Book Haul: November Part I 2017

 

Hey, everyone!

I’ve returned to the land of the living. I haven’t been around since a cold kicked me pretty hard earlier this month, and I needed a glass shard removed from my hand, so I’m finally catching up on my blog. I missed talking with fellow bloggers and finding new books. So I’m back! So let’s get to the post.

Christmas is coming, so I kind of splurged last month (I regret nothing). I’ve been hoping to finally buy some of the books off my TBR list, and these ones are at the top. I cannot wait to crack these open.

Later this week, I’ll post part II of my big Christmas haul. Can’t wait!

 

Book Haul Lineup October

 

Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

For years, my friend Dana has been hounding me to pick up this series, but I always seemed to forget. Anyways, Indigo persuaded to me to buy most of the series (who can say no to a great book deal?), and I hope to get Winter and the other two books to complete the set. I don’t know what’s in store for me, but I’m loving the fairytale retelling genre.

What do you think of this series?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Grishaverse Series by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve known of this series for several years now, but I haven’t picked it up yet, even though I’ve read Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, and Language of Thorns. At this point, I’ll buy anything Leigh writes. I also heard that she’s writing a new duology series starring Nikolai Lantsov, who stole the show in Crooked Kingdom. So I’d love to jump into the Grisha world once again.

Do you prefer Six of Crows series over this one?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Yes, I should have read this book before reading the Dark Artifices series, but I skipped over it. I hope that I get more Malec, Sizzy, and Clace since I don’t see much of these characters in Dark Artifices. And I’m dying to see how Simon transforms into a Shadowhunter.

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Waiting on Wednesday: An Enchantment of Ravens and The Language of Thorns

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

 

An Enchantment of Ravens

Margaret Rogerson

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Page Count: 304

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumn lands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Why Am I Waiting?

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this debut novel. I can’t wait to read it. I need more fae stories in my life! And just read that blurb. Doesn’t it sound wonderful?

The overall concept of the book is giving me a Wintersong feel to it. So I hope it’ll live up to the hype. And I can’t get over how beautiful that cover is!

 


The Language of Thorns

Leigh Bardugo

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Page Count: 288

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange―to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

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Why Am I Waiting?

Let me be honest here. I will buy anything, ANYTHING, from Leigh, so delving more into Grishaverse is just what I’ve been looking for. Even though I haven’t read the Grisha Trilogy, which is on my Christmas haul, I’ve been dying to get into it since I first read Six of Crows. On Goodreads, I also saw some of the interior illustrations, and they’re just convincing me more to buy this book.

Secretly, since I missed out on the Grishaverse when it first came out, I hope the author will expand the world even more than she has with her two other series. A book lover can always hope!

Are you looking forward to it? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday: One Dark Throne

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

 

One Dark Throne

Kendare Blake

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Page Count: 464

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

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Why Am I Waiting?

 

I’ve been waiting months, MONTHS for this book. That cliff hanger in Three Dark Crowns kept bugging me equally as long. And I cannot wait to see how this series continues. Kendare creates a unique premise in her first novel with dark themes and dangerous political plays. What stands out from this book is the matriarchy, which I wasn’t expecting in a YA fantasy. And while I can’t stand two particular characters (*cough*Joseph and Mirabella*cough*), I love the book.

And I’ve just found out that there are four books in this series, not just two. So I am a happy, happy fangirl. 😍

 

Who else is excited for One Dark Throne?! Let me know in the comments.

Reading Wrap-Up: June 2017

 

Last month was pretty slow, but I put a small dent in my TBR list. What did you read? Let me know in the comments!

The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This instalment is Aeron’s redemption. Gena throws in some forbidden love by bringing in Olivia (an angel determined to win over Aeron), betrayal, and sacrifices. Aeron certainly wasn’t my favourite character, but I’ve grown to love the big ball of anger. Clearly I can’t get enough of the series. 😅

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mallory’s debut novel, Black Dawn, gets off to a good start. Mallory throws in a lost heir to a magical realm, plot twists, and betrayal. Don’t expect a slow chapter. She doesn’t stop the action. I hope to see more of this debut author!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Our Dark Duet is one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. And I’ve been dying to see how August and Kate live with what they’ve done in This Savage Song. Victoria creates a beautiful character-driven sequel. And I’m sad to see the Monsters of Verity series end so soon.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

When I picked up this book, I anticipated it to be a complicated read since Gideon, the keeper of Lies, cannot speak the truth, so I’d have to interpret what he was saying. Wrong. His demon interests me even more because I had to work for it. The romance between him and Scarlet sparks more intrigue, and I wasn’t expecting that plot twist!

Don’t miss my review!

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Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 698

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?


Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


“There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.”

Lady Midnight is a poignant story with a forbidden love at its core. Cassie shows the darker side of her unforgiving and sometimes cruel world and opens up new arcs that, I’m sure, will attract Shadowhunter lovers who have been dying to see what happens to Julian, his family, and Emma.

Five years have past since the Dark War, where the Downworld was severed in two, and Shadowhunters suffered major losses after Clary’s brother, Jonathan (Sebastian) Morgenstern, waged war with them. Emma Carstairs, who lost her parents in that war, looks for retribution, and when she finds similar deaths matching her parents’, and the Fair Folk presents her and Julian, who hopes to find a way to save his brother Mark, with an offer to find the killer, she can’t turn it down. The only problem is that she may be falling for her parabatai.

Cassie’s earlier series have always been my guilty pleasure. And while I enjoyed some of her past work, Lady Midnight, the first instalment in Dark Artifices, has a stronger potential than the others. Cassie injects darker tones and arcs that have kept me on the edge.

But what I enjoy the most is how Cassie explores the faerie world in more depth, builds her characters, represents the LGBTQ community, and makes this book a character-driven piece. Because of the alliance with Jonathan, the Fair Folk lost its seat on the Council and has no protection or lands. And all Shadowhunters and the Downworlders must follow this new treaty, the Cold Peace. The Council, especially the Shadowhunters, ostracizes these people. And while the war is over, tension is now rising and causing more havoc. Cassie plays off and mirrors current political tensions in our own society.

What shines in this novel is the Blackthorn family (and in extension Emma). In City of Heavenly Fire, the Blackthorns face a devastating lost when they discover that the Wild Hunt took possession of Mark after the Seelie Queen and Jonathan gave him up to Gwyn, the leader of the Hunt. And once the treaty was enacted, their sister Helen, who is also half-fae, is banished to Wrangel Island.

 

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

For the past five years, Julian—with the help from his parabatai, Emma—has been holding his family together. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading about this broken yet determined character. That poor boy just breaks my heart. And his struggle and secrets will break yours. I love both his and Emma’s character developments. And Tiberius, who also has autism, snags what’s left of my heart.

Mark has always stuck out to me. I’ve been waiting to read his story when I last read COHF. Since the Wild Hunt took control of him, pain riddles his past. Sometimes reading his scenes was difficult to get through. But Cassie captures PTSD quite well. His love interest comes from his years in the Hunt. Unfortunately, I cannot stand Kieran, son of the Unseelie King. Fight me on my opinion, but their connection seems controlling. I felt as if Kieran owns Mark, and I hated this arc. If that love interest was written in a different way, I’d support it. Mark’s other potential love interest is with Cristina Mendoza Rosales, who I think is a breath of fresh air.

Emma stands out from the rest. Even though she lives with the Blackthorns, she survives off her vengeance alone. It fuels her need to avenge her family. She reminds me a little of Jace. Fans of the Shadowhunter world haven’t seen the disastrous consequences of parabatais falling in love. Obviously, Emma and Julian travel down this road, which has a chance to split their family apart.

With this new Shadowhunter series, Cassie gives you a dark and gritty storyline, a forbidden love, intriguing plot twists, and characters who will surely melt your heart. I’m curious to see what she has next in Lord of Shadows.

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

23308087Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 416

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.


“I’ve never been angry to have been born a woman. There have been times I’ve been angry at how the world treats us, but I see being a woman as a challenge I must fight.”

Wow. Plot twists don’t always surprise me or catch me off guard, but Flame in the Mist has taken me for a magic-filled journey that I wasn’t expecting. Renée creates a culturally rich story I don’t want to leave. And I’m not sure how to express my love I have for this book.

After surviving a botched attack, Mariko, daughter of a samuri who seeks a higher station in life, infiltrates the Black Clan, a ruthless gang hired to kill her on her way to meet her betrothed. A hidden alchemist and inventor dressing as a peasant boy, she is determined to discover why she was almost murdered and who paid the Black Clan to go forth with her death. But when her plan goes awry, the clan takes her prisoner. There she meets the leader of the clan, Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami, and realizes that secrets and lies enshroud these two and the life she has always known isn’t what she thought it was.

 

“Sometimes we must fall forward to keep moving. Remain motionless—remain unyielding—and you are as good as dead. Death follows indecision, like a twisted shadow. Fall forward. Keep moving. Even if you must pick yourself up first.”

Renée throws in touches of Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes and a dash of Robinhood. I’m not convinced of the Mulan connection though. But I easily fell in to her book and couldn’t get out. The only things keeping me from it were sleep and, well, life. I’m not always a fan of fast-paced fantasy novels. Sometimes some scenes are lacking what I crave. But she paces this book beautifully. She captures the setting in such a way that I could immediately imagine what I was reading and adds just enough magic to spark my interest. I love her writing. It isn’t grandiose. It is straightforward, but it also takes you a magical adventure. Hidden agendas, political deception, secrets, lies, plot twists, and slow burning romance will captivate readers who look for a story that stands out from the rest.

