Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth LostAuthor: Zoraida Cordova

Website: zoraidacordova.com

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads 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 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…

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“Zoraida Cordova’s prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic.” -Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight

“Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine’s journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family.” -Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix

“A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.” -Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper

“Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish.” -Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.

overall feelings copy

I received Labyrinth Lost in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

When it comes to young adult books, there is a lack of diversity when it comes to the main characters. I was so thrilled that I finally encountered a Hispanic, urban fantasy, young adult novel that not only has a diverse set of characters, but is also LGBT! Let me just say that the book community needs more diversity! I cannot stress that enough. Also, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month and Labyrinth Lost was the perfect choice for me, a Latina.

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Alex is a bruja who loathes her magic, and she is one of the most powerful brujas in her family, but she hides her magical abilities from everyone. Many say that it is a blessing, but not for Alex. Alex wants to live a normal life, but she hates the complications of having to live a double life of being a bruja and a teen. An event triggers Alex to use her magic, and she can no longer hide her magic from her family. Preparations start for Alex’s Deathday, which is similar to a quinceañera. Alex tries to get rid of her magic, and it all backfires on her. She instantly looses her family to another dimenison by using her magic.

Alex grew on me. I’ll admit it.  I didn’t like her early on, but the more I read, I noticed how much changed Alex for the better. She’s responsible and studious, and only wants a normal life. She doesn’t want to be seen as a freak in school and tries her best to conceal her magical ability. She learns to become powerful from the event she faces, especially when she crosses to Los Lagos. Alex does whatever it takes to save her family. She wants to redeem herself from her mistakes. On the journey she learns to accept her fate, and she becomes far more wiser because of it.

Moving on to the love triangle. Alex is best friends with Rishi, and has romantic feelings for her. Rishi has no idea that Alex is a bruja. Rishi is makes Alex feel comfortable and safe. There is also Nova, a brujo, who has a love-hate relationship with Alex.  Nova is the opposite of safe. He’s somewhat of a bad boy. What I loved is how the love triangle reminded of Pearl and Greg from Steven Universe.

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I loved how Rishi and Nova didn’t get along at all. They seemed to be competing over Alex which I loved. Personally, I preferred Rishi over Nova, but that’s just me.

One of the best aspects of the book is not the romance, but the love Alex has for her family. I loved how Alex’s family plays a huge role in her life. They weren’t just background characters. Throughout Alex’s whole journey, they helped her in any way they could. I loved how all the women in Alex’s family were strong. Especially the part where Alex was speaking to her dead great-grandmother. Also, may I just say that Alex’s family was very accepting and forgiving.

Reasons to read Labyrinth Lost:

  • Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.
  • LGBT
  • Brujas
  • Awesome mythology
  • Good character arcs
  • Strong female characters
  • Fantastical creatures

As for the whole journey, I loved it. Labyrinth Lost reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and Pan’s Labyrinth. A perfect spooky package. If possible, I would love this book to get adapted into a movie, preferably an animated movie. I had high expectations for Labyrinth Lost and I was so pleased that I loved the book. It has a special place in my heart, and this is the book that has helped me get out of my book slump! This book is ideal to read for Halloween and Hispanic Heritage Month!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott: Book Review

“People trust their eyes above all else – but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆Goodreads Synopsis: A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

Review: A fantastic reimagining of Cinderella. Suzume has gone through many hardships at such a young age. The death of her father and cousin haunt her. She is forced to live with her stepfather, Terayama, and mother, Yukiko. In this story, there are no wicked stepsisters and the Shadow Ball is not a charming escape to a better life. This story is about revenge, love, and magic.

Suzume, I loved her! She is content with being plain looking. She had to endure so much pain. Her mother was very submissive and loyal to Terayama. Suzume couldn’t talk to anyone about her feelings and resorted to cutting herself in order to cope. She has a gift of shadow weaving, she is very talented with her gift, but she was never aware of her powers. She is very determined, angsty, and stubborn. When she makes a plan, she wants to see it happen. She doesn’t believe she deserves happiness and believes that the only way to atone for her sins is to avenge her fallen family. Though Suzume has to change her identity several times, she knew how to adapt and stay strong in order to survive. ≧ω≦

Otieno, is Suzume’s love interest. From the moment he saw her, he knew that she was “the one”. He is not the prince, instead, he is close allies to the Moon Prince. He is also a talented shadow weaver. He became involved in Suzume’s life when Terayama almost tried to kill her in order to get Otieno and his family’s attention. He is Suzume’s opposite, whereas Suzume believes she does not deserve love, he does. He is optimistic about their future and may I say, he has a lot of patience with her. Though Suzume tries to avoid him, he always finds a way to be with her. Lastly, biracial couple. Yassss!!! ✧٩(•́⌄•́๑)

The magical fairy of this story would be Akira. Akira was the former Shadow Bride, who meets Suzume in jail. I really loved Akira, she was my favorite character. She was sassy and lovely. She was a legend among young children since the typical Shadow Bride isn’t a courtesan. I really loved her relationship with Suzume. I thought it was so cute how the two of them decided to stay sisters.

(☞◣д◢)☞ Lord Terayama was my least favorite character. He got what he deserved in the end. I liked how the author gave him a backstory. He wasn’t just some random background character that her mother remarries. He plays a crucial role in Suzume becoming a revenge fueled girl.  But Suzume’s mother, I was disappointed with the most. She tells her daughter that she loves her, but would rather listen to what her new husband says. She feels threaten when the attention is not on her. There were moments that showed how motherly she was, but most of the time, she wants to move on and forget all about the past. She never protects Suzume, ever. If I could describe her in one word it would be coward.

The Moon Prince isn’t the love interest, one would think since this is a Cinderella retelling. The Shadow Ball isn’t the dreamy party of the year. In fact, the Shadow Ball is an event for one girl to become the prince’s Shadow Bride. The winner of the Shadow Ball is to be with the prince, but could never marry for the rest of her life. I loved the world that the author created. It would have been cool if the author went into more detail about the moon kingdom. After reading the final chapter, I wanted more. I wanted to know the fate of Suzume and Otieno. But for now, I’ll just imagine that they got their happily ever after. ╭(♡・ㅂ・)و ̑̑

Shadows On the Moon did remind me of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I would recommend this story to fans of the Lunar Chronicles and pretty much anyone who loves a good revenge story. It’s a standalone book too. There are no frustrating love triangles!!!

Quotes:

Better naked and alive than decent and dead, I thought.”

“You see, that is why it is so easy to fool people with our illusions, Yue. In this world, illusions are usually much kinder than the truth.”

“Real love is hard because it requires one to know and accept another person with all their faults.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.25)

Book Trailer

Read the first chapter for free. ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