Author: Romina Garber
Publisher: Wednesday Books
First Published: 04 August 2020
“Sometimes reality strays so far from what’s rational that we can only explain it through fantasy.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much Meghan Harrington and team at Wednesday Books for sending a copy my way. I am very thankful for be part of this Blog Tour.
Lobizonas do NOT exist.
Both of these statements are false.
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . it’s her entire existence.
Lobizona had me utterly enchanted. I adored the exploration of Argentine folklore. I flew through this, especially during the last half which hit me with all the emotion.
Romina Garber explores what it means to be an illegal immigrant and she doesn’t hold back from the horrors. The tone of the novel is set from the opening pages when Manu and her mother are hiding from ICE to avoid deportation. Despite this there is an overall theme hope and that change is possible.
Manu finds her heritage when she stumbles into El Laberinto, a magical academy for the Septimus. Spetimus are magical race where the girls are elemental witches or bruja and the guys are werewolves or lobizon. To stay in the academy, Manu needs to learn everything there is to know about this world and maybe she’ll be able to learn more about her father.
Manu feels like a fully developed character. She seems to be outcast in all directions. In the human world, she’s an illegal immigrant and due to her golden eyes with star pupils she’s unable to fit in. And on the flip since, in the world of the Septimus, she’s hybrid who shouldn’t exist. My heart breaks for her. You can feel how isolated she is and how much she wants to find a place to belong.
I love the group of friends that Manu makes. They have her back even though their society won’t accept hybrids. They are all well-rounded characters. I cannot wait to learn more about them in the rest of the series.
The diversity in this world is amazing! All the character are Latinx and we do have queer representation too. Sprinkled throughout the characters speak in Spanish, which I loved. Even though I don’t understand the language, it makes sense for the characters to switch between English and Spanish. Also while not all the Spanish sections were given a direct translation there was enough context that I understood the meaning.
I adore everything about folklore. Folklore in novels is one of my all-time favourite things. Before Lobizona I knew nothing about Agrenetine folklore as Latian American culture isn’t hugely represented in Australia. After this book, I cannot wait to learn more. The folklore elements give the world a magical realism feel rather than a typical urban or portal fantasy. I was completely sucked into the world. Lunaris is whimsical. There are fizzy flowers that you can drink and sentient trees filled with books.
I cannot wait for the sequel to be released so we can see what happens to Manu and the rest of her pack. This perfect for those who are interested in diverse fantasy and those who are interested in a look at Lantix culture and injustices Lantix immigrants face daily.