Let me give you some back story. I am a huge Charmed fan. HUGE. I’ve seen the episodes live, seen the repeats on TNT, paid $300 for the Book of Shadows DVD set, and now I binge watch once a year on Netflix. I love this damn show. So, you can imagine my glee when I saw Adam Silvera (sadist who wrote More Happy Than Not) recommend Labyrinth Lost for Charmed fans. You don’t have to tell me twice.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is like Charmed in some ways, especially the familial aspect, but in others, it’s worlds removed. This book is a magical adventure that’s filled with enchantment and whimsy, and those who love witches, spells, and being thrown into a supernatural world will appreciate this book. But, beware of a late book lull, as the thrill tapers off, and distraction finds you.
The beginning third of this novel is my favorite, since I went into this read with the Charmed mentality. It features Alejandra, a young witch who is ready to reject her magic, her charming sisters who have embraced their magic, and her mom and extended family who are excited to lead Alex on her journey as a bruja. Also, there’s Rishi, Alex’s best friend who clearly loves and worships her, and Nova, a cute boy who warns Alex to be careful with the powers she plans to reject. The first third takes place in our familiar world, and the events are the prequel to the events mentioned in the synopsis.
See, I didn’t read the synopsis, so I was excited to read a book about sisters navigating their magic in our reality as they attempt to find their place in both worlds. That theme is touched upon a bit with Alex’s angst over accepting her magic, and the competitive, love/hate dynamic that all sisters have, but after ‘the event’ those storylines got tossed aside.
Labyrith Lost then becomes a quest book, in which Alex and Nova (and some surprise visitors) must trek across Los Lagos to save her family and bring them back home. It’s a bit like Oz but with a moderately trippy world compared to Wonderland. At first, the journey is thrilling and intriguing, as Alex and Nova encounter magic beyond their imaginings, and face dangerous trials together. Then, it all starts to feel safe and predictable, Alex’s journey to self-acceptance.
Labyrinth Lost never quite reaches a level of intensity where as a reader you feel you’re about to go off a ledge, and that prevents it from being an outstanding read. There are a few twists at the end that pull you back into the story, but then it ends and you’re left wondering if you want to keep reading about these brujas in future books.
Maybe. I mean, I’m happy with it and I enjoyed reading it this last week, though it wasn’t as gripping as I’d hoped it would be. I wouldn’t recommend this for a die-hard Charmed lover, I’d recommend this for someone who likes the style of witchcraft featured in, hmm…Buffy.
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…