Bruja Born

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

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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This book doesn't blow the reader away, but it s fantastic follow up to the first in the series. The magic system and the familial connections really kept me intrigued.
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I love Cordova's ability to seamlessly integrate diverse characters. Her books are a fresh read and I can't wait for her next one. Really enjoy her world building as well.
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it took me a while to actually finish this book. I just wasn't ready to read something that started off with such a negative beginning and event happening. It took an unexpected twist that I'm not entirely sure I liked or not but the character development was great.
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As much as I tried to love this book, I didn't. It had everything I usually love: romance, flawed characters, zombies, diversity, and family relationships. But there was just a disconnect between the book and me. Lula really wasn't nearly as strong of a voice as I was needing and I struggled to connect with her. I know grief makes us do stupid things, but I was just really annoyed with the fact that she kept making the same mistakes over and over again. I thought she would've started growing as a person and a Bruja much earlier on in the book. Characters aren't perfect, but you can only make the same mistake so many times before it's just annoying.
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This story was beyond amazing, I loved hearing Lula’s voice!  The bold transparency of this character, the love amongst the sisters, their friends and family, it left nothing on the table.  Cordova grabs all of your emotions (and time, I couldn’t put it down) and says “I’m going to borrow these, toss them abou but I’ll give them back, maybe”.  I can’t wait for book 3!
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There’s a lot I can say about Bruja Born, but the truth is that you kind of just have to read it yourself. It’s heartbreaking and fulfilling and uplifting and I haven’t read a book like it in a long time. The beginning of the novel finds Lula broken and struggling to pick up the pieces of what’s now her life, only for a bus crash to take the last bit of comfort she had left. Her arc is amazing–she’s not without faults, and she makes tons of mistakes, but by the end of the novel she is profoundly changed.

As someone who values my relationship with my family more than most anything, Lula’s fraught relationship with her family struck close to home. The sense you get through the entirety of Bruja Born is one that anyone who’s close to their siblings can understand–a deep and profound love coupled with a strange and sometimes harmful toxicity born out of a sibling-exclusive sense of competition. If that makes sense.

Ultimately, I think Bruja Born is something you have to experience yourself. If you love magic and the potential for a full-on zombie apocalypse and sisters and friends and wonder and adventure (and maybe a little bit of romance) this book is for you. Which is to say, this has a little bit or a lot a bit of something for everyone. Try it. Seriously.

Overall, I give Zoraida Cordova’s Bruja Born 5 out of 5 resurrected classmates, 5 out of 5 sleepless nights I had after reading, 5 out of 5 amazing sister & best friends dynamics, and 5 out of 5 on the scale of how much I want this world to be real and how much I want to be a part of it.
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I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait for the next one to come out. the Brooklyn brujas series is a very interesting series to read.
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*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book follows the events of "Labyrinth Lost" and I will say I preferred this story to the first. IT had highs and lows weaved throughout the story of these sisters and family. Being a latina myself, it was amazing to see my culture and things I grew up knowing about being reflected. Cordova is unapologetic when it comes to infusing her culture into this story. Representation really matters and she hit the nail on the head. I'm looking forward to the third book in this series!
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I had been hearing so much about this book, but I missed the fact that this was a sequel — oops. Now I have to pick up the first one to fully get the story!
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This is a companion to Labyrinth Lost. It follows the sister of the protagonist of the first book: Lula. Lula is determined to act as normally as possible given the events of the first book, however, her boyfriend is killed in a freak bus accident. Lula then uses her healing powers to revive him, and accidentally causes a zombie outbreak.

I loved this one. I was a bit nervous following Lula, since I wasn't a huge fan in the first book, but she really grew on me. We also got to see a lot more of her family and the Brujo/Bruja community. Also, we got some more world-building in terms of other mythic creatures that may be hanging around the Brooklyn area. 

Zoraida manages to combine pretty serious topics such as grief with a light-hearted narration style. It makes a very enjoyable read, even when there are literal busloads of dead teenagers. I think it was a great light read involving a latinx main character (and author!) and I'm looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.
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This is the second in the Brooklyn Brujas series, which deals with the fallout of the dark volatile and life-changing events of Labyrinth Lost (the first book in the series). Lula spends the majority of the time trying to control a bellyful of anger and taking her lack of control out on her loved ones. She resents her sister for putting her in danger and for destroying her physical appearance.

When you're equipped with more power than you can handle the danger is not being able to control it or possibly using it for the wrong reasons. As a witch one of the golden rules is what you put out into the universe you get back tenfold, especially when it is something negative. I think trying to intervene in life or death scenarios fits into this category. Lula doesn't hesitate to use her power to take back what Death has already claimed, which sets a series of dangerous events in motion.

Córdova likes to explore the emotional and physical limitations and boundaries of magic. What happens when you break the written and unwritten rules? Does Lula really feel as if she is above the rules and immune from the possible consequences of breaking them. There is also a focus on the tight relationship between the sisters, and why they are willing to risk their lives to satisfy the selfish needs of their sister.

The Brooklyn Brujas has a lot of potential, especially when it comes to the sisters developing their skills and powers, so it will be interesting to see where the author takes the series. Brujas aren't a common feature in urban fantasy, there tends to be an overall focus on bog-standard witches. This allows for a more in-depth look at the cultural meaning and myths surrounding them.

What I really want to know is whether something else other than fate or the auto-schedule of Death happened on that bus. Was it just a coincidence that Lula was in the middle of an emotional upheaval? Just putting that out there into the universe.
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Librarian: We probably won't be ordering this one, Not because it isn't good, but because we don't have the first one. I might try to get the first one added to the order, but without one, we won't get two.
Reader: I picked this one up because eI absolutely adored Labyrinth Lost, and I hoped Bruja Born would be similar. In this it exceeded my expectations. The plot line was a lot deeper than the last book, and the world felt more detailed. I will say that it felt more like a companion novel then a sequel, but that probably had more to do with the perspective shift then the content.
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