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Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Young adult

Woven in Moonlight

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Isabel Ibañez, on your first book!

by Isabel Ibañez

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Quick take

A decoy bride becomes the face of Bolivia's revolución as she exacts revenge in a fiercely Latinx fantasy.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action

    Action-packed

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical

    Magical

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

Synopsis

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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Check out a preview of Woven in Moonlight.
Woven in Moonlight

Capítulo

Uno

My banged-up spoon scrapes the bottom of a barrel that should’ve held enough dried beans to last for three more months.

No, no, no.

There has to be more.

Sickness churns my stomach, and my knuckles brush against bare wood as I coax a handful of shriveled beans into a half-empty bag. I wipe dirty hands against my white trousers and ignore the sweat dripping down my neck. The kingdom of Inkasisa is in the middle of her stifling wet season. Even though it’s night, there’s no escaping the muggy heat.

“Something wrong, Condesa?” asks the next person in line waiting for their ration.

Yes, in fact. We’re all going to starve. Not that I can say this out loud. It goes against everything I know to do as their leader: A condesa should never show fear.

I school my features into what I hope is a pleasant expression, then turn to face the long line of Illustrians waiting for their evening portions. Drawn faces stare back at me. White clothes hang off gaunt frames, loose and big like the tents the Illustrians sleep in next to the keep.

My whole life, I’ve trained for situations like this: manage expectations, soothe people’s worries, feed them. It’s the condesa’s job.

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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!

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Member ratings (1,507)

  • Megan I.

    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!

  • Bayleigh C.

    Austin, TX

    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. ❤️

  • Claire D.

    Opelousas, LA

    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.

  • Melinda C.

    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.

  • Sarah L.

    New York, NY

    The Bolivian culture seeps out of every page, with exciting twists that finally got me out of my reading slump! The socio-political issues highlight colonization in a way I’ve never seen covered in YA

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