Wayward Witch, Zoraida Cordova – Book Review

Hello Humans! The Brooklyn Bruja series has been on my radar for quite some time now, I think probably since around the first time I went to YALC in 2017 – or was it 18? I genuinely can’t recall.

But I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review the third book in the series Wayward Witch and even more delighted to absolutely love it!

Let me tell you why…

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Goodreads Summary:

Rose Mortiz has always been a fixer, but lately she’s been feeling lost. She has brand-new powers she doesn’t understand, and her family is still trying to figure out how to function in the wake of her amnesiac father’s return home. Then, on the night of her Deathday party, Rose discovers her father’s memory loss has been a lie.

As she rushes to his side, the two are ambushed and pulled through a portal to the land of Adas, a fairy realm hidden in the Caribbean Sea. There, Rose is forced to work with a group of others to save Adas. Soon, she begins to discover the scope of her powers, the troubling truth about her father’s past, and the sacrifices he made to save her sisters.

But if Rose wants to return home so she can repair her broken family, she must figure out how to heal Adas first.

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To talk about my feelings for this book in context, it’s probably worth talking about my feelings towards the first two books in this series. I found both Labyrinth Lost and Bruja Born to both be very strong books, but I decided not to hang on to either of them in a book clear out at the end of last year. Essentially my criteria for that clear out was ‘do I want to re-read this book?’. So, while I had enjoyed both books on a first read, I wasn’t so in love with them that I wanted to dive in again. I think my biggest issues with these books was that I wasn’t totally sold on the romance aspects, and I didn’t really connect with the characters. That’s all with hindsight of course.

So I went into Wayward Witch with fairly medium expectations – but this book really hit the spot for me. There is hope for me and YA! Huzzah!

I think the main reason I got on with this book so much where the others had something missing for me was that I related far more to Rose as a character. I think that’s probably the beauty of this series and the fact that Zoraida Cordova follows a different character in each book – there’s a character for everyone and mine just happened to be Rose.

Is anyone surprised that the Mortiz sister to whom I relate the most is the one having a crisis of confidence who would rather sit in a quiet room and read than attend a party being thrown for her? Anyone?

Didn’t think so.

Initially, I thought it was odd to have set up this tight-knit family only to have Rose go off (however willingly) on what is essentially a solo mission right at the start of the book. There was a lovely family dynamic and sisterhood building – so why not have all three of them in the action?

In the end, I definitely came around to the band of characters with whom Rose spends the majority of the book. It’s very much enemies to unlikely friends which is always fun for me – alongside a magical quest from a morally dubious quest-giver – another set of points to this book from me.

Did I also mention that this book includes non-binary representation? Because it does!

I liked that Rose isn’t defined by her family or her sisters – she genuinely finds her way on her own, and in a way that feels genuine and unforced. Do I still want a book where all three sisters (and additional family members) kick ass? Why yes of course I do. But this book was not that book and I think that was a good thing.

The one criticism I had of this book is that the ending came all too soon and all too fast. It’s been a constant struggle for me and YA of late, it seems every YA book I read has this speed-of-light ending where if you turn a page too fast you’ll have missed the entire plot resolving. Either YA books aren’t spending enough time on endings or I’ve grown too used to old fantasy series where it’s perfectly acceptable to spend a whole 800 pages on setup and then have three more books in the pipeline. I would have liked a little more time spent on the ending – but it certainly isn’t the worst offender I’ve read recently.

Overall I’d say this would be a good book to read especially if you loved the previous books in the series – but I also think this shows that sometimes it is well-worth sticking with a series even if you aren’t entirely convinced by the earlier books. Writers are constantly growing and developing and I cannot wait to read whatever Zoraida Cordova has for us next!

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Wayward Witch publishes September 1st

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What say you? What are your thoughts on this series? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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