Tag Archives: Witchcraft

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

The pool has been a place where many women have spent the last minutes of their life, whether by suicide or by force; maybe even murder. Nel Abbott tries in vain to reach out to her little sister, who ignores her until she receives a call that Nel is dead.

When Jules Abbott receives news that her older sister, Nel, has been found in the drowning pool, she drives back to the town that she had vowed never to return to. With Nel’s fifteen year old daughter, Lena, who believes that her mother has committed suicide and a town that she vowed to never return to, Jules is forced to relieve experiences that she’d rather forget. Lena is angry with her aunt for ignoring her mother for so long and doesn’t even want her around.

 

I picked up this book because Paula Hawkin’s last title, The Girl On the Train, was intriguing to me. Into the Water was fine. It’s very hard to follow a blockbuster like Girl, which had national success. It reminded me of when I rushed to read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger after the huge success of The Time Traveler’s Wife. I was very disappointed. I felt like the author built you up so high and then left you there to dangle without ever knowing if you would sink or float.

I will not say that the book didn’t have its moments but it’s so hard to get invested in characters that you don’t even like. For argument’s sake, you can say that the title is intriguing, and it is, but…it was all over the place. There were too many characters to count. There were too many back stories to remember. There were too many time hops and not enough real story. To top it all off, the ending felt almost like an afterthought.

I really suggest that you check it out and prove me wrong. Maybe I missed something. Let me know your thoughts. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

– Reviewed by Damera, Newburg Branch

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