Bruja Born

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

The Mortiz sisters, if you haven't read the first book in this trilogy, please go do yourself a favor and go read the first book (Labyrinth Lost) now.  And then come back and let's discuss this one.  But back to the Mortiz's sisters, these girls are amazing, first of all, but they are also tight, they will do anything for each other and this book proves it again how much they love each other and how far they go to help each other when needed.

Lula is the oldest sister and after what happened on the last book she hasn't been the same, she is withdrawn from her sisters and from everyone pretty much.  But what she didn't expect to happen was the tragedy that happens to her boyfriend and friends which leaves most of them dead.  She becomes desperate and asks for her sisters help and together they invoke a spell to bring Maks back.  But, when all the dead bodies of all her friends mysteriously disappears, she starts to realize that something is wrong and then she finds out that she has risen an army of casi muertos which are creatures between the living and the dead.  But, that's isn't the worse, the casi muertos will not stop until Lula dies, that way they will be able to live free for ever.

Lula will have to realize that once again will need the help of not only her sisters but her whole family to make the casi muertos go away, but at what cost?  Because there is always a cost, right?

Lula has always been the bad ass sister and she proves it in this book, there is action, family drama and romance and magic,ah...what else could I have asked for it?  I just cannot wait for the next book, because the little sister's power is proving to be so much more than we all thought and I cannot wait to see what troubles she is going to cause lol.

5 out of 5 stars...

I got a free copy of this book from NetGgalley.
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Bruja Born followed Lula Mortiz months after the events of Labyrinth Lost. I'll be honest and come clean and admit I messed up not immediately writing the review for this book. However, I can clearly remember the writing of this book. Cordova was able to keep the poetic atmosphere of her writing that I loved in Labyrinth Lost.
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You won't get a more realistic urban fantasy than Bruja Born.

Of course I use the term realistic lightly considering this second-in-a-series standalone novel has magic and mayhem, death and resurrection, hunters and brujas and witches and vampires, and is just an all-around unrealistic story. But it's realistic in the way that, set in present day Brooklyn, these characters have their limits when it comes to their magic, consequences to their actions, and for Lula, a price to pay when in a bid to heal her severely wounded boyfriend, she ends up raising and becoming an anchor to a group of casimuertos - the undead.

Having betrayed her Gods - most especially Lady de la Muerte - by shattering that line between life and death and leaving the world unbalanced, it's up to Lula to fix her mistakes and make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world before it's too late.

I absolutely loved this story.

It was truly refreshing to read a book where magic comes at a price.
It was also truly refreshing to read a book where a teenage character is suffering from PTSD and was shown in such a way that really did such a subject justice.

I feel like you never see any of those anymore when it comes to YA Fantasy. Usually the main character has an unlimited amount of power at their fingertips, and when they've experienced such things as Lula did in Labyrinth Lost - the first novel of this series, which takes place eight months prior to Bruja Born - the trauma isn't as focused on nor as affecting to the character as (I feel like) it should be. But Zoraida Córdova changed the game for this genre in Bruja Born.

It was real and raw and was such an original and enjoyable and thrilling story that I'm officially deeming it as one of the best reads that I have read in a really long time. With its vivid detailing and original storyline - one that kept me hooked until the very last word - I was taken on a journey of self-discovery, self-love, and self-healing in a world full of unpredictability, danger and magic, culture, belief and love. I enjoyed seeing Alex and Rose and Nova (aka Bae) again, and meeting new characters such as Rhett and McKay and Frederik, and I am now so ready to see what it is Ms. Córdova brings to us next in her uniquely magical Brooklyn Brujas Series.
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One of my new favorite books! This author has such a way with words the pages flew by in no time! I can’t wait to see the next work by this author! This was such a joy to read!
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I had really high expectations but by the end of the book I was forcing myself to keep turning the page. It wasgood, but nothing extraordinary for myself.
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I got a quarter of the way through this book and could not understand what was going on.  The descriptions of what the characters were doing or going through did not make sense to me
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I liked this one even better than its predecessor. I like the overall feel of the magic and the world-building. I also enjoy the blend of fantasy and horror. I'm especially fond of how much this book (and the previous one) focus on family. I look forward to reading additional books by this author, especially if they include these characters. Will definitely recommend.
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Bruja Born starts off in the aftermath of Labyrinth Lost. Lula attempts necromancy and things escalate from there. It was fun reading from another sister's perspective. This was a much more evocative read than the first in the series and different, but still as magical. In the midway point, it loses its compelling nature for a bit, but thankfully picks back up. I really loved the worldbuilding and how diverse this felt without feeling at the same time forced. I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with witches and NYC, and I'm also a huge fan of family bonds within a fantasy dynamic, so that was an additional draw. I look forward to reading the next installment from Rose's perspective.
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Zoraida Córdova knocks it out of the park again. Bruja Born is infused with magic and suspense, connected by the fierce love of sisters. This book is more centered in our world than Labyrinth Lost, but loses none of the magic. I loved that it was from the perspective of a different sister than the first book and I'm excited to read from the third sister's perspective in the next book. Córdova is a gifted writer and her books are automatic reads.
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Córdova's writing has always been a style I enjoy. I also really love magic based novels, especially those that remain in the real world. I definitely recommend this YA title.
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I wasn't able to read this because I wasn't aware that it was part of a series at the time.
Unfortunately, Netgalley doesn't allow you to not give feedback and not let it count against you (when it's a viable reason).
So I'm adding feedback to fix that.

