Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: Sept. 6, 2016
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review
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...My thoughts:
This story is a reminder of the hero stories of old. Ones where the hero finds strength within and learns who they are and will become. This follows that classic formula but has some important differences. First, it is a mixture of cultures. Not only the Latin culture of the Brujas but also a smidgen of the Santeria culture add depth to the journey of old. This otherworldly adventure is compelling even if the dance steps all have been seen before. Although this sounds predictable (and it is to a degree), there are aspects to the story that twist and surprise. Trust, betrayal, love and disappointment are all a important part of her journey and help Alex decide what kind of person she wants to be and how she wants to treat others. Like Alex, you may not be completely certain who will help or hinder your journey but all aspects you find are important and would not have brought the same results without it. To me, this is a good coming of age story.
My only real niggle with the story has to do with the romance. While some of it seemed predictable, we find that it isn't what we thought. There was one big twist which I enjoyed but at the same time just didn't quite feel. While this aspect of the story fails a bit for me here, it has potential in the stories to come. Alex's story isn't done yet so I may come around to loving the romance in her journey.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really loved the cultural take on this story. This is a familiar story with a few surprises you didn't quite see. I highly recommend the book to those that enjoy a hero (heroine in this case) story as well as those that enjoy YA fantasy.