Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

four out of five dragons

Labyrinth Lost is a worthwhile book if you’re a fast reader and don’t have too high of standards regarding writing style, but crave a fast-paced story with fun characters.

The sentences don’t fit together and give the feeling of non-sequiturs or perhaps a bad translation. Nova might say something rude and Alex’s heart will flutter or some equally confusing feeling. That’s not to say that the writing was bad. It just felt disjointed sometimes.  Even decisions regarding what path Alex would take were made in a confusing way. It felt like the author was trying to give us insight into Alex’s mind, but wasn’t always able to accomplish it clearly.

There are awkward snippets of how the character feels, but it had a very tell not show feel that made me feel less pulled into the story. However, it had some parts that were very show-not-tell that pulled me back in. So it was a give and take.

I will say that the story was exceptionally unique. I have never read a book quite like this one. The plot was centered around brujas, not witches!, and all the cultural differences that would entail even in the supernatural realm. The invasive family, the difficult sisters, the tragedy of her father’s disappearance all contributed to a well-rounded story. Those views we get into the life of a Brooklyn bruja was entertaining. I liked watching the family go canto shopping for strange ingredients and hearing about the classes they had to take to learn about their powers.

I loved the characters. Nova was believable with his attitude and painful backstory. I wanted to be friends with him. I also liked that Cordova didn’t make him have the long hair that seems so necessary in every other book boyfriend. Not that I don’t like long hair on a man, my husband’s hair is halfway down his back. However, I like variety and you don’t always get that much in YA. Instead it is almost always “he ran his hands through his too long hair and smiled crookedly.” I swear the phrase “smiled crookedly” should be banned from just about every book unless it is satire. Also, his tagging along made sense in the story whereas in other stories it seems like the guy is literally there to add a romantic element

Alex was easy to get attached to. She didn’t like the lot she was handed in life and so was going to do everything in her power to change it. That’s determination I can believe in. She was a very believable character as she struggled with guilt and duty as well as her own feelings about her future and choices.

The one thing I didn’t like about the characters was that it had a bit of a gay-for-you feel with Alex and Rishi. This may have been due to the fact that Alex’s sexuality simply isn’t mentioned or talked about. And I’m going to prefer to believe that was what the author was going for: the feel that sexuality is normal and doesn’t require exclamations and grand pronouncements depending on your personal situation.

A great note that Cordova added was nicknames. Just about every main character has a nickname that fits them. You’ll have to read the book to see those full names.

If I’m judging this entirely on the storyline then it would get a five, but some of the writing was low and that matters to me. So this gets a four because I’m nice.

Also, completely random, but I really like the author’s name. It fits so well with the mysticism of the story.

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