The FFBC Woven In Moonlight Blog Tour Stop

The FFBC Woven In Moonlight Blog Tour Stop

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.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Woven In Moonlight

Series: Untitled Series, #1
Author: Isabel Ibanez
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Page Count: 384
Format: Paperback ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: Isabel Ibanez
My Rating: ★★★1/2

A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

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.

Woven in MoonlightWoven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m excited to be a part of the WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club, from January 20 – 26th, 2020!

I received a copy of this book via the publisher, Page Street Kids in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.

description

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

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Content Warning: Forced/Arranged Marriage, Oppression, War, Violence, On page death, Executions

Rising tides can’t be held back, but they can be ridden. I have to ride this wave through. It’s the only way I’ll be free.


I was really excited to get into this book after receiving an ARC from Page Street Publishing. The overall diversity, foreign setting, magical properties, and societal upheaval grabbed my attention immediately. To say the least, I had high hopes for this new series.

Woven In Moonlight takes place in the land of Inkasisa—a place inspired by Bolivia. Two peoples groups, the Illustrians and the native Llacsans have been warring for centuries. For the last four-hundred years, the Illustrians have ruled over the Llacsans. That was until recently, when they were overthrown by the “false” king’s magical stone that summons ghosts of the dead. Overwhelmed and defeated, the usurper took the throne of La Ciudad for himself.

Ximena lost her parents during the revolt. In turn, she was taken in, and trained as a decoy for the true Condesa, Catalina. Privy to the ugly details of the conditions her people are now subjected to, Ximena gets a taste of what responsibility is like for an entire nation of people. While Ximena oversees her people, Catalina waits in the wings to take over and become queen when the opportunity arises. But, food and supplies are running low. Forced to exit the safe magical barriers of their haven, scouts are sent out in order to bring supplies back. When they do not return that Ximena knows something is wrong.

With the Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Ana absent on a scouting mission, the only magical defense the Illustrians have against the usurper’s priest are her magical powers. Ximena, too, holds the ability to weave tapestries using thread spun from moonlight.

King Atoc soon demands the Condesa’s hand in marriage. Ximena, acting in her place, must leave the safety of her home, and travel to La Ciudad to prepare for the wedding. She does not desire to marry him, but her duty to the Condesa calls her to spy on the king to give her as much intel from La Ciudad as possible. Ximena, rather resourceful in her ways, figures out how to send Catalina messages by her magical tapestries through the city’s merchants for the members of the Resistance to see and relay. She also begins to search for the relic to call upon the dead and regain the city that was stolen from them.

As time passes for Ximena in the white walls of the city, she comes to the realization that her viewpoint on the situation between her people and the Llacsans is unfounded. Surprisingly, she befriends a slightly-eccentric healer that introduces her to other “allies” in a sense. She later finds herself quick companions with an imprisoned princess, as well as a masked-vigilante who’s identity remains a secret for a vast majority of the book. For a story that is founded in seeking revenge, Woven In Moonlight does an amazing job at investigating the truth further, and redirecting revenge into something more useful.

I’ve never thought about what that day must have been like for the Llacsans. It’s easier to focus on what we lost and what they gained. Beyond that, anything else makes the solid ground I’m standing on wobble. I want to remain standing…not topple over and forget where I came from.


Woven In Moonlight is an interesting story. I say “interesting,” because it doesn’t fail to explore a variety of subplots, details, and topics. Love, magic, the paranormal, politics, and so much more are additions to the overall story-line. Furthermore, topics like fairness, prejudice, responsibility, and acceptance are deeply represented. Ximena’s character undergoes a lot being the decoy for her best friend. Subject to position, then humiliation, she experiences an entire spectrum of authority and adversity.

It is powerful when someone from the point of privilege, understands a viewpoint from the opposite side. Ximena has certainly known struggle, but was never postured to live in the footsteps of the oppressed Llacsans. Barred from receiving an education, and many other basic rights, the Llacsans were certainly oppressed underneath the Illustrian rule. While it isn’t a direct fault of Ximena, most of what she stands for when first entering La Ciudad at the beginning of the story isn’t correct. She sees life through what she knows. When she learns about how many people lived before the usurper took the throne, Ximena goes through a period of processing and comparing what she knows to what she’s made aware of.

One of my problems with this book was that there simply wasn’t enough world building. Since it’s a diverse read (which I love) and set in Bolivia, I want to know more about where I am. When introducing a diverse setting, it is vital to include as much detail and backstory as possible to aide the reader in understanding more about where they are, how the people are, what customs are common, etc. It cannot, and should not be assumed that the readers just “gets it” with a few explicit details. Need I say, this should be done for all settings, especially in fantasy novels, even if the world is “familiar.”

I definitely think that Woven In Moonlight has some great lessons to tell. I was much more interested in these details of the story than anything else. The world building needed more work, in my opinion, as well as the reasoning for the magic in this story. In all honesty, I feel that the magical aspect could have been left out, and this rather told as a fiction, or possible historical fiction if this is based off of a true historical event. (I’m not privy to Bolivian history, so excuse my negligence if this is based on a specific event,) and its message would be just as effective.

Vulgarity: Minimal.
Sexual content: Kissing.
Violence: Moderate (see Content Warning for further details.)

My Rating: ★★★1/2​

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Isabel Ibanez

Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books. Say hi on social media at @IsabelWriter09.

Want to win a copy for yourself?

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a finished copy of WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT (US/CAN Only!)

Giveaway runs January 20th – February 3rd, 2020

I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

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