Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova has become a new favorite book of mine. (Seriously, though? My "favorite books" shelf is getting way too crowded. I need a new shelf!) Anyway, here are five things that I loved about the book, and five reasons that you should pick it up ASAP!
1. Bi Representation
The main character, Alex, is bisexual. There's a bi love triangle. It's awesome. The plot of the book doesn't center around Alex coming to terms with her identity as a bi girl, in the same way that it's not centered around her coming to terms with her identity as a Latina girl. It's about her coming to terms with her power. Those other aspects are a part of her in a way that's not represented, and especially represented well, nearly enough.
2. Family & Meaningful Female Relationships
Of course Alex and her best friend, Rishi, have a strong relationship in the book. But one of the really central parts of what makes Alex who she is is her family--her mother and her sisters. She has a different but equally dynamic and developed relationship with both Lula and Rose. Even characters who are less present in Alex's current life, like her Aunt Ro and Mama Juanita, have very defined and realistic relationships with Alex. Family is the main heart of the novel, with lineage and heritage and power driving it from beginning to end.
3. World Building
The obvious thing to talk about here is Los Lagos, the realm that isn't our own. And, certainly, it's creative and inventive and has a very twisted fairy tale sort of vibe to it. However, the world building doesn't begin and end there. Brooklyn feels so alive in this book, and so real. Coming from Queens myself, it's so rare to see New York done right, or to see New York beyond some cardboard stereotype of Manhattan, and this is so refreshing.
4. Total Surprises
I'm a writer. I can't turn that off when I read or when I watch TV or movies or when I play video games. It's impossible for me to stop myself from trying to predict where the story is going. It's just how my mind works. And you know what? I was completely taken off-guard by developments in the book four or five times. (I'd give vague ideas of where these were, but if you haven't read it yet then I don't want to spoil.) This is honestly a continuation of this book feeling so fresh in general.
5. The Writing
The writing is so, so lovely. Here are just a few of my favorite lines:
- "I am an element. I am the storm."
- "Right now, I'm just a girl, and there is also magic in that."
- "It is my turn to shape the galaxies."
- "Something about this pleases the creature. Because he's not a man--he's a hideous, greedy creature that belongs in this ashen, cold land. It's a hateful thing, and this is a hateful place."
- And then there's the first line: "The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing."
Go. Buy. Read. Hurry. It's been optioned as a movie.