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Woven in Moonlight

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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 Ximenas motivated by her insatiable thirst for 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.


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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 Ximenas motivated by her insatiable thirst for 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.

30 review for Woven in Moonlight

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    came for the gorgeous cover but stayed for the latin american representation, lush magic, a swoon-worthy rebel, fluid writing, THE MAGIC SLOTH, and the slow simmer into an explosion of an ending. while there really is a lot to love about this, my main complaint would some aspects of the world-building are lacking. im not sure if it was mentioned and i just missed it, but i cant remember reading about why there is magic and why people have different kinds of it. its not really explained - the came for the gorgeous cover but stayed for the latin american representation, lush magic, a swoon-worthy rebel, fluid writing, THE MAGIC SLOTH, and the slow simmer into an explosion of an ending. while there really is a lot to love about this, my main complaint would some aspects of the world-building are lacking. im not sure if it was mentioned and i just missed it, but i cant remember reading about why there is magic and why people have different kinds of it. its not really explained - the reader just kind of has to accept it, if that makes sense. not a deal breaker, but just a minor critique. overall, this is a really lovely debut. im intrigued to see where the story goes. i know there isnt going to be a sequel but rather a second book which takes place in the same world, after the events of this novel. regardless, im sure it will be just as magical. ↠ 4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Ibañez

    Hi everyone! I don't spend a lot of time on Goodreads but as WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT heads out into the world, I wanted to quickly mention a few things! First, WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT is a standalone, but the Inkasisa world is expansive so I imagine there might be a few stories I can still hope to write! The next book set in this world is WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT, and while the story takes place directly after the events of WIM, it can be read on it's ownthough you might enjoy it more if you read them in Hi everyone! I don't spend a lot of time on Goodreads but as WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT heads out into the world, I wanted to quickly mention a few things! First, WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT is a standalone, but the Inkasisa world is expansive so I imagine there might be a few stories I can still hope to write! The next book set in this world is WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT, and while the story takes place directly after the events of WIM, it can be read on it's own—though you might enjoy it more if you read them in order. :) Secondly, I get this question a lot, but yes, the antagonist is inspired by a real person and his actions. He is dangerous, corrupt and powerful and affecting thousands of Bolivians by his leadership. South America has a long history of such people in power, and you only need to look at what's happened to Venezuela to see the horrifying and truly heartbreaking results. I also thought I'd mention a couple of content warnings: Graphic Violence + Death/Executions. WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT is very much a revolution story, filled with politics and inspiration from events that have happened in Bolivia. Lastly, thank you so much for reading! I appreciate it so much. <3 Isabel P.S. I’m editing this comment to add that the preorder campaign for WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT is LIVE! Details can be found on my IG (@IsabelWriter09). 💛 All preorders, including from international folks will receive: an art print, three character cards, a bookmark, and one sticker. There’s a grand prize, too (details in IG post from Nov. 20th). Just make sure to email your preorder receipt to IbanezPreorders [at] gmail [dot] com by January 6th! Thank you so much! 🥰

  3. 5 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    I don't care how shallow this makes me but I need this book in my life just for that beautiful cover ☺

