ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Did I just read a unique story about witches, with a full POC cast, that also had a healthy portrayal of bisexuality? At this point, I don’t think this book is being marketed correctly, because who in the hell wouldn’t want to read this book after knowing those somewhat hidden three points? Then, midway through the book, I realized this book also has faeries, so I was as good as done for by that point and completely ready to sing this books praises. I really believe this is a hidden gem, and I’m so thankful I put in a request for an ARC of this when I just thought it was about witches.
“Spells are for witches. Brujas do cantos.
All brujas are witches but not all witches are brujas.”
Alex isn’t just a bruja, but she is an Encantrix – the most powerful bruja to be in her family for generations. Unfortunately, Alex doesn’t want the power or the pain she think follows this power. She even goes to an extreme length to first hide then get rid of her powers, but Alex forgets that everything comes with a price.
Her older sister, Lula, is the gorgeous one with the bruja power of healing. Her younger sister, Rose, is a child genius with a special communicative bruja gift. Everyone thinks that Alex’s power just isn’t showing up, no one expects her to just be hiding it because of a traumatic event from her past.
Obviously she couldn’t hide it forever, hence the book, and when her family realizes that her power has not only came, but is the most powerful gift able to be given, they start planning her deathday. Deathdays in the bruja community are very special and very grand, sort of like a quinceañera, but with ghosts from your family blessing your journey, too.
“That’s the thing, my love. Even if you don’t think of the dead, the dead are thinking of you.”
After a couple bad decisions, Alex accidentally casts her entire family away at her deathday celebration, while trying to perform a cantos to get rid of her powers instead of embracing them. This embarks the journey of her and a boy who claims he knows the way to Los Lagos to rescue her family.
This story is told in three parts. The first part is in Brooklyn, NY. The second part is Alex and Nova entering Los Lagos, which was really reminiscent to me of Narnia, even though I think it’s supposed to be a purgatory, and I loved every second of it. I especially loved Agosto and the rest of his fae. Then, lastly, the third part is their confrontation at the Tree of Souls, where her family is being held against their will.
This story was a good surprise; I loved the Latin-American perspective, and was so happy with the acceptance of Alex’s bisexuality. Her whole family didn’t make a big deal about it, because it’s really not a big deal, but that’s hard for a lot of authors to realize. There was no drama leading up to it, there was no unnecessary angst because of it, it was just natural, accepted, and beautifully done. I really appreciated it.
This all being said, I still have to warn you that there is a love triangle. Well, there will probably be a love triangle later down the line of this series. Alex, in my eyes, always makes her choice clear, but I can still see the triangle developing with its sharp angles ready to pierce my heart.
“Not all loves are meant to last forever. Some burn like fire until there is nothing left but ash and black ink on skin.”
This was a pleasant read that I thoroughly enjoyed being surprised over. Los Lagos was my favorite part, and I think I will read book two just in hopes of seeing more of those magical side characters. There is also a decent sized surprise at the end, which for sure left me wanting some questions answered.