Woven in Moonlight – Book Review

Synopsis – Goodreads

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.

The Great: Simple answer? The last half of the book. I liked Ximena from the beginning. However, I didn’t fall in love with her until closer to the end. I’m also a huge fan of other characters in the main cast like – Rumi, a healer whose primarily responsible for Ximena while she’s in the castillo awaiting her wedding day to the usurper Atoc; Juan Carlos, a witty and kind half Illustrian, half Llacsan guard in Atoc’s infantry tasked with guarding her while she’s in the castillo; And finally, Suyana, a careful yet kind-hearted maid. They truly brought the story alive!

I also really enjoyed the author, Isbael Ibañez’ writing style. Ibañez does a great job setting each scene. Every step of the way I felt like I was in Inkasisa. Whether it was the Illustrian keep, La Ciudad Blanca or the castillo, I felt like I was apart of the story and its magic.

The Good: Plot. Overall the plot is equal parts entertaining as it is informative. Although the storyline was at times predictable, I enjoyed the journey.

I also enjoyed the magic system and world building. The magic system felt fresh and new. And the world building blended smoothly throughout the entirety of the story. I especially enjoyed the fact that the world building almost felt like a treasure hunt. I discovered new things about Inkasisa from beginning to end.

The not-so-good: For the first half of the book, I couldn’t figure out what or why I was reading it at a snail’s pace. I was hooked into the story, and for the most part, enjoying it. Yet still I’d read maybe 10-15 pages at a time. After finishing the book, I realized it was the pace. Now I usually expect the first half of a new fantasy read to be filled with info-dumping and world-building, However, Ibañez did a fantastic job weaving it seamlessly throughout the story. But the pace, although it seemed like it was intended to be fast was actually pretty slow.

Also, two of the major reveals were … predictable. It didn’t fully take away from the story for me. But, I can see how some readers may lose interest.

Overall, this was an incredibly entertaining and enjoyable read. Isabel Ibañez did a great job creating a world that is based on unfortunate events in Bolivia, with an empowering message of rising up against dictatorship. And finding equal ground for all. If you’re a YA fantasy fan, I recommend picking it up!