I legit cried when I found out that I was chosen to be a part of this blog tour, and even more when I found out that I was chosen to receive a physical copy of this book. It actually breaks my heart that I didn’t end up writing this post way before today because my thoughts aren’t even going to be able to give justice to what I thought of this novel. But it’s okay, because after the clouds clear and I’m back to where I need to be, I’ll do another post and really, truly, give this book the kind of review and praise that it deserves.
In the meantime, I want to thank the amazing crew at Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me in this blog tour, and to Page Street Books for sending me a copy of this novel to read, review and love. Click on the banner for the blog tour schedule, instagram tour schedule, and giveaway information.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club, Netgalley, and Page Street Books for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
Oh my god.
I literally have no words for this except holy cow. This book, this plot, these characters, I’m blown away. Ibañez really just blew me away and basically made me her forever fan with this novel. I’m literally at a loss for words right now. The love and care that went into this novel, not just coming from an #OwnVoices author, and not just writing just to write, but the actual heart and soul that went into this novel is so transparent when you read it that you can’t help but feel something for this. It’s like Ibañez opened up her heart to us, her love of Bolivia, her culture, her family, her thoughts on the political climate happening in Bolivia and the people that have to live through that kind of turmoil every single day… just wow.
I am so, so, so glad that this book is out in the world. I’m so glad that Ibañez wrote this novel for the world to see. I’m so glad that Page Street Books said they would publish it, and gave her the support that she deserves in making sure that people are able to get this book, to read it, to digest it. To support HER. To support her world. To support more Latinx authors and Latinx inspired fantasy novels because this was not even heard of back when I was growing up. To support more #OwnVoices authors telling their story in their space, showing people that YES, we do exist and YES we want our stories to be heard and YES we can and should be celebrated.
I’m just so glad.
While there is an official dream cast as part of this tour, I had the opportunity to do my version of how I imagined the characters to look like. It’s always so nerve wracking to show the world how you see characters in your mind, the actors that maybe come close to what you envision, if not exactly perfect, and then knowing that the author herself has her own thoughts on how her characters look like. You want to make sure that it captures the essence of the novels, the characters, the story that the author put out in this world, but also has your own personal spin to it. It can be difficult, and man sometimes I really psyche myself out when I have to choose my face claims, but I love it in the end.
I’m so freaking emotional right now fam, you don’t even know. Reading and blogging is literally my escape from life sometimes, and this is where I find my sanctuary. So when I read books that just make me feel so proud and happy to be Latinx or happy to be Asian or happy to be Black, just happy to be the mixed bag that is me, I get even more emotional because I see bits and pieces of me in these characters and remember that there is so much more to this life. We all just need to keep going.