Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas, #3)

Rose Mortiz has always been a fixer, but lately she's been feeling lost. She has brand new powers that 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 that she can repair her broken family, she must figure out how to heal Adas first.

TITLE: Wayward Witch
AUTHOR: Zoraida Córdova
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
YEAR: 2020
LENGTH: 239 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Wayward Witch is about coming to terms with the past; fixing what you can and forgiving where you must. It continues the trilogy's emphasis on family while expanding all the wonderful things that can mean. Filled with fairies and a whole new realm to explore.

Bruja Born left me feeling like I needed to know more, and Wayward Witch gave me answers in a way I wasn't expecting. It would have been easy to give answers about Rose's dad in a way that pushed her to the side, but instead she really shines here and I love it. I like how this is a journey story like Labyrinth Lost while still being its own thing. Rose was in the previous two books and I really enjoyed her as the POV character for this one. She gave me a new person’s perspective on characters I already knew, plus a different way of thinking about the book’s world. She really got out of her siblings' shadows and had her own thing going on. I'd been wondering what her book would be like back when I read Bruja Born and enjoyed how Rose felt like a full person even though we hadn't gotten her side yet.

In any story where the protagonist is uncertain of their memory it can be difficult to portray memory gaps in a way that feels natural when reading. This book manages that balance splendidly. It’s subtle enough that I felt good when I first noticed it, like I’d caught this great bit of story by paying attention. I love the story, there’s a lot of characters but it stays pretty focused by making each one either really memorable and very important or okay to pay a little less attention to. There were several very moving and surprising moments, including one particularly great surprise towards the end that I loved.

The world-building really shines; it has a starting place from the previous two books, but rather than stay comfortably close to home it ventures out into a strange and wonderful place. I already knew the author is great at describing magical creatures (that was one of my favorite things in The Vicious Deep), but the fairies here are really amazing. I kept having a new favorite fairy every few chapters as subtle shifts in emphasis gave several of them time to stand out from the group. 

I'm sad for the trilogy to be over but I suspect there will keep being more in this world, I certainly hope I'm right. 

CW for kidnapping, confinement, emotional abuse, animal death (not depicted), excrement (brief), vomit, blood, gore, body horror, violence, major character death, death.

A gold sketch of a slightly open flower on a red background.


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