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I picked up WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT on a whim because it was offered to me as an ARC and I thought the cover was really pretty. I was a little leery, though; the cover looked cutesy and cutesy fantasy rarely sits well with me. But this is one of those instances where the cover doesn't really match the book. WOVEN IN MIDNIGHT looks like it's going to be a sweet and sleepy middle grade fantasy story about some brave and plucky girl. Instead... Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I picked up WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT on a whim because it was offered to me as an ARC and I thought the cover was really pretty. I was a little leery, though; the cover looked cutesy and cutesy fantasy rarely sits well with me. But this is one of those instances where the cover doesn't really match the book. WOVEN IN MIDNIGHT looks like it's going to be a sweet and sleepy middle grade fantasy story about some brave and plucky girl. Instead... it's dark. In some ways, it actually reminded me of one of my favorite YA fantasy books, THE WINNER'S CURSE. Set in a made-up land inspired by Bolivian history and politics, the main character, Ximena, acts as the "decoy" princess to the true ruler, Catalina. Catalina is soft and weak, so Ximena acts in her stead to fool the usurpers in case they ever attack. Which they do. And of course, Ximena goes in Catalina's place to their cutthroat and terrifying court where she meets the terrifying Atoc, a man who has risen up against his oppressors but who has let power corrupt and brutalize him. Now he is just as cruel as the people he claims to be fighting against, if not more so, and he's demanding that Ximena marry him. There are two small gleams of hope. The first is a figure called El Lobo, a masked vigilante who's like a cross between Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel. He doesn't agree with Atoc's strongman totalitarianism and isn't afraid to say so. The second is Ximena's own magic ability; she can weave with the threads of the moon and imbue her tapestries with magic. WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT has it all-- swashbuckling, forbidden romance, masked and dashing heroes, magic, court intrigue, strong heroines, adorable sidekicks, drugs and trafficking, high stakes, and difficult conversations and questions. It doesn't condescend or talk down to its audience at all. The world-building here is great, and the influence of Bolivian culture is strong with beautiful descriptions of art, lavish and mouthwatering foods, Spanish dialogue and words (as well as indigenous ones). The balance between the light and the dark was really well done. I think there's going to be a sequel and I'm really curious to see where the author takes it from here! Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!   4 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This is the kind of fantasy that really enchants you with fake queens, roguish vigilantes, and the absolute cutest magic sloths. It's true!! There is a sloth made of magic here and for that reason alone you'll want to read this! I went in not knowing much about it, so here is my quick highlight reel of what you're in for: 📖#ownvoices Bolivian-inspired fantasy 📖 so much rich culture, so much love for details 📖the absolute most delicious food descriptions you will up and try to gnaw your book pages This is the kind of fantasy that really enchants you with fake queens, roguish vigilantes, and the absolute cutest magic sloths. It's true!! There is a sloth made of magic here and for that reason alone you'll want to read this! I went in not knowing much about it, so here is my quick highlight reel of what you're in for: 📖#ownvoices Bolivian-inspired fantasy 📖 so much rich culture, so much love for details 📖the absolute most delicious food descriptions you will up and try to gnaw your book pages 📖the queen's decoy is supposed to be demure and quiet and she pretty much is an explosion of electrical rage with a sword and she despises frills and can only be calmed if given fried food (relatable) 📖sour healer boy whom I love 📖lots of craft appreciation! magical weaving! 📖trying to avoid marrying an evil king 📖vigilante named El Lobo all dressed in black and dashing but whose side is he on 📖unique and amazing magic system!! [the story it told] Ximena has posed as the "fake Condesa" all her life, so when the queen is supposed to be married off to the enemy king to save their people, obviously Ximena goes in Catalina's place. My favourite part was how Ximena fakes being the demure, sweet and friend-to-all-queen, when really she is such a wiry fireball. She's like 1000% Gryffindor: impulsive, brash, passionate, prone to looking back at the destruction she caused and being like "oop". A lot of the story is set in the evil king's palace, and it's about Ximena making unlikely friends and getting accidentally involved in the vigilante's revolution. She's obviously got split loyalties: she's spying for her people. But she's also learning her people's solution to the war maaaay not be as solid as they thought. I don't typically love plots where it's mostly palace settings -- but I was so hooked here! I think it's because I loved the characters! There are lovely delicious plot twists and also some darker moments to amp up tension. It also talks about colonisation and how blatant hate of a whole people group gets you no where and improves nothing. You can't pretend to be better than the villains if you're as cruel to them as they are to you. I toooootally guessed the identity of El Lobo early though. AH. I am smort. [characters] We've established Ximena is the best: but also a huge reason I loved her is she has so much attitude but is never obnoxious. She has a careful and thoughtful arc -- with learning that she has to speak for herself, she has to think for herself, after a whole life of being taught what to do and who to pretend to be. (I also loved that the book had these dark moments BUT it segued into the banter and quips perfectly without ever feeling forced or snarky.) I didn't feel a huge connection to any of Ximena's people (like Catalina, Sofia, Ana, etc.) but we didn't spend a lot of time with them. However I LOVED all the other minor characters. And there were a lot but I still remembered them?! Amazing me. Juan Carols the friendly bubbly guard. Suyana the sharp maid. Rumi, the mouldy healer boy who is so sour but also secretly sweet. 🥺I adored him and kind of shipped him and Ximena straight away. Also this has the plot of girl-gets-married-off-to-evil-abusive-king but she DOES NOT fall for him. The villainy isn't romanticised! [foodie fiction] No surprise but I really LOVE foodie descriptions and this had so much Bolivian and Latina food, I just ahhh. I was googling things they described and just wanted to try it all. Also Ximena is like "make everything spicy and deep friend" and she is honestly a blessing. Also I want oranges dipped in chocolate?!?? This was a magical, sweeping story, rich in magic and culture and heart. It definitely left me hungry for more!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    4 stars Ximena can weave moonlight into lush tapestries of wool, and sometimes they come to life. When her people need her to infiltrate the enemy's kingdom to take down the false king, Ximena doesn't hesitateshe's ready to fight. But what happens when the cause you've been fighting for becomes more gray than black and white? World: ★★★★★ Characters: ★★★★ Dialogue: ★★ Pacing: ★★★ Ximena's job is to be the decoy Condesa, who is the true heir to the Illustrian throne. The Illustrians were recently 4 stars Ximena can weave moonlight into lush tapestries of wool, and sometimes they come to life. When her people need her to infiltrate the enemy's kingdom to take down the false king, Ximena doesn't hesitate—she's ready to fight. But what happens when the cause you've been fighting for becomes more gray than black and white? World: ★★★★★ Characters: ★★★★ Dialogue: ★★ Pacing: ★★★ Ximena's job is to be the decoy Condesa, who is the true heir to the Illustrian throne. The Illustrians were recently overpowered by Atoc, the leader of the Ilyacans, in a bloody battle that decimated the current ruling powers and made way for a new regime. But all is not well in this new rule, and the Illustrians desperately want their kingdom back. When Atoc demands the hand of the Condesa in marriage, Ximena knows she must go in the princess' stead. Entering into the belly of the beast, all Ximena has to rely on are her wits, her family's culture, and her magical moonlight weaving—which she plans to use to send secret messages to her people. But Ximena soon realizes that the playing field isn't all that it seems, and it will take an interesting cast of characters—including a masked vigilante, a trapped princess, and a broody healer—to change her black and white beliefs on an entire community of people. Sometimes the "enemy" isn't evil.... This was such a fun story. I liked the world building and the descriptions—this world is described as "lush" in the blurb, and that's so accurate—and I really enjoyed Ximena's character growth throughout the story. Also, even though the plot felt extremely predictable, it did surprise me a few times! The only real negative for me was the stilted dialogue. Woven in Moonlight really struggles for the first 50% with what feels like extremely scripted, surface level dialogue interactions. Real people don't talk like they're regurgitating rehearsed lines...and sometimes Ximena's interactions felt like B-list theater plays, where none of the conversations feel organic. This does improve throughout the novel (or maybe I got used to it, let's be real) but it was still something that kept me from getting fully invested into the plot from the get-go. Thank you to Page Street Books via NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Instagram

  7. 5 out of 5

    Olive

    See my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/LDi_8XieLg4 And the below review originally appeared on Open Letters Review. Inspired by Bolivian culture and history, Isabel Ibañez spins a glittering and richly drawn story in her young adult fantasy debut, Woven in Moonlight. A tale of revolution, loyalty, and identity, it begins with a shaky show of leadership by heroine Ximena Rojas, giving her questions about her ability to rule over her people, the displaced Illustrians. Her self-doubt has roots. See my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/LDi_8XieLg4 And the below review originally appeared on Open Letters Review. Inspired by Bolivian culture and history, Isabel Ibañez spins a glittering and richly drawn story in her young adult fantasy debut, Woven in Moonlight. A tale of revolution, loyalty, and identity, it begins with a shaky show of leadership by heroine Ximena Rojas, giving her questions about her ability to rule over her people, the displaced Illustrians. Her self-doubt has roots. Unknown to all but a few within their circle of refugees, Ximena is not the true condesa of the Illustrian people, but a decoy for the actual queen, Catalina. Ximena has been dedicated to her stand-in role since being selected in childhood based on her resemblance to the last Illustrian royal. Now an adult, she fully understands the necessity of such a scheme to protect the physical safety of the condesa, the last hope of their people. And though falsely holding the power of condesa may give a less moral character a craving for the real crown, our heroine’s greatest desire is not to rule, but to stop playing the pretending game: It’s an honor to protect Catalina. To give up my life for hers should it come to that. And despite my duty, despite the long years of living as somebody else, I love her. As a sister, as my future queen. Sometimes, though, that kind of love just isn’t comfortable. Fake or not, the condesa is summoned by the Llacsan king Atoc to La Ciudad Blanca, the capital of Inkasisa that he claimed years prior using the dark magic of an ancient artefact called the Estrella. As usual, Ximena takes Catalina’s place in a journey to the castillo, hoping to find some way around the false king’s demand for her hand in marriage after she arrives. In the meantime, she begins putting together a plan to get her own hands on the Estrella to exact Illustrian revenge and put the real Catalina on the throne. She may be battle-trained, but Ximena is still unprepared for the dangers lurking around every corner of the castillo. The Llacsans at the king’s side don’t take kindly to who they believe to be the queen of the opposing faction and Atoc’s rage, easily provoked, triggers violent powers. He’s particularly prickly about a masked vigilante, El Lobo, repeatedly causing trouble for the crown yet remaining at large. Ximena hopes this stranger can be an ally, should their paths cross. The decoy condesa has little hope for any additional assistance in the castillo, as her outrage over the suffering of the Illustrians during Atoc’s uprising nips at any Llacsan in her path. But as she lets her guard down with those charged with her care as Atoc’s intended, she begins to learn more about her enemy and the root of the revolution that saw her people cast out of the city. The longer she resides in the castillo alongside the Llacsans, the more it seems that matters may not be as clear-cut as she once thought. Though she’s stand-in royalty in title, Ximena as a heroine is the genuine article. Although her devotion to Catalina does prove to have its blind spots, her focus is always on the good of her people. This loyalty even lies at the heart of what makes up both her artistic expression and magical gift. We’re told that the Illustrians, serving Luna, Goddess of the Moon, each have unique powers granted by the moonlight. Ximena is an expert weaver and by night, she can incorporate threads of moonlight into her ornate woolen tapestries: I work the incandescent thread, over and under again, building a scene of the night sky. The moonlight turns to moondust as I weave, fluttering to the stone floor like falling snowflakes. In what feels like minutes, a new tapestry winks back at me. A glittering silver work of art that lights up the small room. Pools of moondust gather at my feet, as if I’ve wandered into winter. Ximena uses this skill to attempt to communicate with her people while imprisoned at the castillo, which gives her some surprising advantages but also unintended drawbacks. Besides its plot usage, the weaving aspect also enriches the story with Bolivian heritage and brings it to life with Ximena’s passion for the craft. Readers will half expect to look up and see a finished tapestry, shimmering with moonlight, after they finish a passage detailing her handiwork. Though some of the heroine’s internal strife could, at times, belabor the point, the story moves at a steady pace and provides ample food for thought, fitting for palettes of all ages. The author keeps a command of the writing, direct and purposeful, as well as the reader’s attention. Natural slower periods in the storytelling are equally as entertaining with skillful worldbuilding, mouth-watering food writing, and, of course, Ximena’s beautiful weaving. Truly, this novel is full to the brim with heart. Ximena’s touch can’t only spin moonthread, but also encircles the whole story with authenticity. True bravery can be found in admitting there are things one may have gotten wrong and Ximena’s willingness to keep an open ear to things that may change her perspective makes her not only an engaging guide through this story, but also an admirable young woman, herself worthy of emulation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    sarah xoxo

    Woven in Moonlight was an impressive debut from Isabel Ibañez. The fantasy setting, based off Bolivia was refreshing and unique. The atmosphere was enthralling and immersive. Descriptions of the food, clothing and palace made the world tangible. Woven in Moonlight covers the aftermath of war and the intricacies of morality when nothing is black and white. There were clear parallels between political and cultural aspects of past and present Bolivia, and the Spanish Inquisitor overthrow of the Woven in Moonlight was an impressive debut from Isabel Ibañez. The fantasy setting, based off Bolivia was refreshing and unique. The atmosphere was enthralling and immersive. Descriptions of the food, clothing and palace made the world tangible. Woven in Moonlight covers the aftermath of war and the intricacies of morality when nothing is black and white. There were clear parallels between political and cultural aspects of past and present Bolivia, and the Spanish Inquisitor overthrow of the native Incan people. The characters were a bit hit and miss for me. For the most part I liked our main character, though she could get on my nerves at some stages. I loved Rumi and his sarcastic banter. I thought Atoc was a well developed villain who definitely gave me the creeps. However some others felt a bit one dimensional to me. I personally was a fan of the romance! It was slowburn- but that paid off in the end. I would love to read more books following these characters. The magic of this book was what really brought it to life. Abilities such as magical weaving and reading the stars just elevated it to another level. It was hard to believe this is a debut, as the writing was lyrical, descriptive and beautiful. Isbañez masterfully wove those elements into a whimsical and intoxicating novel. My main problems with this story was 1. It was very predictable. I guessed very very early on who El Lobo was, and thought it was so obvious that it couldn't possibly be him. But no, I was right. 2. The story lacked the tension that should be present from being a decoy in the midst of the enemy. She was more focused on her inner turmoil than her surroundings and it showed, I was very surprised no one figured out she was a decoy- she didn't make it difficult. I would have expected since she had been the Condesa's decoy since she was so young- she would be... better at it? overall, I would recommend this one when it releases in January 2020 Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    BOLIVIAN POLITICS!!!!!!!! my latina ass wants this so bad especially because of bolivia's current political situation

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zoraida

    Review for Tor.com coming soon... TL;DR - I loved it. Genuinely. Clever take on Latin American/Andean history and politics. Sweet romance. Promising debut author.

  11. 4 out of 5

    laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    Ten years ago, the Llacsans overthrew the Illustrians and took over La Ciudad with an ancient relic filled with powerful magic. Now, as the food stores for the last remaining Illustrians runs dry and their general is missing, the Llacsan king sends a bleak message: the Condesa must marry him, or all Illustrians will die. It seems bleak, but there is one trick left up their sleeve: Ximena, the decoy Condesa. She will infiltrate La Ciudad, find the relic, and return her people to glory. This was a Ten years ago, the Llacsans overthrew the Illustrians and took over La Ciudad with an ancient relic filled with powerful magic. Now, as the food stores for the last remaining Illustrians runs dry and their general is missing, the Llacsan king sends a bleak message: the Condesa must marry him, or all Illustrians will die. It seems bleak, but there is one trick left up their sleeve: Ximena, the decoy Condesa. She will infiltrate La Ciudad, find the relic, and return her people to glory. This was a pleasantly surprising YA fantasy, that took many of the tropes of YA and turned them on their heads! Feisty Girl About to Topple Cruel Government While it started off as somewhat stereotypical, with a former ruling elite forced from power and striving to return to their past positions of glory, this was more a critique of Bolivian political history than anything else. I know absolutely nothing of Bolivian history, but there were some things that made me go, "hmm, I bet this is a call-out to something specific." This was one reason that made the "Girl Goes Revolution" trope a lot different—because instead of bland girl-power-against-evil, this had personal and cultural history and pain written all over it, along with the nuance of real life. Ximena is feisty and gung-ho about freeing her people, but after meeting a masked vigilante, a captive princess and other Llacsans, she starts to listen and realizes that the Illustrian rule wasn't great for all people—just Illustrians. And that while the Llacscans were colonizers (they had run out the previous indigenous peoples hundreds of years previously), the Illustrians were no better—they had unseated the Llacsans from power and had systematically removed Llacsan culture, language, art and way of life over four hundred years of rule. The juxtaposition of Illustrian white-ness (literally, everything in Illustrian culture is white—from their clothes to their art to their architecture to their religion) to the Llacsan over-saturation of color, was so symbolic of previous eradication and colonization in Bolivia. Literal nothingness overtaking and wiping out abundance. Back to Ximena and the trope. Anywho, because of all of this history, Ximena begins to realize that there is no strict good vs bad in this fight—someone is going to win in the end, but is Catalina (the real Condesa) really the best person for the job? Would Catalina just replace one bad ruler with another, and retake the Illustrian throne without any consideration of the Llacsan peoples and their well-being? What makes a government? Can two cultures with lots of painful history coexist? The Killings, Or, This Book Goes There While a lot of YA seems to refrain from death of named characters or death in general (or the pristine heroine actually killing someone), this book goes there. Right away, two seemingly very important characters die. And don't get attached, because this is war and revolution and things happen. It's YA Game of Thrones, and I loved it. The Boy Okay, what YA book doesn't have The Boy? Fine, the sapphic ones, but my point still stands. The Boy™ is one of my least favorite YA tropes, because 1) that is how he is referred to all the time and 2) it perpetuates the false idea that you're gonna find your soulmate at 17. Granted, this book falls into that trap, but at least the dude is kinda interesting? Although I had hoped that it would have been the other choice instead of who was chosen at the end, because I did not like him and I was totally voting for another character to win Ximena's heart. Or there to not be a romantic love interest at all. Anywho, the romance aspect felt shoe-horned in and was kinda there just to be there and make it a YA fantasy. Because the Rules of YA Fantasy state that there cannot be a heroine without The Boy™ (exceptions made for sapphic relationships). Other Things I Liked The worldbuilding. Previously mentioned above so I'll keep this short, but it felt real, with real history and meaning and nuance. 100% because it is #ownvoices and based on real history, but it was done very well. I also spent 90% of the book hungry because the food all sounded delicious. Things That Could Have Been a Little Better or Just..Not Been There At All Ximena as decoy. Damn this girl is a terrible decoy Condesa. For someone who has been the decoy for about ten years, she lacks any hint of subtlety, leadership (people skills—she's got the logistics down pat) or refinement. From the minute she gets to La Ciudad, I was like, "She's going to be discovered in a heartbeat." But, nope. El Lobo. Did he have to be this dude? Really? Really? I was hoping he'd be someone else who was mentioned a bajillion times but never made an appearance, but it wasn't him. The characters. This is a huge cast with lots of different peoples and cultures and everything else, and there is some politicking about other countries and whatnot and how the Big Bad has transformed farmland into drugland, but not a whole lot of other countries waiting to pounce on a kingdom in a weakened state, or seeking external allies. Also, there were a couple of characters who weren't developed fully or at all (Catalina), characters who were Super Important and died right away to further Ximena's growth and reliance on Llacsan characters, and characters who were Super Important but never appeared at all on page. The magic. Chiefly, Ximena's magic. Her ability to weave moonlight was awesome, but the extra bits seemed extraneous and also mostly just padding and fluff to increase word-count and make it more Disneyfied. "See kids? Cute animals! Ignore the beheadings and death! Cute snakes!" Also, I felt like there should have been more focus on the king and his blood mage and all of that business. Primarily, the king's motivations? I just didn't get it. Final Thoughts Yes, this wasn't perfect, but it was much more nuanced than most YA fantasy of late, with a biting critique on an all-or-nothing, black-or-white morality and Bolivian politics that I wasn't expecting to be so...biting. There were a lot of threads left dangling in the wind, so I hope that this gets a sequel (which it looks like it will be!). Hopefully the sequel ties everything together neatly. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Great setting and loved all the history and lore.

  13. 5 out of 5

    jade

    but our way of life, our culture, is gone, like pages torn from a book. this is a little gem of a debut thats light on the fantasy, and heavy on its inspirations from bolivian culture, customs, and history. its central themes also make themselves known pretty early on: colonization, corruption, and revolution. ximena rojas, decoy to catalina, the true condesa and her best friend, has suffered being under siege for long enough. her people are without food and shes got a surplus of anger stored “but our way of life, our culture, is gone, like pages torn from a book.” this is a little gem of a debut that’s light on the fantasy, and heavy on its inspirations from bolivian culture, customs, and history. its central themes also make themselves known pretty early on: colonization, corruption, and revolution. ximena rojas, decoy to catalina, the true condesa and her best friend, has suffered being under siege for long enough. her people are without food and she’s got a surplus of anger stored away, ready to slit throats if she has to. an opportunity presents itself when king atoc proposes enforces a marriage between himself and the condesa -- ximena goes in her friend’s stead, hoping to send sensitive information back home by using her magic art of weaving strands of moonlight into tapestries. however, once back in the city she considered hers after ten long years in exile, ximena is forced to confront her biased worldview and derogatory beliefs; was the city ever hers? the imagery of this novel is evocative, and its magic whimsical. it basically breathes its beautiful world right at you, blooming with lush descriptions of architecture, food, and textiles. (not gonna lie, i spent about 60% of my time reading this with my mouth watering. the fact that the glossary in the back has an entire section dedicated to food should tell you all you need to know.) that said… if this book is a gem, it’s most definitely a diamond in the rough. it reads somewhere halfway between a fairy-tale-esque book for middle-graders and a more serious fantasy for young adults. at times, that contrast can get jarring: the ideas are pretty big and adult and yet the plot remains predictable. some threads of it are simplistically and/or almost too easily resolved. you never get a true sense of who the villain is and why they suddenly turned to cruelty. at the end of the story, some people with dubious motives just go and fuck off in the jungle. themes are there (does ximena still have an identity of her own after pretending to be the condesa for over eight years? are her people who she thought they were?), but they’re rarely thoroughly explored. there’s also always time for cutesy, sarcastic banter… while the rest of the country tears itself apart in civil unrest through drug addictions and lack of resources while former oppressors try to better themselves over the backs of the oppressed. yes, contrast. (also, it does suffer a bit from the Spunky, Angry, Show-Them-How-Strong-I-Am (ft. Without It Making Sense Considering My Goals) Female Protagonist syndrome. whew, that was a mouthful. i didn’t find it very irritating, however.) and by now i can already hear you thinking: “so what about that jarring contrast between so much criticism and a 4 star rating, huh, jade?” ‘cause i LIKED reading it anyway, you bunch of malcontents. you’ve got a masked vigilante with questionable loyalties, a new and diverse setting in white-and-always-sexy YA fantasy-land, a sweet slowburn romance, a revolution in the making, AND it’s tackling colonialism. oh, and there’s magical woolly animals. this story has nuance, it’s colorful in every sense of the word, and the possible love interests defy or subvert their standard YA cookie-cutter molds. i liked it a lot better than anything else i’ve read in this genre so far. in conclusion: i was entertained, fascinated, and hungry for more. what else could i possibly want? ✎ 4.0 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Young

    Isabel Ibanez brings a modern story to an ancient world in her debut novel, WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT. With immersive prose, original magic, and characters as rich as the Bolivian culture that constructs the story, Ibanez delivers a wholly unique book for the YA shelf.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Adalyn Grace

    This book was excellent!! Im someone who pretty much guesses the twists and turns and who-dun-its of most books or movies I consume. However, trying to figure out who the masked vigilante was kept me guessing, and I devoured this book wanting to see what would happen next! The culture that the author pulls you into is so rich and immersive, I really felt that I was transported into this world. And can we talk about the food? Omg I was so hungry reading this book because of all the amazing food This book was excellent!! I’m someone who pretty much guesses the twists and turns and who-dun-its of most books or movies I consume. However, trying to figure out who the masked vigilante was kept me guessing, and I devoured this book wanting to see what would happen next! The culture that the author pulls you into is so rich and immersive, I really felt that I was transported into this world. And can we talk about the food? Omg I was so hungry reading this book because of all the amazing food descriptions 😂 The magic of this world was also wholly unique, and something I thoroughly enjoyed. I won’t spoil anything, but how the magic evolves throughout the story was very creative, and I loved it. The characters also felt very real, with their actions and choices often messy and realistic, reflecting their experience going through this revolution. Nothing ever felt “easy” for the sake of the story. Rather, the characters all are forced to make hard choices with very real consequences, and I appreciated how the author handled them. This was a satisfying read that I loved, and I’m so looking forward to reading the author’s next book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.

    I'm a simple girl. I read "Moonlight" & "Masked Vigilante" and add it to TBR;)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ararita (Okretačica stranica)

    I'm in shock. So many great reviews and so many stars for this? I feel like I've read a different book O.o The characterisation is flat, except Ximena's and Rumi's. There is one "mistical" character, El Lobo, but if you read more than 10 books in your life, you know who he is almost immediately. The blurb (and the reviews) promised a book filled with magic, but that part is so poorly explained and presented. The plot would not change much if that part was ommited. The romantic part was also so I'm in shock. So many great reviews and so many stars for this? I feel like I've read a different book O.o The characterisation is flat, except Ximena's and Rumi's. There is one "mistical" character, El Lobo, but if you read more than 10 books in your life, you know who he is almost immediately. The blurb (and the reviews) promised a book filled with magic, but that part is so poorly explained and presented. The plot would not change much if that part was ommited. The romantic part was also so obvious, slow burning and in general, lame. It's been awhile since I've read a book that disappointed me like this. Two stars only because of the book cover that the author designed herself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    It took me a while to get absorbed in the story as it came off as very simply written, but I grew to enjoy the world and the magic, though I would have liked to see it more developed. This is one of those stories where it is easy to guess what is going to happen, but still enjoy the ride. I liked the difference in the two cultures displayed (and how the constant conflicts hurt each other and the constant back and forth in power) and the two cultures learning about each other through Ximena and It took me a while to get absorbed in the story as it came off as very simply written, but I grew to enjoy the world and the magic, though I would have liked to see it more developed. This is one of those stories where it is easy to guess what is going to happen, but still enjoy the ride. I liked the difference in the two cultures displayed (and how the constant conflicts hurt each other and the constant back and forth in power) and the two cultures learning about each other through Ximena and her encounters at the palace. There are good and bad people in both cultures, and Ximena becomes more critical of what she has learned. This actually ended up being a much more nuanced approach to political issues than a lot of YA books. The romance was a nice slow burn. My only real complaint is that the decoy story was a bit sloppy. Ximena has been a decoy her whole life and yet she is impulsive and constantly making poor decisions, or doing things that make it obvious that she comes from a poorer background. She talks so openly about her past, it is amazing that nobody questioned her background more! And we saw how she longed to be able to be herself, but I feel like there could have been more about how being a decoy impacted her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ☽ TheBibliotheque

    If you think the cover is stunning, wait until you open up this gorgeous book and see what awaits you. Isabel Ibañez has managed to create not only a lustrous world bathed in moonlight, vibrant scents and dazzling colours but also, she has knocked my socks off with one of the most *beautiful* magic systems I have ever come across. All that woven in the rich Bolivian culture of her very own roots. Man, was I blown away. I am telling you, you don't want to miss out on this. But don't be tricked by If you think the cover is stunning, wait until you open up this gorgeous book and see what awaits you. Isabel Ibañez has managed to create not only a lustrous world bathed in moonlight, vibrant scents and dazzling colours but also, she has knocked my socks off with one of the most *beautiful* magic systems I have ever come across. All that woven in the rich Bolivian culture of her very own roots. Man, was I blown away. I am telling you, you don't want to miss out on this. But don't be tricked by the soft looks of Woven in Moonlight. This novel has a realness to it that caught me completely off guard. Besides the lush world Isabel paints, she also does a superb job at showing how real the consequences can be when it comes to war, revolution, and politics based on discrimination. There's a lot of lightness in Woven in Moonlight, but expect a fair share of rawness too. AND THE MASKED VIGILANTE. I literally spent two thirds of the book guessing. Trust me, el Lobo will be YOUR FAVE. I'll say no more. So guys, hear me out on this and make sure you start your year reading Woven in Moonlight because ay, qué preciosidad! *Thank you to the publisher for sending me an early copy of this book. Opinions are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    January 19, 2020: Woven in Moonlight weaves clashing cultures and strong women with a loom placed on societal consequences of war, stepping into enemy grounds, fighting for yourself and your people, and learning, understanding, loving what you once thought you never could. A definitive recommendation for those who love a diverse background and POC in a mixture of politics, history, and magic. Animals literally woven in moonlight, a mysterious vigilante, a handsome healer, and the incorporation of January 19, 2020: Woven in Moonlight weaves clashing cultures and strong women with a loom placed on societal consequences of war, stepping into enemy grounds, fighting for yourself and your people, and learning, understanding, loving what you once thought you never could. A definitive recommendation for those who love a diverse background and POC in a mixture of politics, history, and magic. Animals literally woven in moonlight, a mysterious vigilante, a handsome healer, and the incorporation of language & food into the world built through these pages is like an icing on the cake! November 23, 2019:I never knew politics and history would sound so good once they got together with magic, but here I am! Super excited to read this for a blog tour. Thank you, FFBC Tours and Page Street Publishing for the digital copy via Netgalley.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Ross

    A spellbinding, vivid debut. Plot twists abound, the magic is uniquely drawn, and intrigue illuminates the pages. The world of Inkasisa is so beautifully rendered I never wanted to leave it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    ~Annabelle~ ♥♠

