Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: Labyrinth Lost

Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Length: 336 pages
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: September 6, 2016
Diversity: Most characters are Latina/Afro-Latina; Hindu character; two queer characters (no labels used)
Source: eARC from NetGalley

This book was so unique. There were certain parts that reminded me of other books that I've read, or parts of the plot that were definitely tropes, but everything was executed so wonderfully that I didn't even care. (Much. Basically just enough to notice.)

I didn't quite judge this book by its cover, although it is a wonderful cover. I did judge it from the first few pages. It starts with a beautiful map of Los Lagos, and I'm a firm believer that a map makes any fantasy book better. And then, we get to the first sentence: "The second time I saw my dead Aunt Rosaria, she was dancing." If that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will.

The best part about this book is the world that it's set in. It includes a Brooklyn infused with magic and Los Lagos, a completely magical land with new surprises at every turn. I was intrigued by the blurb, and it surpassed all of my expectations. The vivid descriptions and beautiful writing take this world from interesting to incredible. A few of the explanations were glossed over so that the action wouldn't slow down too much, but I understood what was happening.

One of my favorite things about the world was that magic has its consequences. In this world, it's called a "recoil," and it shows that performing magic takes something out of you. Not that I have any expertise in the area, but I'm pretty sure that fighting with magic should be just as tiring as fighting with physical weapons, and this world showed that perfectly.

And then there's the diversity! I'm always excited about diversity in fantasy books, even when it's not a focus, because so often it feels like diversity is making leaps and bounds in contemporaries and then everything else is just filled with straight white people (not to mention cisgender, able-bodied...you get the picture). I wish more books were like this - and on top of that, it's #ownvoices, if that gets you more interested. It's just one of the many things this book has going for it.

What's your favorite diverse fantasy book? What's a book with a great first line? Tell me in the comments!

Goodreads description:
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...

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