Publisher/date: Page Street Kids (January 7, 2020)
Genre: YA Bolivian Fantasy
Rating: K (war, ghosts)
“So many families were ripped apart that day. Gone in agonizing hours, minutes, days. Another war will shred more families. More children will grow up speaking about their parents in past tense.
I’m tired of it.”
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 queen to her throne.
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's beliefs, 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.
I loved loved loved this book. It was an easy but intriguing read. I love that what she thought was a simple case of "usurper steals the throne" is completely different from the other side's perspective. I loved that Ximena struggled to be the condesa, to hide her true personality, and when the parts of her came out that she couldn't hide, that she was not so poised and perfect. It was endearing. I loved all of the secondary characters, how you got tidbits of each of them to make them interesting. And I especially loved the culture in this book. I haven't gotten to read a book with my culture since Wild Beauty, but this one is even better.
5 stars, I wish it was a series because I'd line up for the next one !