I received an Advance Readers Copy in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own
Title: Bruja Born
Series Brooklyn Brujas #2
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: June 5th 2018
Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.
Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…
I got an ARC!!! I’ve been waiting for this book since I read Labyrinth Lost back in 2016. This is an urban fantasy series centered around a family of brujas, which are latinx witches, especially around three sisters: Lula, Alex and Rose. This one is the second book in the trilogy and we follow the eldest sister: Lula
Lula has the power of healing and is an extremely sensible person, in the best way. She loves so strongly and at the beginning of this book she is dealing with the aftermath of her time trapped in Los Lagos. This leads to her becoming more closed off towards her friends and her family, ptsd will do that to you. She is still a strong girl and is trying to gain back control of her life.
After being involved in a horrible accident I don’t think she can be blamed for trying to save her
exboyfriend even if everyone had told her not to do it. If I were her I’d have done the same.
This book talks about grief, and learning to let go but also about love and knowing when to hold on. Lula learns to lean on her family and trust that they will always have her back, even when she epically screws up (I mean, starting a zombie apocalypse is pretty bad). The family element was predominant, this is rare on the ya genre since we are used to see the parents either die or be written off and most protags don’t have siblings.
The world that we got a glimpse of in Labyrinth Lost is expanded and other magical creatures and power structures are brought in. I feel like this gives the story more depth and we saw how the brujas’ actions affect everyone else.
Just look at the map!
I’ll get more precise and spoiler-y as I go along::
As I said above, she is a really strong character who is dealing with the events that took place in the first book. In the story she re-learns how to love herself and to trust her magic, also she recovers her faith on the deos.
Sweet, sweet Maks, I didn’t like him. We didn’t see much of him before he became a casimuerto, what we did see was a teenager who didn’t care to help his girlfriend get better after she went through a traumatic episode. He stayed with her for a while but ultimately it was because she would put everything behind her a be the same girl she was before. It felt like he didn’t try to understand what she was going through at all. He was also kind of a coward.
I just loved how the story didn’t put her in the center of everything just because she was the main character in Labyrinth Lost. She is the sister of the MC and she does have a very important role but she doesn’t solve everything with her encantrix powers, instead she is a good support for her sister when she needs her the most. From helping hide her scars to helping her save the goddess of death.
I’m so excited to see her in the next book. I want to know way more about her. In LL she was just the little sister who was dealing with the Veil and seeing dead people but still was innocent and shy.
Let my boy take a nap! He can’t even be homeless with his friend in peace. He gets attacked by casimuertos and has to seek help from a family that is nothing but trouble. He deserves the almost happy ending that he gets, he has so much to deal with and, unlike the Mortiz sisters, he didn’t have anyone to rely on for a looong time.
This woman has so much on her plate but still manages to be a good mother and handle three brujas. That deserves respect. I think it was kind of weird that she went away when the city was descending into chaos and left the sisters alone but also that sounds like my mom “The world may be ending but I still got a hundred thing to do”.
I have sooo many questions, almost as many as I did when I finished LL. Where was he? Why was he there? How did Nova get him out? How did Nova even know where he was? I guess I’ll have to wait for the next one.
The High Circle:
Old people scared of change and of the young people who bring it. Still, it gave place to differing opinions within its members and didn’t feel like an evil hive-mind (which is something that usually happens when writing a group of leaders)
Thorne Hill Alliance:
I know it’s not just me, McKay and Frederik were a married couple and no one will tell me otherwise. Other than that, the existence of an alliance of all supernatural beings in the city makes so much sense.
The Knights of Lavant:
Where there are magic there’s also those who hate it. No surprise there BUT I did like the fact that they weren’t mindless assholes with no drive except for their hate. They were rational and didn’t doubt contacting the THA to help fight the casimuertos.
The future romance was obvious from the first time we see him, the fact that it didn’t actually happen and Lula was given time to herself and find out what she really wants was refreshing and Rhett’s response was perfect I’ll wait but know that I’m not giving up and will be here when you are ready, also, here are some magic flowers… love me. And I do love him. His sense of humor and easy camaraderie makes him an awesome character, especially by the fact that he still respects his duties.
Angela (Nova’s grandmother):
That’s one shady mf and I’m sure we haven’t seen even half of it.
She is part of Lula’s circle and she is Argentine like me so she deserves a special mention. She even speaks with an accent.
As it’s to be expected from a 5-stars review I loved everything but let’s get into my most loved stuff.
The bond between the sisters, the entire family dynamic was perfect. How the sisters treated one another and how they reacted to the things the others were going through felt really realistic, like, I could see myself doing the same with my own sisters. There’s a point on the book where Lula and Alex go to see a super powerful bruja and they just start bickering like two five-year-olds. Maybe it’s because I’m latina but the family was like seeing every family I know.
The friendship within the circle, Lula’s circle was made of young people like her and sometimes they didn’t understand each other or didn’t have the emotional maturity to really help her but the fact that all of them kept trying and were ready to help with anything was what mattered to me.
Nova is family now, and that’s a fact.
Lula’s journey to self acceptance,
My body is different and strange and new to me, and I have to be kind to it. I have to learn this version of myself and love her like she deserves
The deos, although this is a fantasy book it deals with the religious beliefs of a character without having her fist-fight a god. It has Lula questioning all the things she believed in just because she was taught to do so. She is allowed to ask question and doubt beliefs without that meaning she is a heathen and hates her religion. She comes out with renewed faith and that’s so beautiful
“[The deos] exist in our power” (…) The past month, I wondered where the Deos went, why they abandoned me. But they didn’t. I’ve always had my power, and in my power I finally have some hope. “The Deos act through us”
The spanish words and sentences woven into the story, it never felt out-of-place or unnecessary. It just felt right, their magic comes from their latino roots so it makes sense that they would slip to it when talking amongst themselves or on their cantos
The set up for the next novel, that vision and Rose’s power…….
This quote right here
“I mean, decapitation has never not worked”
WHY DO AUTHORS INSIST ON CLIFFHANGERS???
My heart can’t take that much pressure, I have so many questions that were made in the last chapter!
I start to wonder if perhaps we set the limits ourselves”
No, Lula. Those limits were real and trying to stop you from bringing on the apocalypse
Then Death is still
It may seem silly but this particular quote gave me chills, especially with the context
“Do you know what a world without death is?” “Safe.” “Stagnant”
It keeps reinforcing this concept of death as a necessary change, as the force that keeps the world moving
… I wonder why everyone in my family does this –tries to act as if nothing hurts us.
Man, this hits too close home for me. And to follow it up:
…part of me wonders why it’s so much harder to ask for help from the people who love us.
To finish this section we have a goddess herself affirming the existence of humankind
not too shabby
“If the deos had all the answers” she says, “we wouldn’t have created you”
Ill give it 5
casimuerto’s food loving hearts
If you like urban fantasy and kick-ass brujas then this is the book for you. If not then just give it a try and see if you find another think to enjoy