Do you know what I look for in the literary world? More women empowerment. But more importantly, I look for male characters who aren’t afraid of women who fight back and are willing to support them. In some stories, you get women tearing down others. Why? Tell me how women shaming helps us. It doesn’t. Now that we have that issue behind us, Flame in the Mist exudes women empowerment. Renée’s book had me dancing in my chair and quietly yelling, “Yes!” Bless Renée for incorporating it into her book.

No, I cannot say I am an expert on Japanese mythology, culture, or traditions. I feel that Renée has honoured them though, and she certainly brings them to the forefront of her writing. You see the attention to detail she weaves in, and I enjoy how this culture stands on its own. She also puts in Japan-inspired creatures that kept my fangirl screaming. The jubokko, a vampire tree, may just be my favourite. A VAMPIRE TREE, people. Have some respect for an author who writes that in.

But what shines above all else are her characters. I rarely say that I enjoy all characters. I usually find a flaw I can’t stand or a character development that doesn’t make sense, but I love hers. No characters were needlessly added for a filler. Each one adds to the story. Mariko’s quiet demeanour and resolve allow her talents to be through life. But don’t let them fool you. Behind them, Mariko‘s a force no one should go up against. Her family members underestimate this alchemist, and in doing so, they set her on a track to prove her worth. I adore her. The odd calls to odd, I say. She refuses to let the world bend her and to change her to what she family wants her to be.

Okami, the Wolf of the Black Clan, creeps up on you. Authors will always grab my attention when they write a tortured, silent, yet argumentative man who likes nothing more than to test the main character. Lord help me if I find this kind of man. I’ll be done for. He moves the story along and adds intrigue to it as well. You get glimpses of Takeda Ranmaru. But what you see interests me. Both men—hell, all these men live by a code—are connected by their father’s past. They have untold stories, and I hope Renée explores them further in the sequel.

Flame in the Mist may be my first story I’ve read from Renée’s repertoire, but I hope to read her previous work and truly hope to read more from her. She has developed a beautiful craft that will take her far. I cannot wait to see what she will do for the sequel!

Spring 2017 Recent and Upcoming Releases

This little bookworm needs to stop being shy around other bloggers. Bloggers mean friends. And friends are good (not food [I had to throw that in 😂]) So let’s talk books! What are you looking forward to for this season? What’s on your pre-order list? What’s your instant buy? Let me know in the comments. Here’s my list for recent and upcoming releases I’ve been waiting for.

 

Missing (April 18)

Another Kelley book? Come on, it’s me. Kelley publishes a book, and I’ll buy it. This YA has an interesting twist. The kids in Reeve’s End always leave town, but when Winter Crane discovers a boy left for dead, she wonders if all the children who have left are missing. Sounds interesting? Yes, indeed. I can’t wait to jump into another one of her mystery/thriller books. She hasn’t written many YA mysteries, so I wonder where she’ll go with this one.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin (May 2)

I’m slipping more into the YA genre. And I admit that I’m completely and entirely hooked. Just twelve more days. TWELVE DAYS. I haven’t anticipated a book this badly. And we get 720 glorious pages! Okay, calm yourself, Sib. Now A Court of Wings and Ruins may just kill me, but I want it more than any other book (fighting words, yes?).

I can’t get enough of this series. The fanfiction doesn’t satisfy me, the illustrations somewhat stave off my anticipation, but I need the book. And my little bat babies. Hello, wingspan. 😍 Cue the fangirl screaming now. Cauldron help me.

 

Flame in the Mist (May 16)

Look at this cover! I’m in love. For months, I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the Flame in the Mist. Betrayal, murder, Feudal Japan, and a kickass woman who infiltrates a male-only gang? I’m in. I haven’t read any of Renée‘s other work, but her book certainly piques my interest.

Waiting on Wednesday: Our Dark Duet

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

 

Our Dark Duet

Victoria Schwab

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Page Count: 528

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Why Am I Waiting?

Do not read the synoposis. Do. Not. Read. Okay, on to the post! You know when you find a book so good that you’re dying to get your hands on the sequel? Well, Our Dark Duet is said book. I haven’t even finished This Savage Song, but I want it. I enjoy Victoria’s writing style. She impresses me with her ability to write a scene and a character. I haven’t read her previous books, but I’ll soon rectify that problem soon enough. The plot around violence creating monsters is beyond what I was expecting out the series. But I love it. I can’t wait to finish the first book so I can delve right into the final.

Wrap-up: March 2017

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Faeries, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, beautiful storytelling, and political plays? I’m set. This series has been on my TBR list for almost a year, and I regret not reading it sooner. I’d definitely recommend it, but hold out on your opinions on the book until you read the sequel! You’ll be surprised at the turnaround.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book De

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

How many times do I say the sequel is better than the first book? RARELY. But A Court of Mist and Fury destroys every expectation you may have. Sarah masters foreshadowing. Perhaps some people didn’t like the pacing in the book, but I enjoyed it a lot. This sequel is definitely on my reread list. I can’t wait to get my hands on A Court of Wings and Ruin.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was a huge surprise for me. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but surprisingly, I do. I may have liked it better if I weren’t in such a reading slump, when I read it. Labyrinth Lost is a unique, diverse find. Zoraida incorporates many Latin American traditions. The culture in this book makes it shine and stands out against many YA novels. And I’m a sucker for beautifully designed books.

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MOM by Collin Piprell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MOM has taken me on a psychedelic trip, and I’m still trying to land on my feet. Picture a futuristic world where the remaining human population lives in malls. And MOM goes from protecting people to becoming self-aware. But their world is turned upside down when they realize MOM may have lied all this time.

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Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Extent: 336 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


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.


“It’s my turn to shape the galaxies.”

Are you looking for a story with brujas, brujos, magic, love, and betrayal? Well come here. I have a book to tell you about.

Labyrinth Lost, the first book in the Brooklyn Brujas series, takes you a magic-filled journey that will thrill you from the first to last chapter. Alejandra, also known as Alex, lives in world where magic rules and may take away everything you’ve ever loved. She doesn’t want to claim her powers, yet refusing them is simply unheard of. But when she decides to give them up, her world is torn apart when she inadvertently sends her entire family, living and dead, to Los Lagos.

I’ve been dying to finally crack open this book. Just look at it. It’s gorgeous. I’ve fallen in love with the design already. Sourcebooks Fire, you’ve done great! More importantly the author weaves together a colourful and diverse story where a teenage girl learns of self-acceptance, falls in love, and rises above her former self.

One quality that sets this book apart from other YA fantasy books is Alex’s family structure. It’s paramount in this book. And it’s something I’ve been waiting to read for a long time. How many books do I know of, where the family’s bond is positive? I can’t count on my left hand. She and her sisters share a typical sibling relationship, one I’ve been craving to read. And their mother gives up everything to ensure they’re safe. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Labyrinth Lost is rich in Latin American history. Zoraida incorporates many Latin-inspired traditions and mythology (some she’s created her own). A great aspect to this book is the level of detail in culture and lore. It keeps me turning the page and wanting to explore this world more. When Alex uses magic, it comes with a steep price (when doesn’t it?). A price that all brujas and brujos pay. And given she is a novice bruja, she doesn’t understand the consequences. Alex and Nova, a guide who conveniently knows the way, must travel to the centre of Los Lagos, an Underworld-type dimension. But magic isn’t as it seems in this other world.

 

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

Alex, the leading lady, is a strong protagonist. She’s spunky, lively, reserved, and guarded. Instead of being afraid of her sexuality, she fears her powers, which she cannot control. She even believes that they chased her father away. Throughout the story, she faces many tests so she can save her family. But in doing so, she needs to learn how to trust in who she is, what she can do, and why she owns this power.

Nova is your typical badass. He’s cocky and sometimes self-absorbed. Yet I find his history intriguing. I’m sorry, but not sorry. I’ll always look for a broken character who has a deeper and more caring soul than any other. Rishi is a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting her to be included in Alex and Nova’s journey, because she doesn’t know Alex’s secret. But she offers an airy and uplifting side to this trio. And I love her unwavering faith in Alex.

I think the only negative I have with Labyrinth Lost is Alex’s relationships with the secondary characters. I’m thrilled to read a LGBTQ book. I want to find more strong and positive gay stories. Yet I find the relationship Alex has with Rishi is slightly strained. Rishi, in my opinion, almost worships her, and sometimes I wonder if the relationship Alex has with Nova holds a stronger flame against Rishi. I feel that Alex has more attraction toward him. Even with that negative though, I love Alex’s sexuality. She’s free and not afraid to show who she is. And I adore these parts in the book. Her sexuality doesn’t hold her back, certainly isn’t a struggle she must overcome, and is a natural extension of her. Zoraida beautifully represents the LGBTQ community, and I’m proud she’s done so.

So say your cantos, jump through the portal, and take a trip to Los Lagos. Labyrinth Lost won’t disappoint, and I’m sure you’ll be wanting more when you finish the book. I know I do.

 

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

 

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