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Labyrinth Lost: 06/01/18
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the first of the Brooklyn Brujas YA series. It's set up with a similar premise as the Love, Sugar, Magic middle grade series, but with darker themes and higher stakes. Alex is a bruja and she's to come into her own during her death day ceremony. Again, like with A Dash of Trouble, brujas are initiated into the family through a birthday ceremony that summons the dead relatives who then help recognize the new bruja's speciality.
Alex, the newest initiate, is reluctant. She believes her magic is nothing but bad luck. She's tired of seeing her family get hurt and she doesn't want to add to it. So on her death day ceremony she tries to protect her family by stripping herself of her magic. Except the spell goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Given the emphasis on family — even dead family — participation in the upkeep of magic, it's not hard to see why or how even the spell went wrong. Alex, along with everyone else living and dead that is related to, ends up in the Los Lagos realm.
The set up, done in the first quarter or so of the book, evokes through well-meaning misstep, orphan magic and changes the setting an otherworldly labyrinth, very much like the maize maze that the Lowriders have to navigate to find their missing cat.
Through saving herself, navigating through Los Lagos, and reuniting with her family, Alex comes to understand how her magic works and how family makes her and her magic stronger.
I read this book for my road narrative project. It is a labyrinth and monsters on- and off-road tale that evokes orphan magic as the means for solving the labyrinth. I will write further about the symbolism of the book later.
The second book in the series, Bruja Born comes out on June 5th.