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.
It feels imperative that I start this review with my biggest gripe with the book, namely, that it ended. And it didn’t just end at a point that allows me to go on with my life without basically writing fanfic in my head about where this is going, no. It ended when I was most invested in what was coming next. That’s both a storytelling triumph and the single most frustrating thing as a reader.
However, even that single frustration just masks a deep love for the story Mafi is telling in This Woven Kingdom. If I hadn’t fallen so deeply in love with the story, and most importantly, with the characters, I wouldn’t mind the long wait towards the sequel.
There’s a lot about this book that feels familiar. It’s YA, there’s a long-lost Queen, there’s a Prince, there are sparks between them. And yet there’s so much about this book that feels unique, from the setting, to the mythology to the sense that both those things don’t make the story any less relatable — if anything, they just make it more so.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Mafi is able to weave an interesting tale, or create compelling characters. This is the same author that had me changing my allegiances in the middle of her Shatter Me series, something that typically doesn’t happen to me. But the fact that she manages to do both those things while drawing from myths and legends that some of us might not be as familiar with is something to be celebrated.
Reading has, for me, always been a source of connection, but also of knowledge. I’ve learned of cultures and places I’ve never been, and I think reading has, on the whole, made me a more open and loving person. Every time I put down a book and I’m eager to find out more about the inspirations behind it, I feel like I have won, and that’s exactly what I left This Women Kingdom feeling like.
The book’s true triumph, however, isn’t in the setting or the storytelling — particularly as it feels there’s so much of this tale we don’t know yet — but in the characters. Alizeh is powerful, vibrant, scared, loving, and infused with so much warmth that you cannot help but want good things for her. She’s also, unlike so many heroines of fantasy, the smartest person in the room, at all times, which makes it so much easier to root for her to just …trust her instincts.
Kamran, on the other hand, who could be cold and cruel, is both the hero of romance novels and a flawed character with his own faults, and desires. I typically can get through books as long as the heroine works, but it’s hard to truly love one if the hero doesn’t work and Kamran …he works.
Plus together …well, together they’re magic, the kind we didn’t get nearly enough of, but that when we did, made me feel like I was reading a romance novel, in all the good ways.
Books that make you care about the inspiration while engaging in the world they’ve built are rare. Books that manage to do that while making you connect with the characters and care about the relationship they’re trying to develop? Those are one of a kind. Whatever you’re doing, it’s time to pause and take the time to go read This Woven Kingdom. You won’t regret it.
This Woven Kingdom is available wherever books are sold. You can find the full synopsis for the book below:
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.
Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Tomi Adeyemi, and Sabaa Tahir, this is the explosive first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi.