I read the first couple chapters of this a while ago, and I was excited to see more of Inkasisa. There was magic and Bolivian history and politics and some pretty stark realities we don’t see often in YA fantasy (like food shortages and ration lines). But all of that seemed to melt away pretty quickly and the story devolved into a trope-heavy and predictable offering from this genre.
I’m not sure if this has been given a name, but there’s a particular type of plotline that I think of as ‘captive in luxury’, which I’ve become increasingly exasperated by. It’s typically a young woman who is held against her will in a lavish setting with servants, elegant gowns, an abundance of decadent food, etc. But she is very angry about being forced to sit around & eat bonbons all day and takes it out on whatever poor sap has to be her keeper. She lobs sarcasm at anyone who crosses her path and feels bad about being surrounded by all that opulence for approximately two seconds before indulging in another bubble bath.
I know this is a pretty cynical take on this type of character, but it’s just been done so much and I dread it every time it starts to happen. There’s this vibe that’s not unlike a bunch of rich celebrities or corporations singing about ‘coming together’ while the rest of the world is suffering. I dunno, maybe I’m just sensitive to that kind of thing at the moment.
As for the book itself, Isabel Ibañez is not a bad writer. The characters are grating, but her descriptions are lush and inviting. The magic system isn’t elaborated much on, so you just kind of have to go with it. It’s not really explained how moon dust makes you sleepy, but also lets some people see the future and can be used by others to weave magical tapestries? I wish we had gotten more of Bolivia and the setting as opposed to whatever bullshit Ximena is getting up to with her Stockholm-Syndrome family. And even though there’s a lot of death, you don’t really form emotional attachments to the characters, so they’re no biggie.
I’d still be willing to pick up more from Ibañez, all that said. This one just disappointed me, despite the pretty cover. Oh publishers, why do you do this to me??