Hopefully I'll be able to read this at some point! It was interesting enough to request right away, I was just brand new to Netgalley and learning the ropes. I think it needs to be a little more clear when a book is part of a series. It can be hard to tell!
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I'm so happy I continued with this series! This book was quite a bit of an improvement from Labyrinth Lost. The plot flowed better, and I loved reading from Lula's perspective which surprised me. Based off of the first book I would have expected to like reading from Alex's perspective better. There was one or two confusing parts for me, but then I realized that this is set in the same world as Zoraida's other trilogy. So while I was slightly annoyed that we didn't get a better explanation of those elements, overall I really didn't mind. My favorite part of this book is that there were consequences for what Lula did. So often in fantasy books we see that magic can do anything. And even when there are supposed to be consequences to the magic some deus ex machina comes in and sweeps away those consequences, but that was not the case in this book. This also set up the last book in the trilogy so well and I can't wait to read about the last sister.
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I have been sleeping on Zoraida Cordova's books and have regrets. There are the hallmarks of all the things I like - magical realism, witches, family bonds, NYC. Why, oh, WHY did I wait so long to get myself into Brooklyn Brujas. As you may have gathered, Brooklyn Brujas is a series that basically follows one sister as she deals with a large issue relating to her magic. 

The first book, Labyrinth Lost follows middle sister Alejandra (Alex for short). She has this massive amount of power - she's considered this generation's enchantrix. Only, she does not want that power. So, using advice from this shady guy, Nova, she tries to do a ritual on her deathday to get rid of the power. Only it backfires and her family ends up trapped in the magical realm. OH and you would think Nova is the love interest. HE IS NOT. In fact, it's a girl, Rishi. And that was quite the wonderful addition to the story. Let me say that I was 100% here for that. Overall, an interesting look at expectations and how sometimes it is not a bad thing to lean into them. When Alex accepts who she is and leans into it, I think that things really started to go her way.

Then, the second book picks up kind of close to the end of Labyrinth Lost. Bruja Born follows the oldest sister, Lula. She has the power to heal. Anyways, she's on a bus ride to a game and there is an accident. Unfortunately, everyone dies, including her boyfriend. Lula ends up bringing him and a bunch of other people back to life. This is fine and dandy, only he's not the same. So, similar to Labyrinth Lost, Lula's power backfires. She's got to get her messed all cleaned up because these people are actually going around eating people -- kind of like zombies. I actually enjoyed Bruja Born a little bit more, maybe because I could relate to Lula in being the oldest. Also, I could relate in making some not so great choices out of love. OH and also, their dad is back which adds in a pretty important family dynamic. 

I am excited for the third book which I am guessing follows the youngest sister and it comes out 2020, according to goodreads. I think Cordova is a writer to watch and well, I am going to be checking out her Vicious Deep books sooner than later (apparently there is also a connection to the Brooklyn Brujas books in that series as well).
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Unfortunately I am unable to use this in the classroom due to it's content. However it was an enjoyable,exciting read.
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*An advanced reader ebook copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* 

First, I loved the world building. I love that Córdova has created a magical system and hidden world of magic in the heart of Brooklyn that draws on a variety of Latin American traditions and beliefs. She melds together into something beautiful and unique. If you’re tired on vaguely medieval Western European fantasy this is a breath of fresh air. Moreover, the magic is not merely a swish-and-flick of a wand and poof there’s a floating feather. Instead the magic ties directly in with religious belief in the Deos and every magic spell has a consequence. Moreover, there was some development in the book about how the brujas navigate living in a city with other magical beings and the witch hunters.

