Rating: 4.5 / 5
After a few friends had talked about how much they enjoyed WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by Isabel Ibañez, I added it to my list. When I heard that the Fairy Loot theme for January was “Moon & Stars” and the spoilers expected this to be the book included, I signed myself up for my first box. I was thrilled with the box overall and excited to read the book.
WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT follows Ximena, a stand-in passing herself off as Illustrian royalty, having served in this role for much of her life such that everyone around her save a chosen few, believe that she is indeed the Condesa. Her people have been removed from their homes when a new ruler Atoc came in to drive them out of La Ciudad with an army of ghosts. Now living in exile, they are forced to raid for limited food and supplies and live for the day when they can have their revenge.
Atoc demands the Condesa’s hand in marriage and gives little opportunity to decline. Ximena must step in to pose as his intended both to protect the real Condesa and to seek out the relic used to control the ghosts so that her people can once again take control. Once installed in La Ciudad, Ximena uses her weaving to send coded messages, but she soon meets people who cause her to question her mission of revenge.
I really enjoyed this one. Going into it I knew that it had a basis in Bolivian politics and it definitely had some complicated politics at its core, but it is well told such that it was easy to follow even the complicated history of Ximena’s country. The story combines the politics with romance and magical realism. I really enjoyed the magic and the way that gets woven (pun semi-intended) into the story. It is really beautifully done.
Ximena is an excellent character. She is in a position where she feels she is really the single protector of the Condesa and her people as a whole. She is creative and cunning, and at times a bit too impulsive for her own good. She must weigh her loyalties to her people with keeping an open mind to some of the realities that she never recognized growing up and is able to use both to inform her decision making.
This book is a beautiful and dark story and I would highly recommend it!