Cover Image: The Bookweaver's Daughter

The Bookweaver's Daughter

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Member Reviews

I absolutely loved reading this book. I would highly recommend it and thank you to net galley for allowing me to read it .
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I didn't like this book very much. 

For one thing, it felt anti-Muslim from the way I saw it. (in a manner of clearly-phrased terms)
1; Kasmira = Kashmir (a province in Northern India which is predominantly Muslim and being brutalized for wanting to join Pakistan)
2. Indira = India (I feel this is more of your Hindu-predominant Southern Indian regions)
3. Zakir = a muslim name (given to the heartless dictator in The Bookweaver's Daughter)
With that being said, and several of the other things that other reviewers mentioned, I rest my case.

In addition, the writing was much too rushed, thus impacting:
1. The character relationships and development: I literally could not feel any connection between any of the characters. They all just seemed to exist. There was no raw emotion. Why are Nina and Reya such good friends? Surely, Naveen and Reya could take a little more time before just jumping into a rushed friendship? Yes, they both have that similarity, but, honestly, is that all it takes to form a friendship? In addition, none of the characters really took away anything from such a memorable experience. 
2. The setting: being an OwnVoices novel, I think it's generally expected to have no explanation for any of the Indian culture because the main audience will be Indian. In addition, I didn't really feel like the setting was described very well or much.
3. The plot: at times, it was confusing. With the rush throughout, the reader gets sorta stranded somewhere in all of the words rushing past, wondering what on earth happened.

The one thing I did like:
The fact that there was little to no romance. It is so overused that there is a feminist main character and that she's ugly or whatever but she ends up in a love triangle with two handsome guys (somehow) or at least that she ends up with someone. I liked that Reya didn't have to do that, though I didn't really approve of the hints at the ending.

Note: By two stars, I say that I dislike the book, rather than completely hating the book at one star.
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2/5 ⭐️
 Firstly, I’d like to start by saying that overall, I did connect well to this book, the writing, and our characters. Although the storyline itself wasn’t super unique, I did enjoy it and the book kept me engaged.

However, when I came to write this review, I became aware from own-voices reviewers that this book has some very problematic elements. Specifically, the representation of  Hindu-Muslim relations in the Kashmiri region of India, of which the setting is based. Please read own-voices review to learn more, as well as doing your own research on the current events and news from that area from people who are or have lived there.
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I went into this book really wanting to enjoy i.t., but I was disappointed by the inaccuracies and classic younger YA tropes that just don't appeal to me anymore. I thought since this was a book about an Indian MC, as an Indian girl myself, I thought i.t. would further break limits placed on women of color in this industry but I was let down. This book had inconsistent characters, pacing that just disrupted the cadence of reading, alongside the infodumps that never bode well. Overall, I had really wanted to love this book but couldn't.
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I really wanted to love this book! The plot summary sounded absolutely amazing! Plus, an own-voices story? I was absolutely stoked to read this book! Unfortunately, this book fell VERY short for me. I should note that I saw a majority of own-voices reviewers said this book was very problematic. For me, books that mis-represent a culture are incredibly problematic. While I cannot comment on the accuracy of the representation, other own-voices readers have noted that this book is problematic and I have to believe them. This was something that took away how interested I was in this book. To be honest, I didn't finish this book. I could not get over the terrible writing and over-used tropes. There were also a plethora of plot-holes that finished ruining the book for me. The characters were un-relatable and unlikeable. I do believe this book had the potential to be better though- had it gone through more edits and shown cultural respect. Overall, I would not recommend this book to anyone!
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I was really so close to giving this book a DNF, but I pushed on through because it's not very long. I didn't like it. It felt like it was written for either a younger audience or an ignorant one. And with that feeling, it felt like an insult to all readers.
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I got confused in parts of this book, but I really enjoyed it. 
It is always great to find a standalone fantasy novel to enjoy, which is why I requested this book. Although I wish there would be more so I can learn more about the world and the magic, I do like standalones.
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When I saw this book was listed on Netgalley, I knew that I needed it. I immediately requested it, and was ready to dive right in. We were promised a lush and intricate fantasy world inspired by Indian folklore, but sadly, this didn’t deliver. 

