“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…
I got my copy through a work book swap (we do this really cool thing where we read books from other publishers and discuss them. Love it!), and I was really excited. Technically “got” is the wrong word as I snatched up LABYRINTH LOST.
How do I begin to talk about this book?
1) It was AH-mazing.
I’ve always been a huge fan of portal fantasies and this one pulled me in. It’s so rich, so unique, and absolutely magical. I LOVE discovering new mythologies and, as my friends know, I often swear I was a witch in a past life. But less of a Wiccan witch and more like hoodoo practitioner or a mambo. White witches get too much focus. There are witches in literally every culture. And since magical and spiritual practices are often passed down and tied to land and family, I loved seeing those themes explored through Alex’s physical and mental journey. Zoraida did a phenomenal job at crafting her own magical traditions (I loved the author’s note). I really felt like I’d become a member of the family and stepped into an entirely new world within one I already knew.
To speak more about Alex’s journey, I appreciated that it is focused on family (because she literally has to get them back) and on her realizing that she is enough and doesn’t have to have it all figured out. It’s a powerful message, but even more powerful being that it’s all from the perspective of a girl of color. WOC are often held to ridiculous standards and have enormous pressures put upon them to be strong and not show weakness…as highlighted by the scene in which we discover Alex’s mother struggled with the weight of everything when she was younger too. Her mother never shared those struggles with her, which is indicative of the way women of color are expected to handle their sufferings on their own. I never saw my parents cry until I was much older. As a result, I thought that was just a thing you didn’t do (which is probably why I rarely do).
There were just so many things I could relate to. I can’t think of how many times I wished my family away because I thought they didn’t understand me, times I thought I was a failure because everyone around me was so strong and put together. The fact that Alex’s journey ends in her acknowledging and embracing her power, means so much. Not only is she “enough,” but she becomes a total boss who saves her entire ancestral lineage.
And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the spot on portrayal of bisexuality. Listen, we bisexuals are apparently a dying breed in literature, especially among POC. I nearly died and then cried imagining some young girl reading this, maybe while questioning her own sexuality, and seeing the perfect acceptance Alex’s family has of her as well as the beautiful romance. Also, for people who were all #TeamNova / were shipping him and Alex… what the heck? I didn’t see that at ALL. Never did I once think, “Oh, yeah, Nova. He’s the one.” (although I’m not gonna lie. ..Nova’s a hot, bad boy.)mThe entire time I was just like I don’t know how but Rishi better show up and then when she did I melted.
I really enjoyed Labyrinth Lost (will probably read a lot more times…my galley has all these tabbed pages). And the ending… CALLED IT (yesssssss). There are two more books signed up, guys! It’s gonna be a bruja party.
Also, would totally read a Guide to The Deos (like Rick Riordan’s mythology guides) with Alex narrating and Rishi giving commentary (because her commentary was hilarious & the best!). Labyrinth Lost was kinda like Charmed + Buffy + kick-ass women of color aka it was ALL of my childhood fantasies combined.
Sometimes when I’m with her long enough, I forget about all the thing I can’t tell her—the fear, the cantos, the ghosts. I forget and let myself just be.”
You can channel all the gifts from the Deos. They’re right at your fingertips. You have to stop being afraid of yourself.
In honor of this magical book, I’m giving away a signed copy plus two other fantastical favorites publishing this month, written by and starring women of color.
- The Reader by Traci Chee (which is just stunning…probably the most unique epic fantasies I’ve read this year)
- Sacrifice by Cindy Pon the amazing sequel to Serpentine!
- Plus signed bookplates + swag from these amazing authors!
U.S. only. Ends 9/13.
*These will ship directly to you once the books are published later this month 🙂
*This is a 100% honest review.*
About the Author
Zoraida Córdova is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and Labyrinth Lost. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro.