Monday, April 18, 2022

Review: This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

by Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
2022 HarperCollins
Kindle Edition; 512 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062972460
Audiobook: B0971G537V
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.75 / 5 Stars

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.
My Thoughts
This Woven Kingdom was an enjoyable book about Alizeh, the long-lost heir to the Jinn kingdom, and her fight for survival in a world that sees her as a dangerous enemy.  Because this is the first book in a trilogy, I was expecting it to be more about world-building and less about dark magic, but I was hoping there would be more about the Jinn. I know a lot of people like the love-triangle trope and the insta-love thingy, but I have never been a fan and I tend to roll my eyes when I see a good author use these as plot devices in their work, something that is definitely in this book.
First of all, I thought Alizeh was a great character.  She definitely had a lot of common sense and thought about what she was doing all of the time, thinking her way through problems and coming up with solutions. It doesn't mean she doesn't get frustrated and has to be alert to what she says so she doesn't lose her job and position. I definitely like a heroine who puts some thought into her actions and understands the consequences of what she is doing.  I completely empathized with her loneliness as she was ostracized for who she was, desperate to talk to another person, and loved how she was able to use what she had to comfort herself.  But she never seemed to lose her empathy towards others, and while she could be quite formidable, she was still loving and compassionate.  She didn't use a lot of her magic in this book, but I could understand why as she was supposed to be in hiding. I can't wait to see how the author develops this character.
I also really liked Kamran, although I disliked the insta-adoration trope that went with it.  Kamran is privileged, the heir to the throne, but while he is somewhat immature because of his privilege, his dealings with Alizeh open his eyes somewhat to what is happening and he begins to question his political alliances and orders from the king.  He is an interesting character because you can see the growth happening as he questions why a servant might have an extensive education, why his grandfather does certain things, and other whys.  His character had the most growth and I am particularly interested in how he develops in future books. What will a character like that do when his whole world is turned upside down and he now has to question beliefs and truths with which he grew up?
The pace of the book was probably the weakest point for me.  If you take a really good look at the world-building, the politics, the romance, and the magic, they were pretty formulaic and predictable. The insta-love thing just didn't work for me, and I would have preferred the author spent the time building up the story line rather than a possible love triangle.   The first half of the book was much slower than the second half as the author spent some time building up her characters, but the second half, especially the last hundred pages or so, were much quicker, and a newer, more interesting character, who finally created some interesting political chaos, joined the mix.  It is this character who is my new favourite in this book.

This Woven Kingdom had a lot of potential, and in the end I did enjoy it. There were definitely some issues with plot and pacing, but I liked the characters and think there is a lot of room for growth and development.  I do think the world building was decent, but the mythology behind it was lacking as we really don't know a whole lot about the Jinn or some of the things that were mentioned.  The last hundred pages or so were quite interesting though, and it was enough to make me want to read the next book in the series. 



  1. Those tropes are things that tend to drive me from a book too.