Some people ARE illegal.
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.
Title : Lobizona
Author : Romina Garber
Series : Wolves of No World (book one)
Format : physical
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : August 4, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5
Hollis’ 3.5 star review
Right off the bat, I have to say, I absolutely love and respect what Garber is both saying and doing with this story. Between the very real-world fear about being undocumented, illegal, deported, the author has also transported that same fear into their fantasy setting where the origins of our MCs birth make her just as illegal but with the added bonus of her existence also being punishable by death. That said, the real-world scenes with ICE were scarier.
Despite the creativity of the fantasy portion of this world, I rather wish we hadn’t been in it. And not just because of the constant references to a certain Wizarding World and school (which, hey, warning! now you know). I almost wish all the fantasy bits had happened within the real world setting somehow and this had been more urban fantasy than what it was. Because I did like parts of the magical side of things, even if, brujas and lobizones (witches and werewolves) the whole society, was stuck in binary gender roles — though at least with more open-mindedness at the possibility of being other.. for reasons.
If you hadn’t noticed, this book tackles Lots Of Things.
Sometimes I liked the descriptions but I could feel myself glazing over a bit, skimming, until a certain reveal was revealed (clever). But even in the lead up to a certain confrontation I just felt lost in this other world. We definitely hit a point near the end where it’s just a frenetic rush to get some action in before the end and I was definitely feeling checked out.
I like, though don’t love, the characters but totally appreciate the slight deviation of formula in regards to the romance. But ultimately it does get a similar YA fantasy treatment, snowflake and all, and is saved by all the important dialogue happening around the fantastic elements (I stupidly didn’t keep track of any quotes but man there were some really great lines in here). And, again, not only what Manu represents but all the who she represents.
I’m interested to see where book two goes, and thankfully have an ARC I can dive into soon. I can totally see why so many people love this and hope I come around to those same feels in the sequel.