A decoy bride becomes the face of Bolivia's revolución as she exacts revenge in a fiercely Latinx fantasy.
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Why I love it
When the weather gets colder, I like to curl up with books that take me into an entirely new setting. So I was thrilled to stumble upon Isabel Ibañez's Woven in Moonlight, a lush Latinx fantasy based on Bolivian folklore that allowed me to immerse myself in a culture I don’t typically have a chance to read about.
The book tells the story of Ximena, who lives a harrowing life ruling over her people as the decoy Condesa. Ximena’s people have been driven from their homes and into hiding by an enemy king with the power to summon destructive earthquakes. When this cruel king demands to marry the Condesa, Ximena finds herself alone in his court, navigating dangerous court intrigues, making enemies, and becoming unlikely allies with the masked revolutionary who teaches her that the friction between her people and his is far more complicated than she realizes.
This book has everything I could ask for in a winter read: action, romance, unique magic, and tough women. I loved how beautifully written it was, with fully fleshed out characters, plot twists that caught me off guard, and a well-rendered window into a rich vein of Bolivian history, politics, and folklore. Woven in Moonlight kept me guessing and rooting for its characters, and since reading it, I’ve been recommending it to basically everyone I know. It will enrich any New Year's TBR list!
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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La Grande, OR
I loved that this was based off of Bolivian culture. I loved Ximena’s character and how she wasn’t your typical swoony girl, but wasn’t so strongthat she couldn’t open up to others. I loved the story!
New Orleans, LA
This was such a fascinating book—I loved the characters, the plot, the discussion of oppression (though that could have been strengthened). Engaging and unique! I read the entire book in one night. ❤️
WIM is such a beautiful story! The plot and characters are so unique and the culture breathtaking. I know “don’t judge a book by its cover” but this story is as beautiful as the cover portrays it.
I was sucked in once I started and didn’t stop until the end. There are familiar tropes but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment and I loved learning about Bolovian history of which I knew nothing.
New Market, AL
This is the second book I’ve read that has used an army of ghosts as villains. This was also a theme in Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor who is my favorite author. Bolivia plus magic. A great read.
So many hearts for Ximena’s animal friends!! Lots of strong female characters, too! Cover art alone should win an award. The setting and culture were a nice change addressing victors writing history.
This book was full or surprises. It was a slow burn, but it was so worth the wait. It was such an interesting story. I loved the fantasy elements as well as the characters and vivid descriptions.
LET'S HERE IT FOR THE LATINA GIRLS IN THE HOUSE! i loved this book and everything it was. GIVE ME MORE STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS! GIVE ME MORE LATINX BOOKS! GIVE ME ALL OF THE BEAUTY THAT IS THIS BOOK!
I thought this book would be cheasy with the weaving moon-thread bit, but I loved it. The Lovable rebel, decoy contesa, and vigilante mixed with political turmoil made this book a 5 star read! Sequel?
Lake Charles, LA
I loved this book. I have been learning spanish and the peppering of spanish throughout made me realize how much i have learned. I loved the story as well beautiful character develoment and story line
This book was a balm to my soul. It was beautiful, powerful, and splendid. The imagery was incredible, I was practically drooling over traditional dishes. The narrative compelling, and the story pure
"...People are like books. Some you want to read and enjoy; some you hate before you've even read a word." --pg.189. Guess which this is? :) <3 Loved, a bit graphic tho. Exquisite writing, 4 stars.
Orlando , FL
A refreshing Latin-American focused fantasy tale, offering nothing short of lush magic, dynamic characters, fluid writing and the slow simmer before the explosion that is the ending. Sequel please!
Such a beautiful and atmospheric read! I loved the cultural setting, the political conflict and discussions, the magic, and the fantastic characters! I cannot wait to read more from Isabel Ibañez!
This book was FANTASTIC!! Bolivian culture, an interesting magic system, strong characters, a complex world with complicated questions and no easy solutions. Can't wait to read more set in Inkasisa!
San Francisco, CA
Woven in Moonlight is a tale of magic, revolution, and learning to see the world from another's perspective that swept me away in spite of it's predictable plot. A quick read that is full of heart!
This is an action-packed, thought-provoking story set in a fantasy version of Bolivia. I liked learning a bit about Bolivia, and some lessons of the Llacsans vs. Illustrians are so relevant now!
This book was magical. It was non stop excitement from the very beginning. Love that this book has a strong female lead. I felt like I was swept away to another world each time I picked this up.
Beautiful magic system, strong females, a message of the humanity on both sides of war! I adored the ways this book with it's Bolivian culture and high stakes set itself apart from other fantasy!
Falls Church, VA
Read this whole book in a single day- haven't been that swept away in ages! I also didn't realize this would pull from The Scarlet Pimpernel so much. And to top it all off? MAGIC. WOVEN. SLOTHS.