Title: This Woven Kingdom
Series: This Woven Kingdom #1
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: February 1st, 2022 (HarperCollins)
Synopsis: To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.
The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom – and the world.
Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people – bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s first in an epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins, HCC Frenzy, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Alizeh is a Jinn, but one with ice in her veins, denoting her as the long lost heir to the Jinn kingdom. She works as a lowly servant in a noblewoman’s home, hiding her true heritage and doing her best to keep out of sight and notice of anyone important, but one day, when she is attacked in the marketplace by a hungry street child, the altercation draws the attention of none other than Kamran, the newly returned crown prince of Ardunia. Kamran has always known of the prophecy that foretold the death of the king, but is shocked when he begins to realize that the insignificant servant girl from the marketplace might be the driving force behind the destruction of his kingdom.
I was both incredibly nervous and very excited to pick up this book. Nervous because the last book I tried by this author, the Shatter Me series, simply did not work for me and I had to give up on it midway through the second book, and excited because from the synopsis of this book, it sounded exactly like my type of fantasy read. The second proved to be true in this case, and I absolutely loved both the world and plot. I’ve always enjoyed stories based on and inspired by Persian mythology, with magic, and Jinn, and their conflicts with humans, and the world of Ardunia certainly had that, though the world building is much more subtle and gradual than I’ve come to expect in fantasy novels. I was very impressed by how easy it was to follow along with both the plot and the setting right from the beginning even though the book takes its time to properly flesh out both. The story as a whole did seem to spend more time on character building than world building, but certainly not to the detriment of the latter. The writing style was good and I thought the numbers in Persian script at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch. I really hope there will be a map included in the final copy of this book as I’ve always found them to be extremely helpful with visualization in fantasy novels.
Alizeh was an amazing main character and it was so interesting to see the common trope of ‘the lost heir’ portrayed in a different manner where the heir is actually aware of their background and has more or less been expecting that someone would show up to find them sooner or later. Despite the heartbreakingly difficult life she has been forced to lead ever since her parents died, she remains incredibly strong and keeps picking herself back up and going on. There is so much potential for her arc going forward, and she has the makings of a classic fantasy heroine. Kamran was a character who had significant growth as the story explored his struggles and the heavy responsibilities that awaited him and how they have impacted his life, making his arc an intriguing one to follow. I’m curious to know more about Hazan as he didn’t get enough page time to really understand his character and it seems like he will be important going forward too. As for the romance, I’m not too impressed with it so far, and Kamran and Alizeh’s dynamic felt rather forced to me, but the story’s just beginning, so I’m keeping an open mind.
While the writing was beautiful, I felt like the narration was a bit rigid, and it made the story feel much slower moving than it actually was, especially in the initial chapters. Having a dual POV could have been used to much better effect as well, but hopefully, now that the initial setup of the world and plot is complete, things will pick up in the sequel.
Despite the erratic pacing, the ending was well worth it and I thoroughly enjoyed the twists. This Woven Kingdom has laid a strong foundation for a new series and I can’t wait for the sequel, especially after that shocking climax and the revelation of the initial riddle’s meaning – it’s going to be a long year. I would highly recommend this series for any fantasy fans!
This Woven Kingdom releases on February 1st, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: