Magic, fairies, and impending world doom — just another day in the life of the Moritz siblings. Like its predecessors, in Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova, the last in the Brooklyn Brujas series, the heart of the story is always family.
When we start Wayward Witch, the focus is on Rose Moritz, the youngest of the three sisters. Rose’s Death Day party should be the perfect time to unwind and celebrate, but instead she feels anxious and nervous. Everything in her life seems to be okay — her sisters are home, her father is back after being missing for years, but something tugs at the corners of her mind. She is scared of her powers and the damage that they could cause to the people that she loves. Plus, it doesn’t help that her father gets a thousand yard stare every time he thinks no one is looking. Things start to take a turn when Nova, her pseudo sibling, lets her know that he is leaving the city. He gifts her with a handmade bracelet and other gifts for her sisters before disappearing. Soon after, Rose finds herself running away from monstrous creatures alongside her father. The pair aren’t able to outrun them and they find themselves in the Kingdom of Adas — the same space her father had been trapped in for so many years.
Suddenly, Rose finds herself in a journey across the land of Adas with a group of warriors to defeat the “Rot.” The “Rot” is a mysterious and deadly force that is destroying everything in its path. If the group is not able to defeat it, then it will eventually not only ruin the kingdom, but decimate Brooklyn as well.
Wayward Witch is about the bonds of family and how we choose to grow them—whether that be in love or fear. Córdova places the relationship between Rose and her father directly in comparison with the fairy king Cirro and his children. In doing so, the reader is given the chance to really differentiate the daddy issues between the two families. King Cirro sees his kids as taxidermied trophies to be displayed and shows kindness only if it is to his own advantage. Meanwhile with Rose, as a reader we can feel the love her father has for her, but the tension there is more a result of miscommunication. As their relationship progresses throughout the book, each truth and each step is taken out of the deep respect and love the pair have for one another, even if it hurts. With King Cirro, it’s the opposite, it’s taken out of duty and fear. At the climax of the book, the reader gets to see the consequences of each route taken. Córdova builds really complimentary arcs and the resolution of both is very satisfying to read.
One of the standout characters in the book is Lin, a non-binary brujex who Rose immediately finds a kinship with. Their relationship is warm and affectionate. Lin is the perfect anchor for Rose in the strange new world that she is in. There is more to them than meets the eye and a late third act reveal is guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
As a reader, and especially as a Latina reader, it is so satisfying to read a story about fairies and magic that does not revolve around a Eurocentric fantasy view. The Brooklyn Brujas series unabashedly revels in the myriad of different Latinx identities that it represents. The series is a true delight to read from start to finish and will inspire any brujex out there to carve out a piece of their own world, deserving of its own magic.