Author: Isabel Ibanez
Publisher: Page Street Books
Released: January 7th, 2020
Warnings: Slavery, torture, forced marriage
Woven in Moonlight is Isabel Ibanez’s debut novel, and it is a fascinating tale of magic, revolution, and love. It leans heavily on Bolivian politics and history, which adds several interesting elements to the story itself.
Ever since she was a little girl, when the Illustrians took control of La Ciudad, Ximena has had a very specific role in life. She’s the decoy for the Condesa, her dear friend, Catalina. It’s her job to stand in her place, and take on the risk that comes with that station.
Inevitably that means that Ximena is suddenly sent out into a fair amount of danger, when the Illustrian ruler demands the Condesa’s hand in marriage in exchange for the lives of his prisoners. Ximena has no choice but to go – and hope that she can find a way to save her people.
“It’s an honor to protect Catalina. To give up my life for hers should it come to that. And despite my duty, despite the long years of living as somebody else, I love her. As a sister, as my future queen. Sometimes though, that kind of love just isn’t comfortable.”
Warnings: Woven in Moonlight has a lot of heavy themes to work with. Inside this novel, there are examples of slavery, torture, and forced marriage. There’s also an overwhelming sense of desperation and devastation, alongside food and water shortages.
Woven in Moonlight was such a fascinating and brilliantly intense novel. Isabel Ibanez’s use of fantasy to tell the story of Bolivian politics and culture was exceedingly clever, and made for an interesting point of view.
Isabel Ibanez has a beautiful writing style. Her words made the world and characters come to life. This fact makes me smile, given what Ximena’s ability is (hint: it involves bringing life with her artwork). There’s something very precious in that parallel.
I went into this novel expecting it to be a very heavy and serious read. And it was, there’s no doubt about it. But I was impressed by how approachable Ibanez was able to make the whole subject. Though don’t doubt that there’s a lot of violence in this novel.
Alongside the themes already mentioned are several others, which helped to uplift the story. For example, there’s a masked vigilante whose only goal is to make life better for the general populace. It’s a common theme, I know. But it’s always lovely to see.
It was fascinating to see the blend of culture and magic in this novel. Speaking of the magic – I honestly would love nothing more than to see more of that. I hinted as Ximena’s power, but she’s not the only one. I’m desperate to learn and see more about it.
Woven in Moonlight was a fast-paced and breathtaking read. I really enjoyed reading it, for both the fantasy and the unique perspective. I hope that more people will give this novel a chance and that we’ll bee seeing more of Ibanez’s writing in the future. I do know that she already has another novel planned, which I can’t wait for.