Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, YA
talks of slavery, violence, a colonizer narrative
Woven in Moonlight is a fantasy inspired from Bolivian politics and history and it is about magic, romance and revolution. I liked this book but I wouldn’t say that I was a huge fan of it as I did have a few problems with it.
The story is about Ximena, who is a decoy for the real Condesa, who is the last of the Illustrian royalty. This story has elements of rebellion and taking back your land. But this story is not as simple as that. Ximena goes to the La Ciudad instead of the Condesa and try to get information from Atoc who is the usurper. Throughout the story, Ximena realises that maybe the people she thinks of as an enemy aren’t really that bad. This was a narrative which did not sit right with me while reading it because Ximena’s thinking about the Llacsans was very prejudiced. It felt very one sided. Cande from LatinxMagic has explained this really well on how this story does not handle the colonizer narrative that well. So do check it out once.
The story then follows on how she discovers and uncovers more about the Llacsans and finds out there is a lot more to know then what she has learned as she meets more people and finds herself actually liking them. The story was good but nothing very impressive to me.
The characters were good. The main character is Ximena who I actually found a little annoying because of how privileged she could be and I wasn’t completely in love with her. There were the good parts and the bad parts. The second main character was El Lobo who was a masked vigilante and the suspense of the book. The other main characters were the Condesa, Tamaya the princess of Llacsan and Rumi who was a healer. Everyone had a good role but I couldn’t say that I felt attached to any of the characters a lot. They got a little to obvious in their actions and hence I got bored reading about it after a while.
The romance was slow burn but while reading it felt like one moment there was nothing and the next moment it was there. It was a good pair and it was expected but somehow it happened a little suddenly for me. I did not expect it to happen at the time it did. The main villain was Atoc who was the usurper. He was a typical bad villain who was oversmart and overconfident and as far as villains go, I have read about better. The narrative was such that the villain is not just them but as you read more the line between good and bad starts getting smudged. It wasn’t as interesting as I expected it to be.
The Writing and Pacing
The writing was good and I really wish the pacing matched with it too. The pacing was not that great and for the first 50-60% it was slow with not much happening and then in the end the action started and it all happened quickly. I had a problem getting comfortable with the pacing. I really loved the writing and it suited the vibe of the book well.
The World Building
The World Building was a really good and positive thing about the book. It was exactly as described- lush. The descriptions were beautiful and all the food and places described was simply amazing. The idea of Ximena weaving tapestries from moonlight was really beautiful and I really loved the magic system in the book. I just hoped the other elements would fall into place just as well but since they did not do that for me, I ended up rating it three stars.
Overall, Woven in Moonlight was an average read for me and I did not like it as much as I expected it too. It was a book with a really good world building and magic and I really hoped to like it more. This wasn’t for me but I would suggest you’ll read about this book and read it if you like!
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. This has in no way affected my opinions, which are all my own.
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