Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

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Don’t mess with Magic!  Don’t fear it.  Respect it.  Learn how to practice it.

All lessons Alex ignored until she placed those she cared for, both living and dead, in the path of a powerful bruja.  The Destroyer drained the life and spirit of everything be it living or dead seeking dominance over Los Lagos and beyond.  Alex held the power the Destroyer craved, needed, to reach beyond the land of the dead into the land of the living.  But Alex also held the power to destroy her.

It begins in the world of the living.  Born into a family of brujas and brujos, Alex craves normality, to go to school and fit in with other teens.  But Alex has seen and done things with magic she can’t forget.  Only Rishi her best friend at school, accepts Alex as she is, even if she is weird.

Now her Deathday is coming, the day she will receive the blessing of her ancestors.  But, all Alex wants to do is stop this magic from growing, to get free.  To do this she needs a spell that will send it away, to reject it.  For this she turns to Nova, a dark brooding brujo boy.  But Nova has his own needs and wants, so can he be trusted?

The spell goes horribly wrong.  Alex sends her family, both living and dead to Los Lagos, a land in-between and straight into the clutches of an evil bruja.  Now she must go after them and bring them back.  To do this she will need the magic she has so long denied, a boy that may or may not be trusted, and a true friend that would go to the ends of the earth for her.

What Alex didn’t understand was that her blessings will free the magic within her to stretch out and prosper.  Without them, the magic can twist and turn, evolve, into something bad.  In Los Lagos, Alex will find not only herself, but adventure, danger, intrigue, mysteries, creatures, friendship and love.  She goes to right a wrong, to learn and hopefully find the wisdom she’ll need to handle this magic within her.  She goes for her family but will Alex have the strength, the courage, and enough magic to traverse this land of denudes, avianas, saberskins, and other unhelpful creatures of the realm?

The three main characters in Labyrinth Lost clearly have their different personalities.  Rishi is the most open, quirky.  Nova has the sense of a street kid, with magic, and dark under currents run through him.  Alex is lost, unsure, and regretful but in the end is the strongest.  Spirits of family members lost are easy to envision, showing up from time to time to help tell the tale and enrich the narrative.

There are a few things, McGuffins, not fully explained, but for the most part they add a bit of spice to the tale and in the end leaves room for “what if?”  There are other twists and turns in this culturally rich tale that had me running to a dictionary for more information.  I enjoyed the racial blending and the cultural point of view from which the story was spun.  The author, Zoraida Cordova, says her inspiration for this tale is Latin American religions and cultures.

This is a story to enjoy and talk about with others and a reminder that love can come from some unexpected directions.

Format Available: Book

Reviewed by Katy, Shawnee Branch