    I never go into a debut expecting much so i was kind of shocked with how good this story was. This is a revolution fantasy. The story is set in Bolivia. a) There's a Usurper King: King Atoc. b) Queen in exile: Queen Catalina. c) Queen Catalina's badass decoy: Ximena. d) King Atoc's highly devoted cousin: Rumi. e) There's a vigilante. I know what you are expecting but no, Ximena is actually the protagonist of the story as well as Rumi. HaHa. MY OPINION I must say this is my first encounter with Bolivia I never go into a debut expecting much so i was kind of shocked with how good this story was. This is a revolution fantasy. The story is set in Bolivia. a) There's a Usurper King: King Atoc. b) Queen in exile: Queen Catalina. c) Queen Catalina's badass decoy: Ximena. d) King Atoc's highly devoted cousin: Rumi. e) There's a vigilante. I know what you are expecting but no, Ximena is actually the protagonist of the story as well as Rumi. HaHa. MY OPINION I must say this is my first encounter with Bolivia and i found their words and names quite captivating. I like the way they tasted on my tongue (Chapter numbering was also Bolivian). There were also lovely endearments like 'his radiance' 'shining one' 'your shiningness'. Many girls would swoon if a boy says such sweet words to them. I loved the writing, i was hooked from the start, i was not too interested in some parts but the story was great. I really loved that magic didn't overshadow the story. I actually loved Ximena's magic. It was strange and beautiful. All in all, it was a great story and i totally recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    CW: revolution, gore/violence, death, abuse, culture erasure, and discrimination against groups What a lush, imaginative story. I was completely captivated by Ximena's story. She's Illustrian and the Illustrians have been kicked off of the throne by the Llacsans. Atoc is ruling and he's a cruel ruler, discriminating against the Illustrians left in the city. Ximena is a part of the Illustrians trying to get back onto the throne as she's the body double for Catalina, the Condesa and heir to the CW: revolution, gore/violence, death, abuse, culture erasure, and discrimination against groups What a lush, imaginative story. I was completely captivated by Ximena's story. She's Illustrian and the Illustrians have been kicked off of the throne by the Llacsans. Atoc is ruling and he's a cruel ruler, discriminating against the Illustrians left in the city. Ximena is a part of the Illustrians trying to get back onto the throne as she's the body double for Catalina, the Condesa and heir to the throne. Atoc is forcing Catalina's hand in marriage so Ximena goes to marry him while Catalina regroups. The story with Ximena is so dynamic. I loved how she changed throughout the story, how she grew and grew to see that perhaps things aren't as cut and dry as each side would like it to seem. It's even better that she comes to see that the Illustrians aren't as innocent as they would like to believe, that they were not all good on the throne as well. Honestly, this was such a gorgeous book. I loved the magic in it and how it was tied so closely to the earth and cosmos. Like, damn. Each time I read some of the book, I had to keep reading more because I didn't want to put it down. It's one of those books that just wraps you up in the world. I can't wait for the second book, even though I know it won't be an exact sequel, but a companion novel. I really hope it follows one of the characters so we can see their journey and growth as well.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica | Booked J

    Blog | Twitter | Instagram |You can find my stop on the blog tour here. As always, a copy of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. What a stunning, enchanting story. What a way to kick off a new decade. Get ready for an instant classic and one the strongest debuts I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I mean that genuinely: EVER. And I've been reviewing YA books for over a decade. This novel has now taken its Blog | Twitter | Instagram |You can find my stop on the blog tour here. As always, a copy of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. What a stunning, enchanting story. What a way to kick off a new decade. Get ready for an instant classic and one the strongest debuts I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I mean that genuinely: EVER. And I've been reviewing YA books for over a decade. This novel has now taken its rightful spot on my favourites shelf. The basics? The lowdown? Woven in Moonlight is enchanting, magical and beautifully written. Every page, every chapter, is just as striking as its cover design. Isabel Ibañez is a masterful storyteller who weaves a tapestry of her own prose with as much striking talent as possible. It is nothing short of illuminating and left me breathless upon finishing. When I say that I fell hard for Woven in Moonlight, I mean it. For hours, I found myself drifting into a new world of existence. By the time I finished it, my fingertips ached with the desire to be able to turn just one more page. Just one more chapter. It may be dramatic to say so, but Ibañez has so more spark and talent than any of us mere mortals do and I'm in awe. Woven in Moonlight is deeply imaginative, richly drawn. It is alight with magic and Bolivian culture. Nothing anyone can say about Woven in Moonlight can capture the story and its beauty to so few words. The characters were written in ways that were flawed and complex; leading to just as many moments of tension, fear, romance and witty banter. Suspense is brought to the forefront within seconds: our story begins with Ximena, decoy condesa, releases that two sources of danger could destroy all that she has left in this life. In no time, her journey truly begins--and the outcome is not exactly what she expected. Life is so much more than what she thought. New allies are found, old enemies rear their ugly heads, war lingers and an intriguing masked vigilante lingers in the shadows. Soon, Ximena is questioning everything. From life as she knows it changing, to the supposed enemies to her people, straight to the heart of who she was always meant to be, Ximena knows one thing. She is changing. And to prevent the worst, she knows, everyone else needs to change too. Seeing her grow from tough, determined decoy condesa, to an independent being, felt as though my dearest friend was growing up before my eyes. Overall, Woven in Moonlight is creative, unique and vibrant. My heart was beating frantically throughout the novel and I wouldn't have it any other way. Impossible to put down, and even more impossible to forget, Woven in Moonlight is sure to be one of the most beloved books of the 2020s.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cande

    I finished this book like a week ago and Ive been dreading writing this post. Even dreading to read the book, it took me one month to finish it. Looking at my notes I see my slow progression from excitement to annoyance to frustration to disappointment. I really want to like this book, it sounds like my perfect fantasy: Latinx inspired, revolution, magic, and an unapologetic heroine. But oh friends, this was a disappointment on so many fronts. Read my full review on my blog, Latinx Magic. I finished this book like a week ago and I’ve been dreading writing this post. Even dreading to read the book, it took me one month to finish it. Looking at my notes I see my slow progression from excitement to annoyance to frustration to disappointment. I really want to like this book, it sounds like my perfect fantasy: Latinx inspired, revolution, magic, and an unapologetic heroine. But oh friends, this was a disappointment on so many fronts. Read my full review on my blog, Latinx Magic.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Goicea

