Book Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
ashley | I requested an ARC of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova based solely on that beautiful cover, so the fact that I found this book had such a vibrantly imagined world was pure luck. This book cast a spell on me immediately. The story is simple enough: girl makes a huge mistake and loses her family, then enlists a boy she can’t stand to help her find and save them. It’s a well known concept formula, so for this book to really stand out, you need the details to shine, and boy do they ever. Córdova takes us to the underworld of Los Lagos, a dark and desperate place full of creature and unknowns.
The world-building game is strong here, our adventurers Alex and Nova encounter many frightening and interesting things on their journey, things I want so badly to share right now but know you should read for yourself. Los Lagos is described as kind of a dark Wonderland, which is very apt; you get that similar sense of awe and amazement, while being sort of confused and frightened for their lives.
This was by far the strongest part of this book and it kind of overshadows the rest of the story. It’s not a bad story by any means, it certainly kept me reading through in nearly one sitting, but I felt that the rest of the story felt a little dull in comparison to the incredible world it took place in. I didn’t really find anything that great about Alex, Nova or Rishi. They were good characters but nothing really stood out about them for me and I really didn’t feel like I connected to any of them very strongly. I loved the adventure they were on, but I didn’t really care what the outcome was. Alex’s sisters Lula and Rose seemed like the most lively characters of the bunch, but they were kept at an arms distance through most of the book after they were banished to Los Lagos.
As is expected, some love blossomed between some of the characters, but even that didn’t seem fully developed and sort of came out of nowhere. I do applaud the F/F affections, I really don’t see that much in books unless looking in a very specific direction and I did actually like Rishi, but the reciprocated affection from Alex was a surprise for me, which means that it came out of nowhere and don’t think it was explored enough outside of the moment it actually happened. Same with Nova’s affections, you can guess that is where things are going to end up, but there was really no growth or development or moments for the characters to bond, other than the fact that they survived a dangerous adventure, so it just seemed a little underdeveloped for me.
In a way, this reminds me of a slight take on the Wizard of Oz; a somewhat naïve girl has to battle her way through a labyrinth of obstacles with a band of misfit friends and a haunting godmother’s spirit to defeat an evil witch and get back to her family. It has a very strong family message, which I really stood behind, and the whole lore of Brujas and Brujos was a great concept and what drew me to this book in the first place. Córdova does a great job of weaving this background into the story and I found it all very interesting, though I’m not sure it’s a story I will make a point of continuing, I didn’t feel attached enough to the characters to want to see what waits for them next.
september 6, 2016