Thursday, September 1, 2016

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

*Labyrinth Lost will be released on Tuesday, September 6th!*

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. Sourcebooks Fire, 2016. Ebook. 336 pages.

*I received an ARC of Labyrinth Lost courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I always hate saying this, but I really, really wanted to love this. Surprisingly, I was fairly disappointed. Even as I write this review, I still feel really torn about how I feel about this one. It was imaginative, exciting, and full of life, but it was also full of some plot holes, awkwardly created characters and character development, and some dialogue that frustrated me quite a bit. Not to mention I felt the entire storyline felt somewhat formulaic.  

We'll start with the positives: Los Lagos. What a gorgeously created and intricately designed world! The visit to Los Lagos is pretty much what I was most looking forward to in this book - I was excited or the Latin-American culture along with folklore and the imaginative world that could be created from this, and on this level I was not disappointed. Córdova also has an incredible imagination and writing style that truly comes to life when is describing the world within her book. The dialogue itself wasn't always the best, but her narrative and prose is much more elegant. The diversity of the characters was also a huge plus, and I enjoyed Córdova's attempts at incorporating a variety of elements that aren't overdone already in many books.

Now, moving on to some of the things I didn't like about the book. The beginning of Labyrinth Lost hooked me pretty well, but that initial interest and excitement began to die off as I neared the middle of the book. The elements themselves were exciting, such as the faeries and other creatures they encounter, but it was the conflict and plot itself that suffered. The story didn't feel like it was going anywhere or being moved forward, and I was quickly losing interest. As I mentioned earlier, the plot started to feel too obviously formulaic: run into one conflict, miraculously resolve it, move on to another, miraculously resolve it, and so on. It just wasn't overly understandable to me.

I didn't love Alex. Her refusal to accept her magical powers was beyond frustrating to me, but that's probably just my own issue. I don't have to love a character to enjoy a book, but I didn't care about her all that much either. Her development was jilted and lacking in depth. I never established enough of a connection to feel that she deserved my worry or interest, and, let's be honest, I almost would have preferred this story to have been written about Nova, whom I personally felt had a much more interesting story. Though I did find his constant brooding and 'you have no idea what I've been through' statements a bit over the top, even though he did indeed have a difficult past. I wouldn't mind some more background and story based on Nova.

I also didn't care for Rishi - or rather, perhaps I just didn't understand the point of Rishi's character enough to move past that and care for her. I sort of feel like she was only thrown into the book to provide some comedic relief and a friendship to Alex - a friendship that I almost feel could have been taken out without too much notice.

Every good story such as this also needs a strong, frightening villain to match, but sadly, the villain in this book - The Devourer - didn't really do that. I don't feel like I ever got to see enough of her to truly understand her desires or feel something more than just a surface-level hatred. She felt a bit more stereotypical, which was somewhat of a disappoint compared to the rest of the imaginative elements of Labyrinth Lost.

((potential spoilers ahead - the following paragraph only!))

I love that Córdova added a female/female pairing, we really need more types of sexuality represented in books, and I think it's awesome that she added that in. But I didn't think the chemistry between the two worked. I understood that they were strong friends before the events of this book, but we just went from Alex having not-so-obvious feelings towards Rishi to sudden 'oh wow, I love her.' There was very little chemistry, and all the sweet things they said to each felt so incredibly forced and unnatural. It just didn't fit.

((end spoilers))

Overall, Labyrinth Lost is an imaginative story with many unique and refreshing elements, but lacks in character development and and a strong storyline. For these reasons, I am giving Labyrinth Lost three-and-a-half stars. 

1 comment:

  1. I gave this book the same rating, but for a few different reasons. I felt like there were a lot of jumps in the plot that left me going back and re-reading because I thought I'd missed something (nope, just not there). Also I agree the middle part really dragged. I'll still read the next one, but I was hoping for more from this one.