Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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 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.
First, how creepily gorgeous is that cover? I’m going to admit that this is why I gravitated toward this in the first place. I also thought Labyrinth Lost had one of the most interesting premises I’ve seen this year. Brujas and Brujos. A whole hidden world of magic and menace. A fifteen-year-old girl, just coming into her powers, which may make her one of the most powerful witches, ever. And because of some tragic events related to magic which took place in her childhood, she wants nothing more than to reject her legacy and be just a normal teen. The story begins promisingly enough, touching upon Alex’s traumatic childhood, and following the event that lead up to her Deathday, where she’ll accept her powers and the responsibilities that come with them. All this completely captivated me right up until the Deathday ceremony goes horribly wrong, and Alex and the rest of her family literally descend down the “rabbit hole” into a world, Los Lagos, that’s part Alice in Wonderland, part Dante’s Inferno, and a little of Pan’s Labyrinth. While I appreciated the gorgeously descriptive world-building, I started losing my connection to the characters and for some reason, never got it back. As I was reading I kept waiting for something to happen that would shock and amaze me, but it never did. I think that this was in large part to the characters and their actions themselves. While I appreciated the cast’s diversity, no one really stood out for me, including Alex. As most of you know I read a lot of books in this genre, and Alex just wasn’t distinguishable from the multitude of heroines I’ve read about in other YA books. As far as the villain in this story, The Devourer, there wasn’t enough development to her character to make her sufficiently scary enough for me. There’s some romance to the story between Alex and her girlfriend Rishi, but to be honest I thought their relationship came off a little stilted and not believable. It was almost as if Rishi was simply created solely for the purpose of having a LGBT romance as part of the story. I know this sounds like I hated this book, but I didn’t. I think this may be a case of “it’s me, not you.” The world-building is breathtaking and I appreciate the author’s diversity in regards to the Latina flair and Alex’s bisexuality. I think this is one of those novels that if the premise intrigues you like it did me, than I encourage you to try it.