Review—Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

All Alejandra Mortiz wants is to never have to deal with magic. But since she comes from a family of brujas, that is a pretty difficult thing for her to accomplish.

Zoraida Córdova’s Labyrinth Lost is a rich urban-yet-not fantasy, set in both Brooklyn and the mythical Los Lagos. Alejandra thinks she will be able to hide her magic, and she is nearly successful at banishing her magic to Los Lagos.

But she commits a grave error, and must now save her family from the Devourer of Souls, a dark force that has turned Los Lagos into a desolate and deadly place. Guided by whispers from her trapped family, her indomitable friend Rishi, and the mysterious Nova Santiago, Ale must now do everything within her power—both magical and otherwise—to get her family back.

My reaction throughout the entirety of this novel is that I simply love it, for SO many reasons. The characters are amazing, the combination of mythologies is stunning, and, most importantly, so many of my Latinx students will be able to see themselves in these characters! So few books are written by or about people that look like them. This story, which speaks so directly to their experiences, is so exciting because it is so good. A former student of mine read it and as we discussed it, she mentioned that it was funny that Ale and her family had a Bruja altar in their house, while her family—and most Catholic families—have Catholic altars as well as altars to their family members.

This kind of connection is important for young adults—and “actual” adults, really—to be able to make with a book, and it is sad that it happens far too infrequently.

The wide-ranging appeal of this novel (and hopefully, many MANY followups) make it perfect for those who love fantasy of any kind, and those who just love a good story.

Jacket Copy

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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