“Words empowered by justice can never be silenced.”
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 first time I laid eyes on the gorgeous cover I just knew I had to read this book! I was not disappointed because this novel is just as lovely and lush as the cover promised it to be. It’s a story of two different communities fighting for justice, and tells of a long history of war and revenge that goes too far back in the past that the lines blur between the victims and the oppressors. At the center of this war is Ximena, a Condesa stand-in groomed to protect her people’s last remaining royal bloodline.
“I’m only a copy of someone else. Just a decoy. I’m not really her. I’m not me. I don’t know who I am or where I belong, if anywhere at all.”
Ximena (he-meh-nah) is one of the most unique heroines I have ever encountered. In the novel she describes herself: “I like to stab things. Heights really bother me. I need coffee every day, and I’m not that excited about getting married.” I think we can be best friends! Ximena knows how to use a sword, and does not hesitate to use it to kill. On her spare time she weaves colorful tapestry using the most magical of threads. Honestly though, I had difficulty at first in liking her character because she comes across as rather harsh and bitter. But over time I got to understand her personality and her motivations, and that is actually a huge part of the message of this book — for readers to remember to always open their hearts and minds to other people regardless if they come from different backgrounds.
“Why is it so hard to believe that even enemies may want the same things?”
The author’s pacing kept me curious all the time, you can just tell there’s more to the story. The plot reveals and the twists and turns will unfold gradually. It was just a bit hard to understand all that is happening at the beginning, because it is such a different world that is filled with all this history and color. But once you are sucked in, it will be hard to let go of this exotic universe. Speaking of color, I really liked the use of color as a symbol in differentiating the two warring cultures, and how it guides the reader to Ximena’s assimilation to the Llancas community. Reading this is also a gastronomical delight, I can’t tell you how many times my mouth watered with all the food being consumed. I just love how the book is ultimately a celebration of culture and art.
“None of your promises have been kept—we are not safe, we are not equal, we are not free. We’ve exchanged one tyrant for another.”
“Your people are starving. You are not the same king we fought for!”
It is a highly political novel, and the author has confirmed that it is inspired by Bolivian politics and history. I appreciate the brave content, it definitely does not hold back on the violence, and closely reflects the reality of rotten governments with leaders that use their positions of power for selfish gains. Even here in the Philippines, we have to live with this kind of tyranny everyday. It is a struggle, but there is always hope for a better future as long as there are good people who fight for justice and equality.
“We float between worlds, between two sides of a war, and the promises we’ve made to others.”
I must admit I could have used more romance, because it was such a wonderful build up of chemistry between Rumi and Ximena. Rumi is a fascinating character, showing the same multi-faceted personality as Ximena. He is a healer, but he can also easily destroy and annihilate anything or anyone in favor of the people he cares about.
This was truly a fantastic read. It did not go where I expected it to go. I was pleasantly surprised the whole time I was reading it. Though I felt that some characters wavered a bit towards inconsistencies in their personalities and life decisions, this made them all the more relatable because of their real vulnerabilities and humanity. It is an honest depiction of a time of war, with all the real horrors and sacrifices, but certainly not without beauty and hope.
“Rising tides can’t be held back, but they can be ridden. I have to ride this wave through. It’s the only way I’ll be free.”
“Everything always seems sweeter in the minutes before darkness descends.”
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
About the Author
Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books. Say hi on social media at @IsabelWriter09.
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Hardback, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Page Street Books
Edition Language: English
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | ABEBOOKS | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BETTER WORLD BOOKS | INDIEBOUND
Follow the Blog Tour
I am grateful to Raf of The Royal Polar Bear Reads for always trusting me to join his fabulous blog tours. Big thanks also to Page Street Books and Isabel Ibañez for the opportunity.
Below are the other awesome bloggers participating in the tour:
Rafael from The Royal Polar Bear Reads
Alexx from Enthralled Bookworm
Jenny from Levicorpvs Blog
Dexter from Dexterous Totalus
Jonathan from Wander with Jon
Yna from Yna, The Mood Reader
Shaine from Wanderer in Neverland
Hanns from @hnnsreads
Gabrielle from @paperbacks.and.petals
Tru from @eats.tru
Princess from Princess & Pages