Book: Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez
Published January 2020 by Page Street Kids|384 pages
Where I Got It: I own the hardcover
Series: Woven In Moonlight #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.
I liked Woven In Moonlight! The description and the cover caught my attention, and I’m glad I read it!
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like arranged marriage is starting to become a thing in YA fantasy. Granted, characters aren’t actually getting married. I can definitely think of a few books where characters are sent to the court of someone they’re supposed to marry. For the most part, it’s not being demanded that they come to court to get married or their people will be destroyed. This book is not as subtle where that is concerned.
The decoy Condesa concept was interesting. I don’t get how Ximena’s people don’t know that she’s not the real Condesa. Was she hidden away her whole life and no one knew what she looked like? That was a little strange to me, but there’s nothing I could do about it.
I did like seeing how Ximena went from wanting the real Condesa on the throne to Atoc’s sister being on the throne. The real Condesa didn’t make a big impression on me, to the point that I can’t remember her name. I do get why she felt betrayed by Ximena but I also get why Ximena acted the way she did. Things aren’t what Ximena thought, and what she grew up knowing and experiencing as an Illustrian were completely different than Atoc’s people experienced. Though I didn’t like Atoc, or agree with how he did things, something about how his people were treated seemed very familiar.
I liked how Ximena’s weaving came to life, and how the moonlight changed things in her pieces. I crochet, so I definitely appreciated the work Ximena put into her craft. I loved seeing the different animals from her tapestries on the cover, which is really beautiful. It makes me wish I could see the tapestries in person. The cover is partly why I picked this book up- the colors are pretty and bold but also muted.
Things felt very resolved, but it also felt like there is the possibility of a sequel. I’d be interested to see where a sequel would go and the story it would be. I could definitely think of a few directions it could go and I’m curious to see what life is going to be like for all of the characters.
3 stars. I liked Woven In Moonlight, though I couldn’t begin to tell you why I didn’t love it. Still, I can’t wait to read what Ibanez writes next!