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Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas)

Review

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas)

Magic takes no sides. It isn’t inherently evil or good --- it can be wielded for either, and the thing is, people aren’t inherently evil or good either. It comes down to the choices we make, and those choices can be messy things. Zoraida Córdova’s deep and thoughtful exploration of magic is one of my absolute favorite parts of her Brooklyn Brujas series --- the other being her full and complex evocation of young women. These elements come together in BRUJA BORN to weave a rich and enchanting adventure equally (if not more) enthralling as its predecessor.

BRUJA BORN picks up where LABYRINTH LOST left off. I know I did love it all the more because I’d read and adored LABYRINTH LOST, but it does stand alone --- I just loved the characters in the first book so much that it was a total and fulfilling joy to pick up on the story of the magical Mortiz sisters from Lula’s perspective. I would certainly recommend both, though I will stay as spoiler free as possible!

"Part homage to Latina sisterhood and self-discovery, part zombie story and an entirely cinematic, pulse-pounding adventure...BRUJA BORN is a masterpiece."

After the events of LABYRINTH LOST, Lula is wounded in ways her healing powers can’t fix. And with the emergence of her sister’s new powers, she feels like an outsider. She loves her family fiercely, but she’s grateful for the very human solace and comfort she gets from love of her boyfriend, Maks. When Maks suddenly breaks up with her, Lula can hardly believe it. Before she can even begin to process it, though, the bus they’re riding on is in a horrific accident, and so many of Lula’s classmates and friends die right in front of her…including Maks.

Lula barely survives herself, and she’s numb. She can’t believe any of this is happening. But she’s a young woman with a power, and if it’s not for this, what is it for? So Lula Mortiz gathers her healing powers, and with her sisters by her side, confronts Death herself: Lady de la Muerte. And she brings her love back from the grave.

But this is not love story. It’s something closer to a self-love story, a story about sisterhood, about learning that caring for your loved ones might mean telling them they’re wrong, or letting them go. Magic is not a cheat code. And though Maks doesn’t remember that he broke up with Lula --- he doesn’t, thankfully, remember much of anything from that afternoon --- Lula can’t quite forget it. She wants to, though. All she wants, so badly, is for everything to go back to normal. But ever since she brought him back, Maks doesn’t really have an appetite…at least, not for food. Bloody body parts are turning up in unexpected places. And when Lula took Maks back from Death, she broke the laws of the deos themselves. She owes them a debt. What will it take to repay it?

Part homage to Latina sisterhood and self-discovery, part zombie story and an entirely cinematic, pulse-pounding adventure filled with twists, turns, the undead and very dangerous choices, BRUJA BORN is a masterpiece. Perfect for fans of the first book, but also the perfect entrance to Zoraida Córdova’s uniquely fierce and enchanted world. The pages breathe with power, peril and love.

Reviewed by Maya Gittelman on July 10, 2018

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas)
by Zoraida Cordova