Charmed but with Latina Brujas.
Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo
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?
I had zero expectations for this book; I saw the word Bruja and knew I wanted to read it. And as we all know, if the cover is stunning (which it is) I need to have it. This book hit so many marks for me. Full of POC characters, with a strong and varied female cast, a good portrayal of bisexuality AND bruja mythology.
I was pulled into Alex’s world immediately. Despite not loving her character to start, I grew to understand her rational and was fascinated by her family and cultural dynamics. Power NEVER felt like a positive thing to Alex and she worked to distance herself from her bruja identity. Once the secrets started to unfold, I felt more connected to Alex and loved her blunt sense of humour. Once we hit Los Lagos, things went from mostly paranormal to fantasy real quick. I thought the pacing was good and the world building was detailed enough that I could get lost in it. There were occasional moments when the world building felt slightly vague but it didn’t take away from the plot enough to bother me. That being said, I’m really looking forward to some world building advancement in book two.
I will say that I was super concerned about potential queer-baiting about halfway through the novel. It was clear that Rishi loved Alex but she was developing a romantic fascination with Nova. What wasn’t clear was if Alex’s love for Rishi was just friendly or something beyond. I honestly thought that Rishi would die after confessing her love and a heartbroken Alex would find solace in Nova. I was clearly being too pessimistic. I was pleasantly surprised when the girls got their happy ending. I was over the moon that Rishi and Alex ended up together but I can’t say that I loved Rishi’s character, despite her being exactly what Alex needed. She just felt slightly one dimensional? I love a salty, mysterious and slightly broken character (Kaz Brekker anyone?) so obviously I was a Nova fan, even after the betrayal. I know we aren’t done with his character though, so I’m really excited to see how that situation pans out in book two.
I enjoyed Labyrinth Lost and it left a very complete feeling but I didn’t end the book with a WOW. I know I loved a book when I can’t help but utter a soft “wow” at the end. Maybe I’ll fall in love with the sequel, which I will definitely be reading. I’m looking forward to diving further into bruja culture and mythology.
EDIT* Just found out book two is going to be about Lula…so maybe no more Nova. But I still don’t feel we’re done with him yet.
Until next time,