    I'm excited to be a part of the WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club, from January 20 - 26th, 2020! I received a copy of this book via the publisher, Page Street Kids in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review. All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. Content Warning: Forced/Arranged Marriage, Oppression, War, Violence, On page death, Executions Rising tides cant be held I'm excited to be a part of the WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club, from January 20 - 26th, 2020! I received a copy of this book via the publisher, Page Street Kids in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review. All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. Content Warning: Forced/Arranged Marriage, Oppression, War, Violence, On page death, Executions 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. I was really excited to get into this book after receiving an ARC from Page Street Publishing. The overall diversity, foreign setting, magical properties, and societal upheaval grabbed my attention immediately. To say the least, I had high hopes for this new series. Woven In Moonlight takes place in the land of Inkasisa—a place inspired by Bolivia. Two peoples groups, the Illustrians and the native Llacsans have been warring for centuries. For the last four-hundred years, the Illustrians have ruled over the Llacsans. That was until recently, when they were overthrown by the "false" king's magical stone that summons ghosts of the dead. Overwhelmed and defeated, the usurper took the throne of La Ciudad for himself. Ximena lost her parents during the revolt. In turn, she was taken in, and trained as a decoy for the true Condesa, Catalina. Privy to the ugly details of the conditions her people are now subjected to, Ximena gets a taste of what responsibility is like for an entire nation of people. While Ximena oversees her people, Catalina waits in the wings to take over and become queen when the opportunity arises. But, food and supplies are running low. Forced to exit the safe magical barriers of their haven, scouts are sent out in order to bring supplies back. When they do not return that Ximena knows something is wrong. With the Captain of the Queen's Guard, Ana absent on a scouting mission, the only magical defense the Illustrians have against the usurper's priest are her magical powers. Ximena, too, holds the ability to weave tapestries using thread spun from moonlight. King Atoc soon demands the Condesa's hand in marriage. Ximena, acting in her place, must leave the safety of her home, and travel to La Ciudad to prepare for the wedding. She does not desire to marry him, but her duty to the Condesa calls her to spy on the king to give her as much intel from La Ciudad as possible. Ximena, rather resourceful in her ways, figures out how to send Catalina messages by her magical tapestries through the city's merchants for the members of the Resistance to see and relay. She also begins to search for the relic to call upon the dead and regain the city that was stolen from them. As time passes for Ximena in the white walls of the city, she comes to the realization that her viewpoint on the situation between her people and the Llacsans is unfounded. Surprisingly, she befriends a slightly-eccentric healer that introduces her to other "allies" in a sense. She later finds herself quick companions with an imprisoned princess, as well as a masked-vigilante who's identity remains a secret for a vast majority of the book. For a story that is founded in seeking revenge, Woven In Moonlight does an amazing job at investigating the truth further, and redirecting revenge into something more useful. I've never thought about what that day must have been like for the Llacsans. It's easier to focus on what we lost and what they gained. Beyond that, anything else makes the solid ground I'm standing on wobble. I want to remain standing...not topple over and forget where I came from. Woven In Moonlight is an interesting story. I say "interesting," because it doesn't fail to explore a variety of subplots, details, and topics. Love, magic, the paranormal, politics, and so much more are additions to the overall story-line. Furthermore, topics like fairness, prejudice, responsibility, and acceptance are deeply represented. Ximena's character undergoes a lot being the decoy for her best friend. Subject to position, then humiliation, she experiences an entire spectrum of authority and adversity. It is powerful when someone from the point of privilege, understands a viewpoint from the opposite side. Ximena has certainly known struggle, but was never postured to live in the footsteps of the oppressed Llacsans. Barred from receiving an education, and many other basic rights, the Llacsans were certainly oppressed underneath the Illustrian rule. While it isn't a direct fault of Ximena, most of what she stands for when first entering La Ciudad at the beginning of the story isn't correct. She sees life through what she knows. When she learns about how many people lived before the usurper took the throne, Ximena goes through a period of processing and comparing what she knows to what she's made aware of. One of my problems with this book was that there simply wasn't enough world building. Since it's a diverse read (which I love) and set in Bolivia, I want to know more about where I am. When introducing a diverse setting, it is vital to include as much detail and backstory as possible to aide the reader in understanding more about where they are, how the people are, what customs are common, etc. It cannot, and should not be assumed that the readers just "gets it" with a few explicit details. Need I say, this should be done for all settings, especially in fantasy novels, even if the world is "familiar." I definitely think that Woven In Moonlight has some great lessons to tell. I was much more interested in these details of the story than anything else. The world building needed more work, in my opinion, as well as the reasoning for the magic in this story. In all honesty, I feel that the magical aspect could have been left out, and this rather told as a fiction, or possible historical fiction if this is based off of a true historical event. (I'm not privy to Bolivian history, so excuse my negligence if this is based on a specific event,) and its message would be just as effective. Vulgarity: Minimal. Sexual content: Kissing. Violence: Moderate (see Content Warning for further details.) My Rating: ★★★1/2​ My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaryn Flott

    A riveting and colorful tale inspired by Bolivian culture and Spanish colonialism. I loved everything about this book, from the characters to the world building, and everything in between. The tale follows Ximena, a girl posing as the decoy Condesa, Catalina, the rightful heir of the Illustrian throne, and best friend. When a messenger sends word from the usurper king, Atoc, demeaning the Condesas hand in marriage, its Ximenas duty to go in her stead. Driven by her revenge and her motivation to A riveting and colorful tale inspired by Bolivian culture and Spanish colonialism. I loved everything about this book, from the characters to the world building, and everything in between. The tale follows Ximena, a girl posing as the decoy Condesa, Catalina, the rightful heir of the Illustrian throne, and best friend. When a messenger sends word from the usurper king, Atoc, demeaning the Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. Driven by her revenge and her motivation to see her best friend and the true ruler seated on the throne, Ximena goes to the castle as a spy, hell bent on finding the magical relic that enabled ghosts to destroy her once prosperous queendom. However as she navigates the castle halls, Ximena’s mission becomes more complicated. Social politics, oppression and the consequences of war are some of the many themes that pepper this novel, and despite the childlike and beautiful cover, the pages are filled with gritty and violent scenes. Corrupt rulers, a vigilante, and a girl who can weave a magical thread from the moonlight itself, Woven in Moonlight is a descriptive and culturally diverse gem. I loved Ximena’s character growth, and she’s honestly one of the highlights of the book. She begins the novel with a biased xenophobic state of mind and slowly transitions to woman with own beliefs and ideals. Ximena is ruthless, impulsive, but she loves her people. Rumi, the princess, and the Carlos the guard, were some of my favorite side characters. And trying to figure out who El Lobo was along with Ximena was fun. The world building is phenomenal, the lush descriptions of food made my mouth water, and the colorful details of the clothing added a vibrant touch to the story. Overall I would definitely recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    menna

    damn, I had so much fun..

