Sparkling YA Fantasy Debut || ARC Review: Woven in Moonlight

I remember being absolutely stunned by the cover of this book when it was revealed. Isn’t it gorgeous? The author designed it herself! That and the synopsis really drew me in. I’m so glad I was able to read it!

Title: Woven in Moonlight
Author: Isabel Ibañez
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Release Date: January 7, 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Official 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 princesa, 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.

Quick Thoughts

  • Sooo many amazing food descriptions! I was constantly hungry during this book.
  • Isabel’s writing is beautiful and lush, without feeling weighed down. I read this book really quickly, but I still felt i really enjoyed the writing.
  • The romance makes me feel so melty! It’s adorable!
  • The magic system is simple but easy to follow and imagine. I especially loved Ximena’s magic…for reasons I can’t say 😉 But I know you’ll love it too!
  • As this book is set at the brink of a war, the author doesn’t hold back her punches. There were many times I was surprised at the complete non-sugar coating. I really appreciated it.

Lasting Impressions

Isabel is stellar at creating dynamic, well-rounded characters. For example, Ximena’s character growth is subtle—at the beginning she hates all Llacsans and believes that Illustrians should rule Inkasisa again. But as she learns more about the world around her, her world views begin to change bit by bit. I loved seeing this growth, and is perhaps one of my favorite parts of this book. I also loved that I knew what her hobbies were, what her favorite foods were, and many other things about her. She felt real on the page.

This is true for the minor characters as well! The more Ximena got to know the people around her, the more I realized that the minor characters were just as well-rounded as Ximena was. This made me care for those minor characters a lot. The relationships between Ximena and these other characters are realistic and sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes tender and beautiful.

I want to especially note the friendship between Ximena and the condesa Catalina. Their relationship is complicated, and it keeps getting more so throughout the story. But it felt so realistic, which made it at times heartbreaking. I loved how their friendship was depicted.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a fantasy novel that feels so vivid, vibrant, and alive. This story is based around the author’s heritage in Bolivia, and it really showed, The food descriptions are fabulous and made my mouth water. The descriptions of clothing, architecture, and foliage were so colorful. I could picture La Ciudad and the castillo perfectly. But it didn’t feel overburdened with description. It was balanced well with the action and dialogue.

Last but not least, I want to talk about the plot. This story is told in first person present tense, so I really felt like I was living in the moment. The plot builds really well to a fulfilling ending and a explosive climax that had me turning the pages faster and faster. There are so many surprises and tense moments, lots of action too! It’s so exciting and fun.

Overall Feelings

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was easily a five-star read! It was fun and imaginative, with beautiful themes and lots of action and suspense. I couldn’t put it down, which means you should definitely pick it up! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys action-packed fantasy. I can’t wait for its companion novel!

What’s your favorite fantasy standalone novel?

4 thoughts on “Sparkling YA Fantasy Debut || ARC Review: Woven in Moonlight

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