cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 5-6

Purity in Death (In Death, #15)Purity in Death by J.D. Robb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is your standard Eve Dallas story though I think this time it skipped the PTSD nightmare and actually went light on the Eve/Roarke blow out-make up sex nonsense we see every book and for that I was happy.

I have to say I found the actual crime a tad hard to buy into and Robb definitely soft shoes around how this could happen (a computer virus that spreads to humans). That said, what they do with it, the ethics of it etc is interesting. It starts explosively enough with one neighbor beating the other to death and forcing Eve's young cop-to-groom (trueheart) into a shooting situation.

One by one scummy people who have skirted 'justice' are dying of severe headaches and horrendous violence on their part with a final computer message 'purity achieved' left behind. But of course, as these things do, it's not just the guilty but escaped punishment people who are exposed. Quickly other Eve knows are hurt or dead because of this and naturally she needs Roarke to help her with the computer stuff in this before more innocents die.

There is a lot of interesting dynamics in this and Robb's work, however formulaic at times, is always engaging and easy to read. I do enjoy the series even if I found this one in particular difficult to swallow. That said the idea of who punishes the guilty and who even gets to decide who IS guilty is a good conundrum to noodle around with.

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Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this so very much. First, we have all Latinx cast with the exception of Alex's best friend, Rishi who's Indian and it's steep in the culture plus magic so what's not to love. Alex's deathday is coming up, a celebration of living family plus the spirits of the dead ones that helps to bless a Bruja/Brujo's magic. The problem is, Alex doesn't really want one. She hates her magic unlike her younger sister Rose who embraces her 'sight' and her beautiful older sister, Lula's healing ability.

Here is where I see a lot of reviewers calling Alex ungrateful or spoiled and I have to respectfully disagree. Yes, she is rejecting her heritage but this is a teenager (at an age where the judgement centers of the brain are still forming) whose magic, in her eyes, lead to the death of her beloved cat and her father 'rejecting her and running away from the family' (There is good reason to assume she's read the situation wrong). Who can blame her for being gun shy after that level of abandonment plus watching her mother spiral down under the weight of her losses and the added stress of being a sole provider for three daughters? It's understandable to me that Alex might want to reject the magical side of herself.

And when she tries praying to the deos (the gods) to take her magic and it backfires, costing her her entire family, now lost in Los Lagos, the realm of spirits, Alex doesn't whine and cry about it. She dives into saving them even knowing it will cost her her life. That is not spoiled.

Alex needs the help of Nova, a brujo she doesn't trust and together they try to rescue her family and Los Lagos itself from The Devourer. Yes, there is yet another sort of tired love triangle in this but it's more like mutual attraction than love and it is bisexual so there's that. I could have lived without it.

I very much liked Alex and Nova. Rishi too though she feels a bit more undeveloped. Nova, for all his flaws, is very compelling to me. Alex is strong and determined. Rishi embodies loyalty. Los Lagos seemed all too real.

I truly enjoyed this and am looking forward to finding time to read the rest of the series (though coming in late I see this is going to feature a book per sister and I'm not sure how I feel about that but I shall see). It's great to see an own voices book, especially Latinx and I'm looking forward to more.

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Tags: glbt, mystery, urban fantasy, young adult

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