(I’m only including the first part of the synopsis since I feel the last bit is spoilery)
Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.
Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.
**** Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ****
****Trigger Warnings: Violence, Death, Gore, & Self Harm (for magical purposes)****
I enjoyed the first book “Labyrinth Lost” (review here) which was told from Alex Mortiz’s POV and full of Latinx magic and mythology, it’s a fantastic book overall. I was a bit skeptical when I found out the sequel would be told from Alex’s sister Lula’s POV instead of hers but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed her perspective. I can honestly say I loved “Bruja Born” even more than “Labyrinth Lost”!
First off I’d like to say that I think the synopsis for the book is a bit on the spoilery side, I went into this without reading it and I thought it was much better that way. So I won’t be discussing the happenings of the plot in too much detail due to said spoilers. Just know that Lula finds herself in a very heart-breaking situation and thus unleashing some magical chaos. There were some moments where my heart broke for her and things got pretty emotional as well as suspenseful.
There’s still plenty of magic and mythology present in “Bruja Born” which I loved, I think we see even more world building in this one with the Thorn Hill Alliance and Knights of Lavant being brought into the fold. We see several other supernatural beings too, which I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting that with this book (I was more so focused on the brujas) but it was welcome nonetheless. I’m glad we got to see more brujeria (magic) in this book, it was really interesting to see how different each person’s magic was and to see it in action. However, I do wish we had more info on the Deos though, I’m dying to know more about them and the little paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter are such a tease!
As for the writing and pacing, both wonderful! I actually went through this book pretty quickly and it flowed so well, there were definitely no dull moments. There were also a few twists that I didn’t see coming as well, it kept my attention 100%.
I really enjoyed the overall themes present in the book as well, once again (as with Labyrinth Lost) we see strong familial bonds and positive family relationships being portrayed. It’s so refreshing to see families shown in YA that are whole and fully support each other, I especially loved how the sisters (Alex, Lula, and Rose) acted helping each other out while still bickering occasionally, as sisters do! Another sort of theme I thought was shown well was the overall acceptance of yourself as a person that we see in Lula throughout the story. Lula, for example, has scars on her face she finds hideous and uses glamour to hide them but she grows so much as a character throughout the story that she learns to accept herself for who she is physical appearance and all.
And that ending? Can I have the next book now please? You can’t leave me hanging like that! Prepare yourselves for a pretty brutal cliffhanger!
I loved the characters just as much as I did in “Labyrinth Lost” if not even more! As I already mentioned I loved that the Mortiz family is shown in such a positive light and how they all support each other no matter what. I was definitely excited to learn more about each family member as well since they’re absent for most of the first book.
Lula was a fantastic narrator and I thought she was an incredibly realistic and relatable character. She grows so much throughout the story too and I can say she’s easily a very well developed and complex character, flaws and all. I also understood the choices she made, even if they weren’t the best, and liked how she owned up to everything she did.
I really enjoyed the introduction of a few new characters such as McKay, Frederik, and Rhett. Definitely want to see more of them! I mean the side characters have so much personality and we hardly see them!
This is hard to place, there is romance in “Bruja Born” and yet it’s not in the way you’d expect. There is a focus on the relationship between Lula and her boyfriend Maks, which I always thought they were a sweet couple but that’s all I’ll say on that subject. There is a love interest that comes alone much later in the book, and I adore him even more…..
I would say the story focuses a lot more on the love between Lula and her family though, which I basically live for. I love the Mortiz family so freaking much!
What I Loved:
- Fast pacing & writing that flowed well
- Engaging plot with some great twists
- Strong family relationships
- Great world building and mythology
- It’s diverse YA fantasy!
- All of the characters were lovable and well developed overall
What I Didn’t Love:
- That mean cliffhanger ending!
- I would love to see the world building and mythology fleshed out even more
I recommend checking out “Bruja Born” if you were a fan of “Labyrinth Lost”, this sequel will not disappoint you! If you’re looking for a magical, diverse YA fantasy to add to your TBR then this is the series for you!