Sourcebooks Fire (September, 2016)
Alejandra comes from a long line of Bruja’s (Broo-hah) and her Deathday, a celebration where her full witchy powers come in and she receives the blessings of her family- living and dead, is approaching. The only problem is that accepting her powers is the last thing she wants to do, they are too hard to control and power has caused her family nothing but trouble. When she meets a dark stranger who helps her to create a canto (spell) that will remove her power the plan backfires and sends her family to another realm. With his help and the desire to make things right she’ll have to go to Hell (or an equivalent) and back.
I was expecting to wander around Brooklyn with Alejandra as she battles monsters in the borough, but I wasn’t disappointed when I found that the majority of the book is set in Los Lagos, a purgatory-like middle ground where blind giants, winged women and evil fairies roam. The world-building was beautiful and vivid, but some of the character decisions gave me pause. A few things happened, because they needed to happen to move the story along, but not necessarily because they made sense for the character. The language is beautiful and anyone who loves to get lost will find the trials and tribulations of this quest story a great addition to their bookshelves. However, there was the ubiquitous love triangle at the end that seemed a little disingenuous. (spoilers) Ale feels a tug in her gut when she’s around Nova, a tiny twinge of lust that feels like butterflies, but with Rishi there is familiarity and affection. This could be classic triangle dynamics, but I think I’d like to read a lesbian love story with a bit more passion. Am I wrong? Tell me what you think.
This book is perfect for:
- People who love urban fantasy
- Anyone into Greek mythology and their variants
- People who know how to properly roll their “r”‘s
- Alejandra tries to deny her power. Why is she so afraid of it? If she had embraced her power, would her fate have changed? Was the descent to Los Lagos inevitable?
- Rishi jumps in after Alejandra. Is her sacrifice believable, why or why not?
- Rate the monsters Ale, Nova and Rishi find by their fierceness.
- Nova is scarred because he never got his Deathday blessing, once he leaves Los Lagos, he’s still scarred. Is he redeemable?
- Rishi and Ale share a deep friendship that becomes something more. How is the set-up of this relationship different from that of Ale and Nova?
- How is the theme of family as identity carried throughout the story?
If you liked this try:
Try another Brooklyn fantasy that will have you itching to visit, Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older.