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 she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.
|Brooklyn Brujas #1
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Listen, a book that takes place in the outer NYC boroughs, features witchcraft, has a potential bi protagonist, AND oh yeah, she’s latinx as well? I WAS SOLD IN A HEARTBEAT! Maybe it was wish fulfillment, but Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova was just everything I have wanted in a very long time. Because of this, it had the potential to let me down, and yet, it gave me life.
Centered around a family of brujas based in Brooklyn, Labyrinth Lost follows middle daughter Alex as she fights against who her family thinks she should be, struggles to find who she actually is, and oh yeah, travels through a magical land akin to the Underworld after a spell goes awry, risking her life in the process. What really makes this book so special isn’t the magic (though it’s pretty cool), but the emotion. The ties that bind Alex so tightly she feels like she can’t breathe, but when they’re gone, she feels lost. That everything is centered on her relationship with the family, and on the search for her place within it, while magical events are afoot, just makes this feel so real and let’s it stand out from every other typical YA magical girl story.
I would be a liar, however, if I didn’t admit that it does still follow some YA conventions — namely romance with 2 love interests. However, like with everything else in the book, Cordova gives it her own take. We have a potential love triangle that DOESN’T really involve the two parties fighting constantly and forcing Alex to choose; there are moments, yes, but mostly, they are able to put differences aside for Alex’s sake and because to do otherwise would put them all in danger. Also, it’s a queer love triangle!
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova is a great read that stands out among all the other YA magical girl stories. Cordova creates multidimensional characters that feel real with realistic reactions and emotions that carry the fantastic story forward. I cannot wait for the second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series to come out!
For more in-depth commentary on Labyrinth Lost, check out the Pages and Pause Screen Podcast where I talk about the story along with my co-host Ally as it happens (Full Spoilers).