Cover Image: Written in Starlight

Written in Starlight

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Name: Written in Starlight
Author: Isabel Ibanez
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Drama, Magic
Rating: 3.5/5
Written in Starlight is story of a girl rediscovering herself after losing everything. It talks about seeing the bigger truth when one loses the sense of oneself. 
The fallen Condesa, Catalina has lost everything, the war, her people, her throne, and her best friend. Now, she is left with two options, either accept Princess Tamaya as her queen or be banished in the jungle. Catalina knows that she hardly has any chance of surviving in the dangers of the jungle, but when a farmer's son, Manuel saves her. She thinks that she may have a chance. She ventures to find the lost city of gold and ask their support in her effort to reclaim her throne. Will she be able to survive the dangers? Will she be able to reclaim her throne? 

This is a perfect companion to Woven in Moonlight.  Isabel Ibanez returns with her mesmerizing storytelling, this time full of adventures, drama and actions. This book takes us on a journey through the dangers of the jungle, from the clasps of lurking animals into the arms of a handsome guard. The writing style is really good. Though, it is a sequel to Woven in Moonlight, this book gives a very different perspective from the  former. 

The character of Catalina was really unbearable at some points through the story. Even though, Manuel is doing his best to protect her, she is upset because he is not giving her attention. She seems really selfish as well. But I was glad to see some character development in her. The ending was totally unexpected. The chemistry between Catalina and Manuel was really good. The character of Manuel reminded me of Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy, in that sense, I can say Catalina did resemble Rose Hathaway as well. 
This book is a must read, if you liked Woven In Moonlight. This book is aimed for the fans of fantasy, romance and adventure.
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Firstly, I want to say that I really enjoy Isabel Ibañez’s writing style. It’s beautiful and imaginative, truly lovely to read. 

I had a little bit of trouble enjoying Catalina’s character in the first book, I will say I liked her a little more in this one but still wasn’t super impressed. This book was fairly action packed which helped me give a higher rating. It was enjoyable to read and again, beautifully written, which kept me interested throughout. 

I really had a hard time with the romance between Catalina and Manuel, there wasn’t much there and it wasn’t exciting in any way. 

This book really was well written though and enjoyable to read, but half the battle for me with books are liking the characters and that just want there for me with this one.

I am looking forward to other books that this author may write and different stories, because I really do enjoy her writing style! 

Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an Ebook for my honest review!
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for my advance eARC for an exchange of honest review, all opinions expressed are mine

I fell in love with Woven in Moonlight earlier this year so when I saw that the sister novel is available for request, I crossed my fingers and put in my request. Let's start with the cover, how gorgeous is that? if you don't know the author herself is the designer of both the stunning covers, no wonder she has an incredible imagination

Written in Starlight picks up where the former book ends with Catalina being banished out of the kingdom into the mysterious forest, feeling betrayed and stripped of power Catalina ventures into the sinister yet beautiful Yanu Jungle. With the deadly jungle full of Anaconda's and her water's filled with Piranha's to mysterious mythical beings,Catalina's chances at survival are slim yet the ever determined she is to displace the current Llacsan, she fights against all odds before she meets her long lost alley Manuel. Manuel sworn to the ex-Condesa agrees to accompany her to the mysterious city of Pititi to find an alliance for Catalina in order for her to overthrow the current queen and regain the lost glory for all her people. However this is not a mere stroll in the woods, every step is a suicide with all the magical beings in the jungle and other things that haunt the thick forest, will Catalina survive the jungle and brewing battle both inside herself and in her kingdom? will Manuel become more than her sworn in knight?

Isabel Ibanez has a beautiful writing style, she built a world so resplendent that everything comes to life with her words. The first half of the plot comprises of Manuel and Catalina trying to survive the jungle, to be honest the first 30% of the book can be slow but still engaging nonetheless, the rest of the book is evenly paced and kept me intrigued until the very end. The plot is quite gripping as I was unable to figure out how or what was happening till the very end, I enjoyed Catalina's journey of self- discovery. While the tough life in the jungle puts things into perspective, the allies she makes brings her hidden gift to life showing the real path that fate/Luna wants to put her on., with a good dose of forbidden love and South American folklore aspects Written in the Starlight definitely lived up to my expectations. A very special mention about the mouthwatering food descriptions Isabel had written in the book which made the world just as special as it was in the Woven in Moonlight ;)
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This follow-up to WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT focuses on the adventures of Catalina, the former Condesa (countess) of Inkasisa. Now exiled from the kingdom, Catalina must fend for herself and try to figure out whether she really wants to rule or hone her other gifts. Once again, Ibañez's rich descriptions of the environment, the flora and fauna, and the food (among others!) make the reader feel like they're right along with the characters. WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT is a much slower burn than its predecessor, but boy, do the rewards pay off.
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An amazing second novel! Catalina is so unlikeable but quickly becomes beloved. I thought I knew where the story was going but then was completely shocked and even yelled at the book to the point where my husband had to ask me if I was okay. It was paced very well, and painted so vividly that I felt like I could see all of the colors of the jungle. A wonderful book.
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This book is incredible! I’m always nervous going into a second book, especially when it’s a standalone, because often the magic of the first story is tampered down. NOT IN THIS CASE! Isabel has given us a character that is entirely unlikable, but loved by the time we are done with her harrowing journey. They pacing and atmosphere of this book were exquisite and the growth of our two main characters was rich and rewarding. I hate that we might be done with Inkasisa and this magical world, but have all my fingers crossed for one more book!
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Written in Starlight picks up right at the end of Woven in Moonlight. Catalina is exiled and sent to live out her days in the jungle. When Catalina finds Manuel, the son of her former general, in the jungle and discovers the city of gold is hidden in the jungle, Catalina and Manuel embark on a search for the mysterious city to try and strike a deal with it’s people to fight to get her throne back. 

