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Wayward Witch: 10/17/20

Wayward Witch

Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova is the third book in the Brooklyn Brujas series. It opens with the family celebrating Rose's birthday/death day. She's recently come into new powers but she's not sure how she feels about being a magical hacker. Then there is the new house in Queens and her amnesiac father, whose memory can't be fixed by potions or spells.

But all of those concerns have to be set aside when Rose and her father end up in the land of the Adas. Her father is a prisoner of the king and Rose has been entrusted on a quest to save the island from a creeping blight.

The land of the Adas is inspired (per the afterword) by the word, hadas, or faeries. With it being an island and being encroached upon by a blight, I am reminded of Oz. The corruption of a magical place is a recurring, popular theme among Oz pastiches.

Like Themyscira, Adas is situated on Earth, hidden from humanity via magic. While Wonder Woman's home is probably in the Mediterranean, Adas is in the Caribbean, within sight of Puerto Rico on days when the veil weakens. Oz, on the other hand, is accessible to Earth only via acts of near death and Ozian magic.

As with the previous two books, the world building, magic building, and word play is rich. Through the inclusion of Lin, a child of a human and an Adas, Rose learns the world brujex, a gender neutral word for a magic user. While Rose comes to the land of Adas knowing its stories, she learns how to interpret them against the reality she faces through her quest with Lin, Arco, and Iris.

The thematic hit of Wayward Witch is an inversion of The Emerald City of Oz. In that book, Ozma invites Dorothy's aunt and uncle to live full time in Oz. Most of the book is the road trip Dorothy takes them on to introduce them to their new home. Interestingly, Emerald City of Oz sits on the same row of the Road Narrative Spectrum as both Labyrinth Lost (2018) and Wayward Witch.

Chart showing the progression of the three novels through the road narrative spectrum.

Wayward Witch continues the series' exploration of the road narrative spectrum.

All three books, though for different reasons, have the family as traveler (33). In the first it was the goal of rescuing the family. In the second it was the family working together in New York. Now, it's the strengthening of the family bonds through the trip to and around Adas and home. I am being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers.

In volume one and three, the destination is utopia (FF). In the first book it's Los Lagos. Now it's the land of the Adas. Also, from the perspective of Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, it's utopia.

Where the three books differ is in the route taken. In Labyrinth Lost, the route is titular: the labyrinth. In the Emerald City of Oz, it's the Blue Highway (or Yellow Brick Road, and other roads). Now, though, it's the cornfield (FF). More precisely, it's a series of portals that form in mud, thus having that plant/water connection of the tkaronto. In summary, book three can be seen as family traveling through utopia via the cornfield (33FFFF).

Five stars

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