I loved Lula’s character growth. I might have been skeptical at first because I can’t identify with beautiful popular girls, however by the end of the book I had so much respect for her and can’t wait to see her in the next book.

I loved the family bonds and love displayed throughout the book. While the sisters and the family as while has faced a number of tragedies and trauma, the depth of love and solidarity is wonderful. Too often books rely on the orphan with magical abilities trope, which I love don’t get me wrong, but it is nice to see an Latino family portrayed with love, strength, and resilience. 

The books ends with a bit of a cliffhanger with the presumption that Rose’s powers will be the subject of the next book, which I am eagerly anticipating!

I would recommend this to fans of young adult fantasy if you’re looking for an original urban fantasy with great representation!
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One Sentence Synopsis: Sequel flips the script and puts Lula Mortiz, the healer, is dangerous and impossible situations when she tries to defy Death.

Why You Should Be Reading: The sequel to Labyrinth Lost switches perspective and gives Lula Mortiz the stage. After returning from “hell” and finding out about her sisters Encantrix powers, she feels suffocated. She’s not at home in herself, her room, her house, and in the relationships with the people around her. Her one respite from all this meets an end that challenges how far Lulu and her sister, the one who sent her to “hell”, are willing to do to fix things/put them right. 

The messed up part is that it’ll never be alright. And part of the journey of this book is Lulu and the reader understanding this. Life is unpredictable and it’s what we make out of the lemons we’re handed that makes the difference. 

Cordova understands that and I think that’s why she went with Lula’s perspective for this. Hell, I think she’s been waiting for it since Labyrinth Lost came out. And that makes it even better because it shows that she’s been planning and building this world for a long and with plenty of stories to come.

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Witches, Urban Fantasy, Latina, POC Lead

Other Books by Zoraida Cordova: Labyrinth Lost, Luck on the LIne, The Vicious Deep

Learn more about the author HERE.

Buy Bruja Born HERE.

Add Bruja Born to your Goodreads HERE.
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Cover

While I hate mid series cover changes, I love this new cover! The colors and the simplicity really speak to me. I would love to some day getting a boxed set for this series, but I'll wait until all the books are published. Wouldn't want another cover change ;)

This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.
Plot

The story picks up after the events of Labyrinth Lost and we get to see the impact and consequences those events had on the Mortiz family. Labyrinth Lost focused on Alex, this time around we get to read Lula's story. Because the synopsis gives away quite some story from the beginning, it took me a little while to get into the book. I was waiting for something new to happen, but as soon as that did it was a very fast paced, action filled ride through the world of the Brujas.

I wasn't expecting the turns this story took. It deals with some heavy topics, and does it in an important and inspiring manner. Lula grew a lot as a character and that gives us a beautiful story. While I really enjoyed the book, I never 'believed' in the love between Lula and Maks so to say. They seemed like a cute couple from what we saw in Labyrinth Lost but for me it never became clear as to why they were in love. It is clear Lula loves Maks so much, but it felt like it could've been any other guy instead of this precise person.

There is a lot of loss and grief in this book. But it also has a lot of familial, and unconditional love. It was wonderful reading about the three sisters, Lula, Alex, and Rose and see them come to terms with all that happened in Labyrinth Lost but also what happened in Bruja Born. I also loved the diversity in this own voices, Latinx fantasy.

Characters

Lula is the main character in this one, it took me a while to fall for her. But in the end she was a great heroine and I think she showed such character growth. Lula needs to learn to love herself the way she is, the way her outside has become. This is such an important message for teenage girls, and I loved that it was included. Lula also need to make some really tough choices but in the end she did wonderfully. In contrast to Labyrinth Lost, we didn't really have a villain, the problem happing was due to Lula's choices and that was quite refreshing.