I loved the setting and the magic in this story. It felt like it was based in a legend or a folktale of sorts. The characters are well-rounded, and I loved the theme of finding oneself. The mythology of the world was great, and appreciated that this book can be read as a companion novel rather than a direct sequel.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I recently read a book where, after 100 pages in a forest with nothing of interest happening, I immediately stopped reading. It's a lot to ask a reader. To have them start a book they're excited about and then spend over 100 pages stuck in the same area, encountering the same types of things with the same kind of outcome, over and over and over again. After the second time, the reader loses interest. It's inevitable. 

Much like that other book, Written in Starlight did the same. The reader is drawn in from the start, but once Catalina slides into the jungle (literally), the reader then embarks on a long 40% of the book in jungleland. Each new twist, turn, and encounter has repeated perils, three different types of monsters, and the same old plot points done again and again, while the plot still, somehow, stays stagnant. Once you clear that, we encounter a cast of characters that are dynamic and interesting, in a setting that finally explains half the questions you wanted answers to 100 pages ago.

I didn't think I'd miss Ximena so much, but Catalina has a hard time letting go of the past, ignoring obvious things that most people would have realized long ago. She's a flawed and unreliable narrator, a little too dependent on others despite serving someone else for as many years as she did. 

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Wow, it's a lot of negativity for a 4 star rating." Well, I greatly enjoyed the second half. Experiencing a new area after such much forest was a relief. The character redemption ARC across the board was pleasing and well deserved and the epilogue united the two books in a memorable and emotional way. Each of the new creatures she encounters were impressive in their design and description. The inclusion of a past villain and a new king blended the two books together. 

Give it a read. Just be prepared to handle 40% of the book in a jungle that gets a little repetitive. I would have liked a lot more explaining of animals turning into humans and the climax to be drawn out. But for a sequel? Not too bad!
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I'm obsessed with this series, I think it's more adventurous than the first one and i love it! It's beautifully written, i love the character's development and the romance.
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The main character was better in this book than the first. While the romance was tropey and I kind of wondered about some of the more well placed plot points it was a good read.
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I'm struggling with the rating on this one. There was some slight redemption in the last bit.

Let me begin by saying that I loved Woven in Moonlight. The author had a challenge in this book of making me like Catalina as our narrator, as I couldn't much stand her in the first book. And... I don't think she was successful. This book starts off right where book 1 left off - but from Catalina's point of view - with Catalina being dropped off into her jungle exile. She is whiny, narcissistic, and entitled as ever. Then she runs into her old general's son who disappeared into the jungle three years ago (which was OBNOXIOUSLY CONVENIENT and I hate when authors do that) and they resume their travel together to try to find the City of Gold, where Catalina hopes to persuade their ruler to help her take back her country... Which was originally the country of the people now hiding in the jungle.

Some of the major plot points of the book were nonsensical. The "romance" was angsty and tropey in a not great way. The portrayal of indigenous people in the first half of the book was bothersome. The magic felt over explained. The plot was predictable. No one was particularly memorable and I don't know that anyone fully redeemed themselves.

The good: the magic system (when not over explained), the use of Spanish, the final scene, the food.

I think I'm in the minority here, but I'm sorry - this one just didn't live up to the first book for me.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
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I was so beyond excited to receive an arc of one of my most anticipated books of 2021! Woven in Moonlight was an absolute favourite so I couldn't wait to dive back into this lush world and Isabel's stunning writing. 

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! Catalina was a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying MC to follow as, given the events at the end of the previous book, she had a lot of room to grow as a character. Exploring her seer powers and learning more about how the God's of this world play their part was intriguing. The romance between her and Manuel was adorable, and honestly there's nothing I love more than a forced proximity trope. Pitching this as a South American Tomb Raider is such an accurate piece of marketing, as it really delivered that level of adventure and excitement. Couldn't recommend highly enough!
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This book is a delightful follow-up to Woven in Moonlight, one of my favorite YA reads of the year. Isabel Ibanez creates rich characters that you can't help but root for, even when they make mistakes. The descriptions of the jungle are lush and vivid. The dark magic is unusual and interesting and keeps the reader guessing. Will absolutely recommend to readers who love YA, fantasy, and OwnVoices stories!
Review will be posted tomorrow on Feminist Book Club: The Podcast and as part of the October Reading Wrap Up podcast episode.
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I read Written in Starlight without having read the first book, but now I wish I'd read the first one before reading this one. I think it would have provided more context to Catalina's character which irritated me at times due to her spoiled princess vibes. But having said that, this is a beautifully written book providing an enchanting glimpse into a fabled community in the Bolivian jungle. And Catalina grew on me as she developed which, I think, was the point. I enjoyed the descriptions of the deadly jungle and the atmosphere evoked. I also generally love reading about characters from different cultures and own voice stories, so this book ticked all those boxes. This was an enjoyable YA read with a diverse twist.
4.5 stars
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After an unexpected betrayal, Catalina is banished by the new queen of Inkasisa to live in the jungle. Alone and fearing for her life in this unknown place, the girl ends up meeting an old friend. Together, Catalina and Manoel delineate a plan to find allies and take the throne of Inkasisa for its true heir.

