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Book Review: This Woven Kingdom

Updated: Nov 7, 2023






Title: This Woven Kingdom (#1)

Author: Tahereh Mafi






Spec Spot





What's it about?

Alizeh is a young jinn girl with no family. She works in the capital as a servant in a prominent woman's home, thankful to have time to peruse her love of sewing for extra money and an excuse to keep her face covered. Her number one goal, is to ensure that no one knows who she really is and what her destiny demands from her.


Kamran is the crown prince, though he's content being out with the soldiers. Summoned home by his grandfather, the acting king of the kingdom. Though he doesn't know why he's been summoned home, he knows it has to be something big.


But when their two paths cross under odd circumstances, both have reason to distrust the other. Alizeh had been given a warning from the devil and Kamran has his family's own prophecy to heed, both ending in death. But when neither of them can stop thinking about the other, though they know they should for their very safety, things begin to get messy and survival becomes less sure.


Favorites:

Favorite Character: My favorite character was Kamran. I did really like Alizeh as well, but for some reason I was more drawn to Kamran. I think it's because I liked his dry sense of humor, which made me crack a smile or two, even when I didn't know if I trusted him or not.


Alizeh, being my second favorite is a strong, independents girl. She has to be! She knows what is expected of her, but she also knows that, no matter how alluring her destiny may sound, it's not what she wants. Even though she could be royalty, she chooses to be a servant without complaining and without the belief that she is too good for it. She knows what she wants and she goes for it and she thinks for herself, even if her thoughts aren't exactly popular.


Least favorite character: The king. While I didn't like Kamran's mother much, either, I think I disliked the king most, though that may be mainly because we see him more then the princess. While I understand some of the concerns he brings up and I totally get wanting to protect your family, I don't like the way he does it or the way he feels like nothing he does is bad or wrong. Even for the right reasons, we sometimes we do things that aren't exactly good. But the king doesn't see that. He doesn't seem to see that he is not the only one who has a great amount of value or intelligence. This, and other characteristics, contributes to his inability to listen to anyone else or even consider what they have to say, even if it is the next to wear the crown.


Favorite Part: The meeting Kamran attends and the discussion he has with his friend and advisor afterwards. Or any real interactions between Kamran and Hazan. Again, it's the dry humor and sarcasm mixed with the way they both know each other so well and trust each other, even if they would never admit their affection for the other. However, I also like the dynamic of their relationships when we know that they have secrets that they are keeping from the other.


Least Favorite Part: When Alizeh is sewing by the fire. I don't think there's really anything wrong with it, but it just didn't engage me as much as most of the other book.


Other Thoughts:

When I first started reading this book, I had a little trouble with it. Maybe it was just my ADHD, or maybe my learning disability, but even though I really wanted to read it and I was excited to read it, I struggled. Eventually, I realized it was the writing style the author uses. I'm not saying that it's bad. It's not. Not at all. I feel like the best way to explain it is that it's almost poetic, the way it's written. There's a beauty to it, but it's also a style I find I have to readjust to for some reason, which means I find it hard to begin with. But, by the end of it, I was reading smoothly again and loving it.


There's something about what I think of as the Jasmine complex (like Jasmine from Aladdin) where the royalty doesn't exactly want the royal life that appeals to me. Alizeh's version of this is a little different, though. She knows she's supposed to hold a high station, but she also know that, by doing so, it'll risk her life and she's not sure she wants the job at all, especially when it could be the cause of her death. I liked that she was special but not showy. She was raised with privilege but didn't expect it. Being a servant wasn't a source of resent for her, it was something that she did find some joy in and she made the best of it.


Kamran, on the other had, was a little less cut and dry for me. I found myself looking forward to seeing the world through his eyes pretty quickly, even though I wasn't sure I trusted him. I kept expecting him to behave a certain way and he just didn't. I couldn't understand why, when I didn't trust him and didn't love his arrogance, I was drawn to him. I'm still not entirely sure why.


I was a little annoyed with a couple of things, though. The first one is most likely just due to my lack of knowledge in the legend of the jinn, so I was a little confused when they talked about jinn doing things like just disappearing or being super human strong. I wish that we would have gotten some more base information about legends and myths that jinn exists in. What are their abilities? Things like that. Though, I will say that the world building and the history of the world was done well in the book, just not the basic information about jinn that I was missing.


I also disliked that my book was an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). Now, I appreciate that I got a copy of the book to explore it (which resulted in the other two books in the series being added to my wishlist) but my copy has a temporary cover with a promise of the real cover to be revealed later. Did you see the cover? The official cover? It's so pretty, and it might just be the ugliest of the three! I want the pretty books! lol


I would also suggest that, if you're going to pick this one up, you get all three. Because I don't know how any of the others end, but I know I wanted to dive right into the next book and, sadly, I don't have them yet. *big sigh*.


All in all, I thought it was beautifully written and a fun and compelling story. I'm excited to collect the next two books and read the complete series!


Ratings:

I give this book a

7

out of

10 of snodas



But that's just what I thought. What did you think? Did you have a basic knowledge on the lore of the Jinn before you dove in? Did you feel like the lack of jinn knowledge set you bak a little bit, too? Let us know what you thought in the comments!


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