We get to meet some interesting new characters and of course we see a lot of Alex and Rose. I especially loved reading about Rose and am so excited for her story. The sisters are amazing together and possibly the best aspect about these books. We also get to see more of Nova and that wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It was interesting to see him in a different light and I can't wait to read more.

“Magic transforms you. Magic changes you. Magic saves you. I want to still believe in all those things.”
World Building 

The world got expanded a lot in this sequel! While we got to travel to an actual other world in the first book, Bruja Born enriches the world 'as we know it' so much. I loved reading more about the Bruja culture and all the supernatural that was going on. Hopefully we'll get even more of that in the next book. As I said in my previous review, Zoraida has a way with words that makes everything come to life.

A highly enjoyable read, and one that is pretty underrated I think. There aren't nearly enough people talking about this diverse fantasy series, I hope more will pick up these books. Can't wait for the next book after that epilogue!
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Even better than the first. The Brooklyn Brujas are some badass bitches. I loved the darkness in this book, and the underlying creepy factor that always accompanies the undead. The family drama is still in full force, and Cordova does a great job of not oversimplifying or belittling some of the things that can feel just as life-and-death as literal life-and-death circumstances. She respects her characters, and it shows in the writing.
I need to give a quick shoutout here to the Belles & Brujas tour that Cordova did with Dhonielle Clayton - it was the best author panel I have seen to date! The discussions touched on meaningful topics but also showed each author's quirks and personality. This is such a great example of how WNDB is changing YA to make it the best it can be!
I received an egalley of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
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I was given a digital copy of this, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I chose to listen to this on audio, as that was the way that I consumed the first book, Labyrinth Lost. I enjoyed this audio as well, though I liked the narrator of the Labyrinth Lost, only because of the accent. While it's not absolutely necessary to have read the first book, I recommend it simply because it will help you understand Lula's feelings a lot better. In Labyrinth Lost, the focus is on the middle sister Alex and her discovering her powers. This focuses on Lula, the older sister. She is still healing from the events of the first book and getting used to having her dad around.  Though she is not back to herself, she is still able to find a bit of happiness with Maks, her boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her.  Then they are in a bus accident where she is the only survivor. After she learns that Maks is in a coma, though no one believes that he will survive it, she asks the high council to heal him. They refuse. Heartbroken and unable to let him, Lula takes matter and magic into her own hands. Roping her sisters into helping her, Lula attempts to heal Maks herself.  But magic, always comes with a price. 

I wasn't sure what I would think of this book, or what to expect from it. I knew that I would enjoy Cordova's writing, but sometimes the second book in a series suffers. This was not the case with Bruja Born. It was just as engaging, more was revealed about the characters and what was happening with the family. It was nice to be back with these sisters, who were healing even if it wasn't as fast as they would have liked. And believe it or not the stakes were even higher this time. Which means that the cost was even higher. 

Lula and her sisters learn more about the Deos, their magic and each other. Though it may seem like a lot to ask of their family, their family is there for them in all of the important ways. And the ending.... oh man that ending. 

You have zombies, a city under attack, the goddess of death trapped. But the sisters learn more about their magic, their family and the supernatural world around them. Lula learns the cost of her mistake (As Alex did and tried to prevent her from following her footsteps.)

It didn't take me long to finish this story, as I found even more reasons and ways to listen to the audiobook. Unfortunately, now I am left waiting for the third book. If you have read Labyrinth Lost, you will enjoy this one. If you are new to Cordova's writing, I would say that this series is a great place to start!

Always Shine!
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I really liked this book. I thought it was a great sequel. I was a bit surprised that the story focused on a different sister. This one focused on Lula instead of Alex and I think I liked her better. She is still recovering from things that happened to her in the first book and Alex obviously feels a lot of guilt for that. She has her boyfriend Macks to rely on and when he dies in a bus crash, she is willing to do anything to save him. She makes a lot of mistakes to do it and she has to suffer the wrath of her sisters and The Thorne Hill Alliance. I loved her growth throughout this book though and I also LOVED her relationship with her sisters. I knew how the thing with Macks would end. That much was predictable. But there was so much anguish in the meantime and so many twists and turns. The book was filled with action. Her relationship with her sisters was awesome because they gave her grief for her mistakes, but they still had her back ALWAYS. It was awesome to see. The book had a pretty great ending too that set up the next book in the series. Fingers crossed it focuses on the third sister, Rose, this time.
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