I received This Woven Kingdom in LitJoy Crate, and this edition is absolutley beautiful. Like the last book I read, there is a dust jacket with character art inside, and the book itself had golden edges. I love it so much.
But onto the actual story.
The best way I can have of describing This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi (published by Harper) is that it is a Cinderella retelling inspired by Persian mythology. Alizeh is a jinn and lost royal, living as a servant in the kingdom of Ardunia. When the Arudnian prince Kamran sees her defend herself against an attacker, he becomes smitten with her–accidentally notifying the king who sends assassins after the girl, who is a threat to him. Throughout the novel there’s subtle forbidden romance, magic, fighting, friendships formed, friendships betrayed, and a wonderful ball.
Most people know the author, Tahereh Mafi, from their experience with the Shatter Me series but, for better or for worse, this was my first interaction with the author’s work, so I had no preexisting notion of what to expect. Her other famous book is A Very Large Expanse of Sea.
I really enjoyed This Woven Kingdom. The writing style was beautifully prosaic and romantic. My favorite quote is, “I think I might fetch you the moon if only to spare your tears again.” It left me swooning.
The characters were nuanced, each having their own reasoning for their prejudces and desires. A few of my favorites were Omid, a street child, and Miss Huda, an illegitimate child of a noble. I like the unlikely friendships that developed between them and Alizeh.
I also loved learning more about Persian mythology–though Mafi did say that none of this was cannon, simply influenced. Still, it was fun to learn about jinn and fireflies and their take on Iblees (the devil).
What I wasn’t so fond of was the slow pace. It seemed like the majority of the action took place in the last pages, leaving me with more questions to amp up the anticipation for the sequel. Those last pages were amazing, but I wish Mafi didn’t take her sweet time getting there. This nearly 500 page book could have been at least 100 pages shorter, I think.
Overall, this book was a four-star read for me, and I am looking forward to the sequel which will be released in spring 2023. I highly recommend this for high fantasy readers who want a more culturally diverse tale, or those who like fairytale retellings.
Find Tahereh Mafi on Instagram here.