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…
****Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review****
“Labyrinth Lost” was a very delightful surprise of a book, I loved it way more than I expected to. The entire plot of the book is very unique and unlike anything I’ve read before and there is so much diversity going on here as well. Not only do we have a cast of Latin American characters but also a LGTB romance! Yes, “Labyrinth Lost” has a lot of wonderful things going on!
I would say that maybe my rating is more of a 3.5 than a 4 because while I did absolutely love certain aspects of this book I also had a few problems with it as well. For instance I loved the diversity in this story I found there to be a few inconsistencies throughout my reading of it that my nit-picky little brain couldn’t handle.
One of the big ones being the pacing, it started out decently, grabbing your attention straight away but towards the end of the book it got a little….wonky. It was too fast! While I read I had to double check and make sure I hadn’t accidentally skipped a page because what was happening changed with just a sentence. I felt like the ending was crammed into a few pages which left me more than a little unsatisfied. Overall it started out strong but was all a little too rushed at the end for my liking.
I loved the plot itself it was crammed full of magic (literally), adventure, and some very interesting world building. I loved every scrap of information on the brujas (witches), the Deos (their gods), and basically just all of their lore and mythology. Yes, I would say the world building was definitely my favorite part of “Labyrinth Lost”. There are some great plot twists that I did not see coming too because everybody loves a good plot twist, am I right? Also as you probably read in the description it’s compared briefly to “Alice in Wonderland” which is probably the best comparison I could make for this book, Los Lagos is very much a Latin version of Wonderland.
Something I didn’t enjoy all that much were the characters they weren’t as developed as they could have been in my opinion, in comparison to the vibrant world and story, the characters felt a little bland. They weren’t great and they weren’t awful, they were simply just…okay. Which is why it’s kind of hard to make up my mind on how I feel about all of the characters. I liked them but they were just sort of…two dimensional and not all that relateable for me.
Alex, the heroine, wasn’t anything special or new and she didn’t really stick out all that much in my mind. She had a bit of a case of “Special Snowflake” but not to the point where it was nauseatingly bad. Overall she was just your average YA heroine.
Nova was probably one of the most developed characters in this story and I honestly really liked him, we got to see a little bit more backstory and insight into his character than we did with anyone else. Rishi, Alex’s best friend, was probably one of the blandest characters for me. I felt like she had no other purpose in the story other than to just simply BE there and to be a love interest. She never really actually did anything to contribute to the plot and was basically just kind of useless overall.
Then there’s the villain, The Devourer. Sounds badass and incredibly terrifying, right? Wrong. This was probably one of the saddest excuses for a villain I’ve ever seen and I’m really sorry to say that because there was a lot of potential there. There was zero development or backstory or insight into The Devourer’s character, so basically we never really got a motive as to why she’s evil other than she’s just evil. How boring and very unmemorable.
My favorite characters were probably the secondary/minor characters such as Alex’s family and the inhabitants of Los Lagos, they were by far the most interesting. Probably because their characters were more “fun” and didn’t need a lot of development to be likable.
Moreover we have the romance which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand I applaud the fact that it is an F/F romance which I don’t think we see often enough in YA books but on the other hand the way it was executed was pretty bad. I felt ZERO chemistry and honestly I didn’t even think there was a romance going on at all until their sweet little kiss, which is pretty bad if you think about it, I mean how hard is it to BUILD the romance up a little instead of just diving into it headfirst out of nowhere? Alex and Rishi were such an underdeveloped couple and the whole thing felt like it was trying a little too hard. I desperately wanted to love them but I just couldn’t, the lack of development and chemistry just makes me cringe. I think Alex and Nova would have been better, sadly, because I think we saw way more bonding between them.
Overall I really did enjoy “Labyrinth Lost” but as I said it had it’s share of flaws as well. I absolutely loved the plot and the world building but the characters and romance really fell short. My favorite parts about this book would be the unique premise, Latin American characters, and the LGTB romance even if it wasn’t executed that well.
Yes! If you’re looking for any kind of diversity in a YA book this is most definitely for you! Also how can you pass up something that can be called a Latin version of Wonderland, I mean come on!
Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
I read this recently and had a lot of the same thoughts you did! I really loved the magic and mythology and the diverse aspects, but the characters definitely fell flat. It was a really fun read though!! Great review 😊
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Thank you Lauren! Sometimes I think it’s so funny when people’s thoughts align so well, glad you and I agree on so many points! It really was a good book hopefully it improves in the next one though!