More Bruja Magic!
If you read my review of Labyrinth Lost, you know I love the Brooklyn Brujas series! I will admit though that I was skeptical of the book after learning that it would focus on the eldest sister, Lula. I loved Alex and her encantrix powers while the beautiful healer, Lula, didn’t click with me. Despite my skepticism I was excited to jump back into the series!
Let’s have a brief overview, first, in case you’re new to the series.
In Labyrinth Lost, Córdova introduces the Mortiz family of brujas. As mentioned above, the first book focuses on Alex who wants nothing to do with magic and attempts to reject her gifts from the Deos (gods) during her Death Day party (think a quinceañera meets Día de Muertos). The canto, or spell, backfires and sends her family to Los Lagos, which is a sort of underworld. Alex teams up with Nova, a brujo with a bad reputation. The two quest their way through the Los Lagos and Alex must make a sacrifice to save her family. Labyrinth Lost focuses on Alex’s acceptance of who she is and her own power. We see her elder sister, Lula, a bit and we know that she is popular and beautiful and her bruja affinity is healing. Viewed through the lens of sibling fighting and mocking, I was not absolutely sold on Lula’s character.
I am so happy that my skepticism of Lula’s character was unneeded! In Bruja Born encounter the Mortiz family in the aftermath of the conclusion of Labyrinth Lost. Lula is dealing with the trauma of what occurred and the scarring on her face. Lula has always been told that she is beautiful and her pride and confidence is in shambles because of the scaring. Still reeling from certain changes in her family as well. A catastrophic accident, at the beginning of the book, leaves her heartbroken and she goes against the Deos, specifically Lady de la Muerte. Much like her sister’s ill-advised canto, Lula’s choice sows chaos prompting her and her sisters to attempt to save the city they love. The story beautifully shows Lula’s character development as she makes decision and must decided what’s worth sacrificing.
First, I loved the world building. I love that Córdova has created a magical system and hidden world of magic in the heart of Brooklyn that draws on a variety of Latin American traditions and beliefs. She melds together into something beautiful and unique. If you’re tired on vaguely medieval Western European fantasy this is a breath of fresh air. Moreover, the magic is not merely a swish-and-flick of a wand and poof there’s a floating feather. Instead the magic ties directly in with religious belief in the Deos and every magic spell has a consequence. Moreover, there was some development in the book about how the brujas navigate living in a city with other magical beings and the witch hunters.
I loved Lula’s character growth. I might have been skeptical at first because I can’t identify with beautiful popular girls, however by the end of the book I had so much respect for her and can’t wait to see her in the next book.
I loved the family bonds and love displayed throughout the book. While the sisters and the family as while has faced a number of tragedies and trauma, the depth of love and solidarity is wonderful. Too often books rely on the orphan with magical abilities trope, which I love don’t get me wrong, but it is nice to see an Latino family portrayed with love, strength, and resilience.
The books ends with a bit of a cliffhanger with the presumption that Rose’s powers will be the subject of the next book, which I am eagerly anticipating!
I would recommend this to fans of young adult fantasy if you’re looking for an original urban fantasy with great representation!