The Bookweaver’s daughter follows Reya after her father’s death. His legacy as Bookweaver has passed on to her, and she is now a symbol of hope for the rebellion. Drawn into the struggle and fight for freedom, she’s caught between two warring sides. 

Now, a lot of other reviewers have addressed the harmful representation in this. I am in no way educated on this topic, so I won’t be addressing that in this review. Not because I don’t care, but because I simply don’t know enough to form an opinion. By all means though, read other reviews and their complaints about the representation. 

I just want to address the concept of this book for a quick second. It was completely epic. I mean, the title Bookweaver just sounds awesome, so that hooked me immediately. Farther than that though, this truly did have a ton of potential. I truly feel like this book suffered from being too short. At a measly 250 pages, this felt super rushed. Like a lot of other reviewers, the pacing threw me off. This book is supposed to happen over the span of months, but it felt like it took days. Huge plot points were glossed over in a page or two, which minor details were focused on. I really struggled with this, because it was hard to get engaged in a plot with a confusing timeline. The author easily could’ve added another hundred pages without this ever feeling like it was dragging.

I also have to complain about the world building. After reading half the book, I just had to sit back for a second, and ask myself “what is a Bookweaver.” And after reading this, I still have that question. It’s never told to us straight, it’s danced around, and mentioned, but never explicitly stated. I really needed it to be stated though, because in a world with mages, yogis, and Weavers, I got confused very quickly.

Another one of my problems with this was the dialogue. I’m not sure why it felt so stilted, but it did. Conversations often felt like they were only thrown in to educate us, and didn’t feel like real interactions. 

And finally, I just want to talk about all of the potential that is wasted with Devendra. As soon as he was introduced, I was in love. I was totally ready to read about the tortured prince who changes his views and challenges his father. Instead, he’s just kinda there for the entire book. His personality is barely explored, and except for one incident at the end, he just sits back and watches. 

After reading this, I have to confront the fact that while I didn’t hate it, I was waiting for it to be over. I hate giving ARCs a bad review, but I can’t justify rating this any higher. I would like to commend the author for writing this at only 17, it’s a huge accomplishment. This book just wasn’t executed very well.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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The Bookweaver’s Daughter is an #OwnVoices YA fantasy debut from young author Malavika Kannan. Packed with high stakes, artful prose, and bookish magic, this brand-new Indian-inspired fantasy has everything you could wish for!

The Bookweaver’s Daughter is set in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Indian lore and mythology. Rich with colour, magic, and political struggles, the story’s setting is beautifully detailed and captivating. In the ancient Indian kingdom of Kasmira, magic is a curse, and to tell a story means something much, much more. The Bookweaver’s Daughter includes all of the elements that make Middle-Eastern-influenced fantasy books wonderful. 

The main character of The Bookweaver’s Daughter, Reya Kandhari, is reminiscent of the strong female leads we’ve come to know and love in fantasy and dystopian YA. Burdened with an important magical legacy and left endangered in the wake of her father’s death, Reya is forced to navigate friendship, power, and storytelling in a quick series of twists and turns. Reya’s best friend, Nina, shares her strength and determination, and refreshingly, it is this platonic relationship, rather than a romance, that takes the spotlight in the The Bookweaver’s Daughter’s subplots. 

The Bookweaver’s Daughter tells a tale of friendship, power, and revolution, all through the lens of #ownvoices Indian magic and lore. I’d recommend this book to fans of Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands and S. A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass. 

Thank you to Tanglewood Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with this digital review copy.
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I wanted to like this book. It was based on mythology/folklore, has a bit of magical realism, and strong female characters. The writer and cast of characters was diverse. I did not like the book. It felt like it jumped around a lot and lost focus quickly. The character actions didn't always make sense.

The writing wasn't as strong as I had hoped. The premise of the story was interesting but in the end it wasn't enough to make a lasting impression.
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I am a sucker for adaptations of fairytales from cultures around the world - if they're done well. The concept was great, but I felt like this was basically "Siddhartha" written through the eyes of a young woman for younger audiences. The main character, Reya was difficult to relate to along her journey of finding herself as a fifteen year old. She didn't have a lot of depth for a main character, and her friendships and relationships just felt like they weren't developed enough. These are the bones of a food novel, but needed more fleshing out.
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I was thinking that the beginning of this book is super interesting and this going to be one of my new favorite young adult fantasy from an ownvoices writer. 