Being Woven in Moonlight one of my favorite books of 2020, I was really excited to read Catalina's book, even more as it's described as a South American Tomb Raider.

In the first half of the story we will accompany Catalina and Manoel exploring the jungle and escaping the dangers, which was really cool to read, but the second half is where things really happen and we have mysteries, actions and several unexpected discoveries.

I think that reading this book was faster than Woven's and I liked the development of the romance more. Except that Catalina's insistence on taking the throne back is quite irritating if you've read the previous book and know that things are not exactly as she thinks.

As promised, the book delivers a story with a very Tomb Raider vibe taking the reader on an adventure in search of a hidden city, I really enjoyed this search and even has a room scape (I love) moment that made me feel like I was there.

I liked that the mythology of the world was better worked and we had more explanations about the powers, it was something that I missed in Woven and that here was well explained being essential elements for the development of the story.

Written in Starlight ended up not winning me as much as Woven in Moonlight, but I really liked everything I read.
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This sequel was so adventurous, I loved it! After the ending of the first book, I felt like our Catalina deserved a happier ending, and we got that in this one! I loved her character development, and how she embraced her true identity, instead of the identity that she had been taught to embrace.
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From Isabel Ibañez, author of Woven in Moonlight, comes the next in the duology: Written in Starlight. While Woven in Moonlight focused on Ximena, Written in Starlight puts us into the mind of Catalina, following her adventure through the jungle as she searches for the lost city of Paititi. Along the way, Catalina discovers an old friend, and makes some new ones, and tries to figure out what is best for her people -- and herself.

Written in Starlight is full of exciting jungle mishaps and adventures. It has a distinctly Indiana Jones feel to it, with the main characters evading caimans and solving puzzles in ancient temples, and even sliding down zip lines made of vines. The writing is fast paced, with short sentences and a focus on action that will keep plot-driven readers engaged and interested.

Where Written in Starlight falls apart slightly is the relationships between characters. Much of the emotional life of the book relies on the relationship between Catalina and her newly rediscovered guard Manuel. The two go back and forth between friendship, love, and cold indifference so many times it is liable to give any reader whiplash. There is little forward momentum in their relationship. Instead, the book spends most of the time rehashing the same emotional beats again and again.

Fan of Woven in Moonlight are sure to enjoy this next installment, as will those who enjoy a good adventure story with plenty of action.

Thanks to NetGalley and Page Street Publishing for the ARC!
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Written in Starlight is a gorgeously written, intense and immersive story! I couldn't stop turning the pages!!!

Set in a lush, dangerous jungle inspired by the Bolivian Amazon where Isabel's dad grew up this book truly transported me! There a bits of magic everywhere, and beauty mixed with danger. I was prepared to hate the main character, Catalina, based on what we knew of her at the end of Woven in Moonlight but I ended up loving her! And I fell in love with this book even more than book one! It's fast paced, while still filled with fantastic world building and wonderfully satisfying character arcs. And it includes my favorite romance trope (but I won't spoil anything by telling you which trope that is.) :)

It gave me tons of The Girl Of Fire And Thorns vibes, which makes me soo happy, because that's one of my all-time favorite books. I recommend it for fans of ya fantasy with unique magic systems, survival stories, and diverse reads. Thank you Page Street Publishing and NetGalley for the free copy to review!
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Just as good as the first one! 

I loved the continuation of this story with the side characters from the last book. In my opinion, the characters are perfectly flawed and learn important lessons along the way. The story itself is also refreshing in its delivery and setting. I can see a lot of people enjoying this next installment!
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Definitely a sequel. While this story could be read as a stand alone., it makes way more sense if you have read Woven in Moonlight. I personally am so happy that we got to have Catalina's story because when Woven in Moonlight came out I asked the author if she thought Catalina would survive the jungle and I was told to "wait for the next book ;-)" Catalina has been banished to the jungle and is saved by her former guard and the man who she has held a torch for for 3 years, Manuel. The go on a mission to find the Illari and their city of gold to plead for assistance in regaining Catalina's throne. 
Along her journey Catalina will find many truths, her true purpose, her true love, her true friends, and her true people.

The only downside to this novel was that it took me a little while to get through than normal because it is what I consider "an outside book" and I tend to find myself drifting when it comes to nature descriptions. This is not a problem of the novel but of mine.
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