STARRED REVIEW
January 2020

Woven in Moonlight

By Isabel Ibañez
Review by
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The only things Ximena possessed the day she was found wandering the streets of La Ciudad Blanca were her loom and her striking resemblance to the Condesa Catalina, the last surviving member of Illustrian royalty after the Llacsan revolt. Rather than continue to live on the streets, young Ximena agreed to become Catalina’s double, to appear as Catalina in public in order to keep the real Catalina safe.

Ten years later, Ximena has lived in the Illustrian Keep alongside Catalina as her sister, confidant and loyal subject. Only Ximena and a select and trusted few know that Catalina is the real Condesa and Ximena only a decoy; most Illustrians believe Ximena to be Catalina, the leader who will take over and rule once they defeat Atoc, the false king.

So when a messenger arrives bearing the news that Atoc has demanded the Condesa’s hand in marriage, Ximena knows it’s an opportunity for her to gather crucial information for the Illustrians’ planned attack on the Llacsans. Although Ximena would prefer to practice her magical weaving than serve as a warrior or a spy, she is excited for a chance to return her beloved Catalina to the throne and for the possibility of victory after years of stalemate. But once she is among her lifelong enemies, playing the role of Catalina on the most important stage yet, Ximena’s encounters with a friendly guard, an infuriating healer and others she meets in the Llacsan court cast doubt on many of the convictions she’s held since childhood. 

Woven in Moonlight is a nuanced and empathetic fantasy inspired by Bolivian folklore, history and politics. Ximena is a kind and strong protagonist whose experiences challenge her to outgrow her prejudice and desire for vengeance. Touching on ideas of restorative justice in a unique and vivid setting, Isabel Ibañez delivers a confident, subtle and inspiring debut about what it takes to move a divided society forward.

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Woven in Moonlight

Woven in Moonlight

By Isabel Ibañez
Page Street
ISBN 9781624148019

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