Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Summary: “I was chosen by the Deos. Even gods make mistakes.
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 she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family” (Goodreads).
I was really looking forward to reading Labyrinth Lost. It has an appealing plot and an appealing, diverse cast. After finishing the book, I realize that’s about all it really does have: an appealing, but poorly executed plot and an appealing, diverse cast. Most of the characters are Hispanic and some are in the LGBTQ+ community. Alex’s best friend Rishi is Indian. The descriptions of food (and there were a lot) were some of my favorite parts, but that probably isn’t saying much.
This book suffers from some very awful clichés and tropes. Right off the bat, Alex describes herself to be plain; she isn’t as good as her pretty, but shallow, older sister, and not special like her younger sister. I can’t name a book right now that carries this trope, but the overwhelming sense of deja vu I’m getting isn’t saying the same.
Then, Alex meets a guy, Nova (his name throws me off because it ends in an “a” and in Spanish that would generally make it feminine), who is breathtaking and all that jazz…and of course, when she throws herself into the underworld, he’s the one who follows her. Predictably. They barely know each other, but he helps her. Also, what was up with the scene where she loses all train of thought because he’s shirtless? Ew? Why?
It only gets worse from there.
We come face to face with a love triangle, and unfortunately, Alex and Rishi just did not have chemistry, sorry, not sorry. I would have loved to see that play out well, but it just didn’t. It felt really forced. And Alex and Nova didn’t go well together, either, mostly because he they kept bumping heads. I honestly think she should have said no to either of them, but I’m a cynic, what can I say?
As well, Alex never faces failure. She is betrayed (not saying by who) and it basically seems like she forgave them. She’s given the choice between two roads, one pretty one and one not-so-pretty one, and somehow the pretty one is actually the right choice? I think I screamed at all my friends the day I got to that part about how the pretty road NEVER ENDS UP WELL. I mean, A+ to Zoraida Cordova for finding one thing in this book that doesn’t go as expected, but at the same time, REALLY??? THAT ROAD SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GOOD. THE PRETTY STUFF IS NEVER GOOD. EVER. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
Anyway, I could probably keep ranting about what I hated and all that, but let’s do a quick overview of what I liked:
The focus on family was really nice. (Though…I didn’t like how easily everyone forgave our idiotic heroine).
The idea for the plot was very creative, definitely original, and the magic system was well-done.
The world-building was actually fairly strong.
But that’s as far as it goes, so unfortunately, it’s a two star read for me. I wish I could say I loved it…but alas.