Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.
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 markings 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…
Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.
My rating: 4/5 stars
Pros: Good characters, interesting plot, amazing worldbuilding, great writing, Alex/Rishi
Cons: Love triangle, Alex/Nova
Paranormal stories are my second favorite genre after fantasy. (Yes, I definitely consider paranormal a separate genre from fantasy.) I love stories of supernatural creatures existing in the real world. There’s something about it that makes me happy. Labyrinth Lost is definitely my type of book.
I will admit, though, that while I love a good paranormal story, I also read this book for the ff romance so I admit I’m BIased when it comes to the whole love triangle thing. (Get it, BIased? Bi?….I think it’s funny :P. Anyway…) I’ll get more into that later in my cons section. I would like to state right away, though, that Labyrinth Lost is an amazing book that I absolutely love.
Why, you may ask? I’ll tell you why.
First of all, the characters. I love good characters and Labyrinth Lost definitely delivers on that front. The main character Alex is understandably conflicted in the beginning of the story and later on grows more confident in and appreciative of her powers. There were times when I was judging her because of her dislike of her powers. I understand why she did dislike and distrust them but at the same time felt that she was seriously missing out. Having magical powers would be so cool and she just…wanted to get rid of them. Not something I can necessarily relate to. Guess I’m biased on that as well. However, I will say that all of Alex’s conflicted emotions only made her a more realistic and amazing character. Alex is great. She’s caring. She’s loyal. She’s intelligent. She’s got just the right amount of snark. I genuinely love her. Then there’s Nova. I will admit that I spent a good chunk of the beginning of the book hating him cause he was getting in the way of a possibility of ff romance but once Rishi showed up again and I knew Nova was no threat, I began to like him. He is an interesting character and is quite hilarious. He’s not one of my favorites but I do like him…kind of. After a certain event happens, I’m unsure if I can trust him but I do find him interesting and am open to trusting him again if he proves himself. Though I’ll never ship him with Alex. I just don’t see the chemistry beyond the physical/sexual tension type of chemistry. Now Rishi. I just love her. She’s such a ray of sunshine. She’s also so brave and strong and smart. And I totally ship her with Alex. They have chemistry beyond just physical. They truly know, understand, accept, and love each other. Looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book. Then there are Alex’s sisters. I love them both so much. I could go on and on, to be honest but I don’t want to spend this entire review talking about the characters. They’re all amazing, though.
Secondly, the plot is super interesting. The journey through Los Lagos is amazing and reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, and also City of Heavenly Fire. The world that Zoraida Cordova creates is very vivid, full of wonderful characters and loads of fantastical elements. From the bird-people (whose names I’m forgetting, sorry) to the fairies to the Devourer herself. The paranormal elements of the book are amazing yet the way they are described enables the reader to picture them fully and really feel as if they are in this fantastical world. There’s also a plot twist close to the end that I don’t want to give away but it’s…well it’s unexpected (at least it was for me) and something I quite enjoyed. There’s never a dull moment in Labyrinth Lost and I really appreciated that.
Thirdly, the worldbuilding. As I mentioned, the reader is able to picture the fantastical world of Los Lagos very well due to the descriptions of it. I also love all the information given about brujas and brujos. Their powers, their gods, their traditions, Los Lagos. All of it is interesting and helps the reader to be fully immersed in the story.
Fourth, the writing. It’s beautiful. It’s simply beautiful. I keep mentioning the descriptions but I’m going to mention them again because quite frankly I’m not a very visual reader. I don’t tend to picture characters and places in my head. Until a conversation with my friend before the release of the first movie, I thought that Prim in The Hunger Games had brown hair just like Katniss. I only tend to notice descriptions if they’re highlighted. For example, I know that Harry in Harry Potter has green eyes and dark hair while the Weasleys all have red hair. There is something about the writing style of Labyrinth Lost that made me pay extra attention to the descriptions of the characters and the world while reading. It’s something that I definitely appreciate.
Finally, Alex & Rishi. They deserve their own section because they’re so cute together. Their romance builds up naturally and doesn’t seem as if it’s in any way insta-lovey or built solely on sexual tension. They are close friends and know each other well so the transition from friendship to romance is a rather smooth one. Also Rishi is a ray of sunshine. Who wouldn’t want to date her?
Now on to the cons, of which there are few.
The love triangle. Although having a m-f-f love triangle was better than the usual m-f-m one, it still got slightly annoying. Though I am quite biased as far as this goes. I came for the ff romance (as well as the story and the other kinds of diversity in it) and was not in the mood for any romance besides that. So feel free to take my words in this section with a grain of salt. I just felt that the love triangle was unnecessary and took a bit of the enjoyment out of a wonderful story.
Alex/Nova in general. As I said, I’m biased. So take my words with a grain of salt. However, I found Alex and Nova’s chemistry–for lack of a better term–very out of character for Alex. She’s a very intelligent and clear headed person. Not the type to suddenly have feelings for a random guy. And to her credit, her feelings for Nova aren’t that intense. They seem to be purely physical attraction and based on the way Nova is described as looking, I can’t really blame her. However, I just feel that Alex wouldn’t think about physical attraction that much given her overall personality. She does usually snap herself out of it but I feel like she wouldn’t have to because it would be something that wouldn’t be on her radar as much as it is. But that’s just my extremely biased opinion.
Overall, this book is amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good paranormal story, cute ff romance, and beautiful writing and worldbuilding.