Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Book Review)

I have been waiting to read this for SO LONG! I'm too cheap to buy hardcovers generally--why buy them when I can get TWO trade papers for basically the same price?--so I've been hovering and waiting for Labyrinth Lost to come out in paperback. I follow the author, Zoraida Córdova, on Twitter, and the hype for this book had me in a tizzy. 

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From Goodreads: 

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 she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family. 

Going into this I wasn't very familiar with the Latin magic mythos, and I found the newness of it engaging and exciting. I loved that the book didn't pander to readers by over-emphasizing Spanish words, because italicizing every non-English word is a huge pet peeve of mine. 

Alex was a really interesting character; she was deeply flawed, but also likeable, which had me Team Alex all the way. Even though I REALLY wanted to love Rishi, and the ensuing bisexual love triangle, I really had a hard time with it. I didn't find the circumstances that had Rishi join in on the action to be believable, and the love triangle came out of nowhere and felt forced in a lot of places. And it really bothered me that the only thing I really knew about Rishi by the end of the book is that she's quirky and wears funny clothes, and that she had been in love with Alex for a while. 

My issues with the romantic plot and development of Rishi aside, I really did love Labyrinth Lost. The premise was unique and exciting, the pacing of the story was great, and I really loved the world that Zoraida Córdova created. I think it was a master class in writing magical realism, even if the character work suffered a little. 

4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 on Goodreads because they don't do half stars (which is stupid).