Before I dive further, the pro of this book: female friendship. That's it.

To the review:

I was so sad that I could not understand the time setting of this book, as well as the hard-to-grasp world-building. It is very confusing.

What I did not expected was the harmful representation of Muslim and Hindu in India. And like a lot of ownvoices Indian reader said, its poorly written and some even are inacurate and came out as offensive. Also there are a lack of research about Kashmiri recent events--again, very harmful. I didn't finished reading this book, I found it not right to do it after a lot of own-voices readers said they didn't feel represented.
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I truly loved how whimsical and surreal this book felt while I was reading it. It was such an echanting tale about storytelling, the power of storytelling, and how far would one girl go to see justice made.

Truly reccommend it for all the dreamers out there!
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I had trouble getting into this book. I kept getting distracted and wasn't sucked into the story like what happens when you read a really good book. 

It was just okay for me.
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I had a hard time getting into this book. I really was interested in Kannan, since she is young and that did translate into the text. In the end her style just wasn't for me.
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i really enjoyed reading this book, it had what I was looking for in a fairy tale novel. The characters were great and I really enjoyed the plot.
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Great writing and world building! I really enjoyed Reya's journey and the tension created by the secrets and magic. The twist and turns helped keep the plot engaging and developing. Hoping for further novels to expand the lore and world of Kashmira!
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First of all, I should point out that this is the debut novel of a 17 year old, which is pretty awesome. So although I do have some negative opinions, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Things I liked about The Bookweaver’s Daughter: the cover, the setting, and the fantasy. The cover is definitely what initially drew me in (so pretty and colorful), but the description also appealed to me. I’m not sure if any of this fantasy is based on Indian mythology or not, but it was very interesting and fairly well developed. The Bookweaver is a Yogi, whose powers were given by the gods, and Reya’s dad is the last surviving Yogi. I thought the different abilities and mythology in The Bookweaver’s Daughter was pretty unique and interesting. I wouldn’t have minded some more detail, but in a standalone, there is only so much you can include.

I also love that The Bookweaver’s Daughter is Indian inspired. Cultural fantasies are a lot of fun for me to read, and this was no exception. As far as Indian representation, I can’t speak to the quality of it, personally. You may want to check out some of the reviews from people more knowledgeable about Indian culture that I’ve linked below. I did appreciate that it was set in India, however, since that isn’t a culture I see often in YA fantasy novels. We also got to see a variety of environmental settings, including jungles, deserts, and mango fields, and I thought the diverse atmospheres in the book were really neat.

Unfortunately, the characters and plot fell short for me. The Bookweaver’s Daughter is supposed to be a book about Reya finding herself, and her purpose, but for the vast majority of the book she is floundering in her abilities, sense of identity, and purpose. It is always other people, such as Nina, who have to tell her what to do and who to be. I found this disappointing, although I guess unsurprising, considering Reya is a 15 year old character written by a 17 year old. Her relationships didn’t make a lot of sense to me either. She didn’t seem that upset when something happened to her father, her only living parent, and her relationship with Nina seemed unfocused and kind of hot and cold. She developed a friendship with a boy named Naveen, and that relationship seemed a little unbelievable and abrupt as well.

The plot was also a little vague for me, but I think this was tied to Reya as a character. Because she didn’t have a lot of direction, neither did the plot. The ending was alright, but it felt kind of abrupt after all the waffling of the story arc.
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The Kindle copy I recieved of this book was incomplete and didn't let me read it. I tried the Netgalley app, but due to the glitch it does on my phone, it skipped pages and I had to stop. The pages I did read were really unremarkable, and in light of the issues raised about this book on social media, I didn't want to continue.
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When a book promises representation of Indian culture but it's evident while reading the story that it's meant for the non-represented part of the readership, especially the whites who want clear translations (through the horrific chai tea, for example) and a black-and-white view on a region or society that's going through immense tension being a conflicted zone, even if either of these effects were unintentional on the author's part.
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