I received this as an ARC a month ago. Thank you to the publisher for making it available.
I’ll admit I didn’t like it as much as Labyrinth Lost because I thought this was a continuation of Alex’s story not that we didn’t see Alex’s story progressed but she wasn’t front and center. Her older Lula took center stage. It was interesting to read about her she dealt with the traumatic experience of surviving Los Lagos and losing her identity but I wanted to know more about Alex and how she was dealing with her new powers as an ecantrix and exploring her bisexuality. Her relationship with her best friend, Rishi was so wonderfully set up in the last book, it was disappointing not to see more of it in this one. While we are told that they are still together and happy, we only get one scene with them together. I understand why she wasn’t included in the narrative as a sinmago, she had nothing to add to the story but I still wanted to more. In the last book I found Lula to be shallow and not that interesting and she started out that way. I have more of a connection to her now but I’m still only meh on her. The one trait that Lula and Alex have in common is that they are stubborn and will do what they want even if it’s the absolutely the wrong thing to do. I got frustrated about how many times she was told, not to do that but she wouldn’t listen because it wasn’t what she wanted to hear or she thought she knew better or could figure out a different solution and the end others we left to deal with the consequences of her actions instead of her. Ugh. Oh well, the next book is going to focused on the youngest Mortiz sister, Rose and she has very intriguing powers. I’m looking forward to that one.
I knew I was going to like this book when it was revealed that Alex and her family of Brujas live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I may be a little bias but Sunset Park is the best neighborhood in Brooklyn. Anyway, Alex is from a long line of Brujas or as we say in english, Witches. While her family sees their powers as gift sees them as only curses. Her Deathday is coming and Alex will do anything to get rid of her powers. She blames them for the misfortune of her family. She believes they made her father leave when she was a child. When she accidentally banishes her family to Los Lagos, she must venture there herself with a mysterious but handsome Brujo Nova to guide her. This is a story about acceptance. Alex for so long was afraid of herself, believing that her powers were the source of her families troubles and that if she only got rid of them then they would be okay. Over time she realizes that her powers are part of her and ridding them would only getting rid a part of her. For too long she tried to hide who she was that she didn’t even know who she was. The only person she felt she could be herself around was with her friend, Rishi but even there she had to keep herself a secret. As Alex, Nova and Rishi navigate the dangers of Los Lagos, she becomes more at home with her powers but things are not as they seem. For one Nova is not who she thinks he is. It bothered me that she never really questioned why he knew so much about Los Lagos. He is quite knowledgeable about the place that only existed in myths and legends before. The best surprise was who Alex’s love interest ended up being. It was all set up to be Nova when it ended up being Rishi. How refreshing to see Queer representation of Latina and Guyanese girls. Their relationship starts as a sweet friendship. Accepting each other for who they are and not caring that one is a little odd to seeing each other for who they truly are. Alex and Nova shippers have some hope but I do hope that Alex and Rishi are the endgame. As for the rest of the story, it wasn’t perfect but it was entertainment. It’s great to have a strong Latina lead character and being kickass. Now that Alex has come into her powers, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for her and her family.
Day two of Book Riot Live started off with a bang. Rebecca Joines Schinsky and Liberty Hardy did a live recording of their podcast All the Books. Discussing all the best books released this week. Including Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and Anna Kendricks new book whose title escapes me. The two are friends and their chemistry is undeniable.
I decided that after this week I needed some levity and light so I went to the Bookish Broadway Sing-along. All songs were loosely based on books one way of another. Classics like Phantom of the Opera to Annie to Les Mis and of course Hamilton. They did a request and we all sang the Circle of Life from The Lion King. I really wish I took better photos and a video.
Next was Live Pictionary with Sarah Anderson and Valentine De Landro. Sarah writes Sarah’s scribbles and Valentine draws for Marvel, DC and cocreator of Bitch Planet. I’m amazed both at the drawing and people able to guess.
After a little donut break. I checked out Slash Live with a Alyssa Cole, Michael Strother and Zoraida Córdova. Slash is sort of like apples to apples and cards against humanity in which everyone had a set of cards with a name and description of a pop culture character. Each person takes turns picking a character and making a situation and everyone else must pick a character from their own stack and create story based on the situation. Like Xander from Buffy falling for Big foot. It’s very fun to play.
The final panel of the night was Nerd Jeopardy with Mara Wilson, Mark Osborn and Sara Farizan. It was like real jeopardy but without Alex Trebeck and all clues were about shoes. Book nerds are the best. If the panelist didn’t know the answer someone in the audience did. It was very amusing and for those who are curious, Mara won.
So that’s it for this year. I’m looking forward to what Book Riot will do next year.