Welcome to today’s pit stop for Labyrinth Lost! Thank you for dropping by and for Raincoast Books for organizing this tour. I would also like to thank Zoraida herself for taking the time on answering all our questions for the author Q&A. Guys, if you love reading about witches, myths, and realms, then you’re going to love this new story. It’s Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with spirits of the dead and a girl celebrating her Deathday with her entire family. Did I get your attention? Good.
Published: September 6 2016
Number of pages: 315
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, LGBTQ
Rating: 4/5 owl hoots
Alex is a bruja and a powerful witch but she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to get rid of her powers, but it soon backfires and everyone in her entire family vanishes. She is left alone with a brujo boy name Nova whose intentions are dark as the strange markings on his skin. The only way to save her family is to travel to Los Lagos with Nova, a land in-between and as strange as Wonderland.
An advanced reading copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Do not edit or copy my review without permission.
First of all thank you to Raincoast for sending me the ARC. After learning about it at the Spring/Fall Preview, I just knew that I had to have this. A story about brujos and brujas, a girl’s desire to be normal and denying her powers, but then poof! Her family disappears and she’s forced to travel to another world of lost souls to rescue them all. It’s sounds pretty straight forward, but there are more surprises and twists in the plot that keeps you guessing and when I reached the end, I am still left with this empty feeling that cannot be filled until I read the sequel in which I have to wait another year for!
With my own words I would describe this as Pan’s Labyrinth meets Alice in Wonderland. Zoraida has created this whole new world that made me want to be a part of. A world of the dead with wandering souls, mythical creatures, magic, and the big bad witch who calls herself the Devourer. I love how she describes every detail about the Los Lagos, her writing is so beautiful and vivid that I could imagine every scenery and landscape as Alex and Nova travel together after falling through the rabbit portal hole. It was so much like Alice in Wonderland except Alice never had to fight off dead spirits, meet large bird creatures and dangerous fairies that can glamour themselves. On top of that you have an ancient and mysterious witch determined to be the most powerful bruja in the realm. From the dangerous creatures and monsters to the living shadows that lurk in the dark, I felt so lost in this other world that I wanted to see more as I followed our hero.
We have Alex and Nova a bruja and a brujo who met each other by chance before the events of her Deathday. At first I thought this was going to turn out to be a boy meets girl romance but that never happens, and I was glad for that because I find those types of romances tiring in YA. The romance is very settle which I don’t mind. I hadn’t anticipated a female/female pairing; one of the reasons I was caught off guard was because I had thought Alex and Nova would end up together after I read the synopsis, but I like it when authors surprise their readers and I am always in the support of more LGBTQ characters in YA.
Alex is an interesting character but not one of the most stand out heroines that I’ve read before in YA. She’s a bruja who hates magic and imagines having a normal life and while her sisters love spending time harnessing their powers and celebrating all things magical, all Alex wants to do is go to school, study and do her homework without having to carry around weird charms to ward off spirits. But I personally think there is nothing wrong about being a little weird, and honestly I would love to learn how to do spells and curses but can do without the dead spirits. Watching Alex going through trials to save her family in Los Lagos were my favorite parts as she meets strange creatures, finds new enemies and allies, while taking control of who she is and who she wants to be. The ending wrapped up nicely as Alex finds peace by accepting herself and learning that becoming a powerful bruja doesn’t have to be a burden but a gift and a responsibility for what it can do for you and for your loved ones. But an ending isn’t the same without a cliffhanger, except there have been hints about an appearance that I sort of knew they were going to come back.
Although some parts of the plot were predictable we are treated with a few surprises including betrayals, a new love, and stories of ancient myths which I eventually learned from the Q&A are inspired by Latin American cultures. I had so much fun diving into the world of Los Lagos and reading about the Deos and the different mythical creatures that dwell in this realm. It’s a beautiful and dangerous place with strange wonders that I would recommend this book just to explore this new fictional world. I don’t know if we will ever see this place again in the series, but it’s definitely a must see!
Author Q & A:
Q. I’m 30 chapters in and I love how the story and the characters are developing so far. I’ve read stories of witches before but nothing like this. I absolutely love how you weave Ecuadorian myths and religions into your story as I find it so exciting to read about different cultures. I’m also inspired to travel to Ecuador one day too.
Now for my question. I love how you portray Alex’s family and her sisters! I have a
sister too which is why I love reading sisterhood. Do you have a sister and would you say that your relationship with her helped you inspire your writing about Alex’s sisters? Will we also see more of Alex, Lula, and Rose together later in the series?
A. I’m glad you like the mythology I’ve created! The myths in Labyrinth Lost are not Ecuadorian. The Deos are all made up. The creatures like the Avianas are my take on Harpies. The Meadowkin is my take on fairies. Though I’m glad this makes you want to visit Ecuador. It has very beautiful areas.
Back to the myths. The maloscuros (creatures of shadow that search for powers) are based on the “cuco.” The cuco is a creature found across different Latin American cultures. Mexico has the cucuy, which is similar. Legends and myths travel by word of mouth, and I’m not surprised that Latin America shares so many similarities since most of the countries share a language.
As for your question, I have a brother! He’s five years younger than me, but we have
the typical relationship that siblings do. We fought and bickered our whole lives. I very much enjoyed being an only child until he showed up, though I’ve come around to liking him a whole lot. We’re roommates now. As adults we get along wonderfully. He’s a musician. He writes songs and plays guitar. I don’t know where we get our pension for the artistic side of life, but we just love to create. And YES. Alex’s journey is over, but the world of the Brooklyn Brujas continues. Book 2 is Lula’s journey. Book 3 will be all Rose.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by and stay tune for more pit stops during the blog tour!