Goodreads⎮Reviewed Aug. 2017
Narrator: Almarie Guerra
Length: 9h 27m
Publisher: Recorded Books⎮2016
Synopsis: 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.
3.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ I started Labyrinth Lost with such hope. The beginning was amazing. It was exactly what I was expecting and what I was looking for. It was rich with culture, character and family. I enjoyed the crap out of the first 20%.
And then the setting changed and things got weird. I couldn’t connect this new fantasy realm with the way the story began. The two settings were so different. I gathered that the fantasy realm was supposed to be reminiscent of Wonderland, but I wasn’t digging it. I’ve never been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, so the mimicry didn’t hold much appeal for me.
I’m also not a huge fan of retellings, in general. They seem like a cop out, to me. But, whatever. Even if this isn’t technically considered a retelling, the adventure in “Los Lagos” sure made it feel like one. The fantasy portion of the story became very predictable and I tired of it quickly. Unfortunately for me, that “portion” ended up being the largest chunk of the book.
There were several things I loved about Labyrinth Lost, however. But because those things amounted to such a small bit of the overall story, they weren’t enough to raise my rating or opinion of it. First of all, I loved the cultural richness of the story. I was fascinated by the traditions of Alex’s family, especially those leading up and pertaining to her Deathday. I was sad for that poor bird, though (could’ve done without that).
Córdova did a nice job of building the lore of her brand of magic. To me, that was the most interesting thing about Labyrinth Lost and I wanted way more of it. I felt like Córdova left a lot on the table there. I was really interested in getting to know Alex’s family, but again, I felt short changed. Some really interesting familial characters were teased, but not heavily featured. It felt like there should have been more to the story with Alex’s aunt and father. I can only assume that these topics will be revisited it in future installments. Otherwise, they are just loose ends.
One point I won’t complain about was the romance. It was not your typical YA love triangle and I’m beyond grateful. Going in, I had no idea where the romance was going and I practically jumped for joy when I figured it out. I’ll give Córdova a pass for underdeveloping the romance, because there’s always room for to build it up in future installments. But I love where this is going. #TeamRishi
The ending of the story brought the main characters back to the original setting. This got my hopes up that things would return to the way they were in the beginning until I realized there were only a few minutes left in the book. Le sigh.
All in all, Labyrinth Lost proved to be a beautifully wrapped gift box without much more than tissue paper inside. I’m curious to see how Córdova will approach the next installment in the series, but then again, I’m not sure I’ll care enough to find out. But who knows, curiosity may win out.
Narration review: Almarie Guerra did a freaking amazing job narrating the story. During the long middle portion, her narration sustained me. With a less engaging narrator, Labyrinth Lost would have been tabled long ago. Her character voices were distinct and emotive. Her pronunciation was on par. Actually, can we talk about this for a second? I’m so glad that Córdova chose an appropriate narrator for this story. By “appropriate”, I mean someone who is properly able to pronounce Spanish words and provide an authentically accented experience. Her accent was slight, but mesmerizing. It added so much to the overall atmosphere of the story. This was a beautifully performed audiobook. ♣︎