Hey, everyone! We are very excited to be a part of the LABYRINTH LOST blog tour, which features a ton of awesome blogs. Here’s more info on the blog tour (be sure to check out the others blogs, too, if you can!)
Now, here’s the cover + synopsis via Goodreads:
“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…
Before we get to our review, we had the chance to ask Zoraida a question, which she answered for our tour! Check out the mini Q&A:
Q: Did you always have the same vision for LABYRINTH LOST from start to finish, or did it change a lot along the way? (If so, how?) Thanks so much!
A: The original outline for Labyrinth Lost did not include another realm. It was going to
stay in Brooklyn. After a while, I started wondering where her family had gone. The world of Los Lagos unraveled around me. Each part of Los Lagos started to take shape. I wrote down what every part of the land looked like and meant. Then, I had to get Alex there. I asked myself questions like “What does this land represent to her? Who are her allies? Who are her enemies?” I love the way Los Lagos turned out.
Thanks for answering our question, Zoraida!
**Disclaimer: I received the ARC from Raincoast. This has in no way biased my review.**
Now, for the review portion! I picked this up on a whim–knowing I’d have to read and review it soon, for this blog tour, and for being a part of the Resting Witch Face Squad!–and I’m so glad I did. There’s something about the writing style that makes me fall into the world; it’s first-person present, which is normally typical for more dystopian-esque books, but the narration really worked in this instance.
I haven’t read an urban fantasy in a while, or a paranormal novel. While LABYRINTH LOST isn’t exactly ‘paranormal’ it fits with that vibe, and often the whole mythology aspect reminded me of Percy Jackson! Of course, it’s YA, but I think MG readers would enjoy this book, too.
The characters all stood out distinctly: I adored the sister relationship with Alex, Lula, and Rose, and I’m super excited they will get books with their own perspectives, too! (The author announced a trilogy, each told from a different sister.)
Nova was a spectacular addition to the cast, with his dark mysteries and strange tattoos–I found myself guessing what his true backstory was, and was definitely satisfied! The story and idea of Los Lagos really came to life on the page (I’m happy there was a map!) and I felt it was a great contrast from the Brooklyn setting. But still, no matter where Alex was, everything had a signature hint of magic. The brujas/brujos mythos (as the author explains in the Author’s Note) was really well planned out, and stemmed from true Ecuadorian-inspired mythology. It kept the book very fresh and distinct in today’s book market, and I’ve never read another book like it.
Which brings me to the final (and most important!) point: DIVERSITY! There were so many elements of diversity in the novel, whether ethnically or romantically. I loved the subtle hints at an LGBTQ+ relationship, and that aspect of the story was so well-written. The author manages to convey authentic teen girl thoughts while not shoving romance down our throats. I’m not a huge fan of romance in books, and the more minor focus on romance was refreshing! (Though the romance at the end was definitely satisfying.)
Overall, the book was narrated well, and I enjoyed the overall story of Alex and finding herself, while finding her family. The ultimate battle, however, did feel a bit short–I wished it were longer, and that the enemy, the Devourer, had a bit more complexity. I think I wished there was a bit more of a motive to back everything up.
The novel also ended a cliff-hanger (WHAT?!) which I loved. I’m a huge sucker for cliffies. In fact, this book reminded me a lot of our own book (The Gemstone): with magic, a somewhat lower YA feel, and an awesome cliff-hanger, as well as a family focus.
Definitely worth picking up! (*Shows Resting Witch Face*)