things she's good at. Volleyball, Indoor Track, Weightlifting, Pole Vaulting, etc.
Nova is a brujo who claims to be able to help Alex with her problems. He’s basically that ridiculously charming male lead character who you just know that he is going to break someone's heart. I am a cynical person when comes to the mysterious bad boy who makes curious and often times irritating decisions that destroy others hopes. Then, he comes around and it's like, Oh, everything is fancy dancy again! I'm not a forgiving person, and I loathe betrayals. Hopefully Nova won't be around in the next installment.
Rishi is a Hindu/Guyanese girl, and Alex’s only real non-magical friend. She’s quirky and an honest to god good person who just happens to have feelings for Alex outside of a straight up friendship. Yes, there is a slight love triangle dynamic here, but I don't believe that he weighed heavily on Alex's journey to self-awareness and what her abilities really can do.
Plus, she's get an awesome aunt Rosaria who should definitely get more storyline in coming installments. Book wrapped up in a manner that didn't need to go any further, but the author did anyway. The Epilogue really threw the story for a major loop. Next book doesn't feature Alex, so it will be interesting to see if the QUESTION is answered or not.