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    Ximena is the decoy Condesa, who stands in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. When the usurper king Atoc demands the Condesas hand in marriage, Ximena goes in her stead, determined to use the opportunity to find the ancient relic that Atoc used to summon a ghost army and take the throne years before. But as Ximena gets to know the enemy and starts seeing them as actual individuals, she finds herself questioning what course of action is best for her kingdom and whether that means betraying Ximena is the decoy Condesa, who stands in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. When the usurper king Atoc demands the Condesa’s hand in marriage, Ximena goes in her stead, determined to use the opportunity to find the ancient relic that Atoc used to summon a ghost army and take the throne years before. But as Ximena gets to know the enemy and starts seeing them as actual individuals, she finds herself questioning what course of action is best for her kingdom – and whether that means betraying her Condesa and need for revenge. I’ll admit that it was the beautiful cover (designed by the author!) that caught my eye first! Happily, Woven in Moonlight ended up being a fun read! The plot structure and characters are typical of YA fantasy reads, but what does make this story stand out is the integration of Bolivian culture (particularly in language, fashion and food). It was enjoyable (particularly the last 30%) and I flew quickly through this book. If you’re in the mood for a lighter YA fantasy read, Woven in Moonlight might be an ideal choice. ** I read with one with Rachel for Friends with ARCs. Blog | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ Woven In Moonlight is a 2020 YA Political Fantasy debut that NEEDS to be on your 2020 TBR! ↠ Woven In Moonlight ARC Review 🌙✨ I'd been looking forward to this debut for a couple years at this point & being a Latinx YA Fantasy, I was even more hyped to read this book! Now that I've finally finished it, I wish I could go back and re-read it all over again! Woven In Moonlight is an introspective YA Fantasy following Ximena, a stand-in for her people's true heir! Through an Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ Woven In Moonlight is a 2020 YA Political Fantasy debut that NEEDS to be on your 2020 TBR! ↠ Woven In Moonlight ARC Review 🌙✨ I'd been looking forward to this debut for a couple years at this point & being a Latinx YA Fantasy, I was even more hyped to read this book! Now that I've finally finished it, I wish I could go back and re-read it all over again! Woven In Moonlight is an introspective YA Fantasy following Ximena, a stand-in for her people's true heir! Through an immersive and magical world, Ibañez layers intricate politics, intriguing characters, and a vibrant world inspired by Bolivian culture! This is a must-read YA debut for 2020! WIM is set in the country of Inkasisa (the Illustrians & Llacasans are battling over who will rule Inkasisa), where the world itself is inspired by the author's Bolivian culture, rooted in politics & history! This novel follows Ximena Rojas, whose a stand-in for the Illustrian royal, Catalina! When the current ruler demands the Illustrian royal's hand in marriage, Ximena has to go in her place. Now she's immersed in the world of the Llacasan's politics, their royalty, and palace life. But she's also on a mission to find the Estrella (an ancient relic that could give Illustrians a chance to reclaim their power) and can't let her true identity be found out. Luckily, Ximena has the ability to weave thread from moonlight and uses that as a way to hopefully still keep in touch with the Illustrians and her closest friend Catalina. Throughout the novel she learns more about the Llacasans of the palace, while she also reflects on these two sides of Inkasisa and where she fits in. Ibañez's writing balances the world, its layered politics, and the characters! Also woven into Ximena's perspective is the Spanish language, weather and architecture, the most wonderful descriptions of Bolivian food, and focus on crafts such as textiles & weaving--I appreciated this so much because coming from a Latin American background I felt such a deep connection to the world! There's also deeply interwoven messages about identity, family, loss, revolution that are very clear from the start of the novel and become even more layered into the story as it progresses! The magic system was incredibly unique, especially Ximena's ability, and I appreciated how it was explored through the plot as Ximena finds a way to stay in contact with the resistance! There's other unique abilities explored as well such as reading fortunes through constellations, creating earthquakes, to name a few! Just reading the descriptions of how she was weaving thread through moonlight were moving and beautifully explored why the art of crafts tied in so well with Ximena's own personal journey to create something for herself! While the magic itself is very light, I appreciated it was a more used for developing the political layers of the story! Identity was an important theme that I found was beautifully explored throughout WIM! Ximena was switched with Catalina and only a select few truly know that she's a decoy. But it isn't until she's forced to go to Atoc's palace where she's really being tested and I found that Ximena's new life in the palace forces her to confront who she really is and how her role as a decoy has made her realize, she isn't entirely sure where she fits in this revolution. Through the use of a 1st person POV, the world of Inkasisa is painted through a unique lens where we really get a focus on politics and characters, which I really appreciated! For me, I can often find it difficult to fully immerse myself in a world if the perspective is too character/emotionally-driven, but Ibañez delivered Ximena's POV spectacularly! I adored her narrative voice! Ximena is a fierce heroine who has lost a lot to the war between Illustrians & Llacasans that in realty has left her alone. Her parents died almost 10 years before and throughout the novel she's constantly confronted with losing those close to her! Ximena's loneliness is present throughout the novel in subtle ways but I found it to be such a vital piece to her as a character: her distance to others, how she navigates her role as Condesa while connecting with Llacasans at the palace, and how she grapples with the loss of people in her life that are like family to her! I found that Ibañez deeply explored this element of loneliness through Ximena's POV in such a subtle but impactful way! Ximena's internal voice as we follow her journey is told through introspective and perceptive narrative that allows her to reflect on important choices she has to make when she begins to question her mission and how she can better help Inkasisa! *Important note: How history + politics are interwoven and how they are rooted deeply in the world of Inkasisa! Even how it influences Ximena's perspective and her role as a decoy Condesa!* *Also to discuss in full review: Action, slow-paced fantasy that works well, and how perspective plays a big role in this story! + The plot surprised me with each chapter and I loved how unexpected the story was! * The cast of characters were fantastic, there's always interesting dynamics explored throughout the story! I felt that there were many surprising sides to them that are developed throughout the novel and what made that fun was how they were perceived through Ximena's POV! Some of my favorite characters include, the mysterious princess Tamaya, Rumi the healer, and a mysterious vigilante known as El Lobo, who doesn't side with either the Illustrians or Llacasans! In my full review I'll delve more into the dynamic between El Lobo & Ximena (which I loved A LOT!!) Next I wanted to discuss why I lowered my rating to 4: The plot itself continued to surprise me, I loved following Ximena's journey, and there's tons of intrigue, mystery, and politics! However, there were moments I found the writing was very focused on Ximena's internal views of the world. This meant that for me, there were elements which could have been expanded on just a bit more, because I loved them so much such as the setting of Inkasisa, more to the history, and more interactions between the characters! I also felt the ending was a bit rushed, but left on a very real note that has me wanting more from the unique cast of characters! With WIM being a standalone I definitely see there was a lot that Ibañez wanted to introduce in regards to Inkasisa's setting, climate, culture, daily life, and history (which was fantastic!!) I just wish there was even more exploration to all those wonderful elements! Woven In Moonlight is a delightful YA Fantasy that's rooted in Bolivian culture and is deeply explored through the politics, world, and intriguing story that's presented from Ximena's wonderful POV! Ibañez 's debut is an immersive tale that delves deep into history and politics, while also being an action-packed, character-driven tale! This is a wonderful debut filled with surprises, set in a unique world that you want to keep exploring! *Received an ARC from the publisher*

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