ARC (Snapshot) Review: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Title: Woven in Moonlight
Author: Isabel Ibañez
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: January 7th 2020

**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher which does not influence my review**

      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.”

  • Magical system – Ximena’s magic is tied to the moon and the Illustrians magic all reflect this. There is a character who can read the stars and Ximena weaves moonlight into her tapestries. It’s a very beautiful and almost delicate kind of magic.
  • Unlearning harmful prejudices – I do have some criticism when it comes to how this is done in Woven in Moonlight, but I did appreciate the concept of people belonging to certain oppressive groups having to reevaluate their worldview.
  • Ximena and Catalina – Though we only get small glimpses into their relationship before Ximena is whisked away, I loved how close these two were. They grew up as each other’s families and even though you sense tension, at least from Ximena’s side, you can tell how much they care about the other.
  • Rich cultures – It was interesting to see the Llascans from an outside perspective and even though Ximena remains bias for much of the narrative, it was hard not to be pulled in by the vibrancy of their world.
  • Ximena’s POV – I struggled with the narrative for one reason in particular. The story from a privileged person’s POV, learning to confront their prejudices and realizing a marginalized group of people actually have value is one I’ve grown tired of. I question the novel being told only from Ximena’s perspective when there was another character whose story had more value. This would have been a very different read for me if we got a different POV to balance out Ximena’s prejudice. I was really disappointed that Ximena’s views really didn’t feel challenged on paper enough until the latter half of the novel and that readers as a result are forced to center her views for so long.
  • Characterization – Unfortunately I didn’t feel like many of these characters were fully formed. Ximena, for example, was introduced as the Condesa’s decoy who struggles to find an identity outside of this performance she’s been doing for years. This could have also been a book about identity, but instead of being a running theme, it’s merely a cursory observation made at the beginning and never revisited again.


Isabel Ibañez’s Woven in Moonlight, while having a really unique magical system, falls short when it comes to its commentary on colonization.

★ ★
(2/5)

12 thoughts on “ARC (Snapshot) Review: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

  1. This is a great review, Alicia! Like we talked about, I’m also super tired of privileged people learning to see marginalized groups as people… I understand the value it may have for many, but it’s not something I want to keep reading about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the amazing review, Alicia! I haven’t read this book yet and I will soon but it’s sad to know it’s fallen short, considering how excited we all were for this book (and that gorgeous cover!!)

    Liked by 1 person

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