This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

Published on March 14, 2024

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Reviewed by Samantha Calderone 

This novel is a retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale. Only in this version, the princess is anything but a damsel in distress. Instead, Alizeh is a strong young woman fighting for her life in the most unconventional ways. Alizeh is heir to the long-forgotten Jinn kingdom, forced to hide in plain sight under the guise of being a servant or risk being killed. She has spent the last few years of her life on the run from those who wish to extinguish her line and claim to the throne. Alizeh has finally found a position as a servant, which provides her with enough anonymity to remain in one place. Only after a close run in with the crown prince does Alizeh begin to fear that her fragile safety may be at risk once again.

Kamran, the crown prince, has grown up hearing the prophecies foretelling the death of his grandfather the king. However, he never imagined that the girl destined to bring down the King could be a lowly servant girl with strange eyes. The more time Kamran spends getting to know Alizeh, the more he recognizes how different she is from other servants, and he cannot seem to get her out of his mind. When the King finds out about Alizeh, he attempts to remove her in fear of what she will one day do to him and his Kingdom. Torn between his duty to his family and kingdom, and the growing feelings he has for Alizeh, Kamran must decide what is most important to him.

In this novel, Mafi’s worldbuilding comes to life through the eyes of Alizeh and Kamran. Each character lives in drastically different conditions, giving dimensions to Ardunia that make its troubles feel realistic and relatable.

On the other hand, Mafi’s choice to keep the magic of this world ambiguous and vague plays into her characters understanding of the world itself while also providing depth. Kamran has never had a reason to explore his magic, as he is not King yet and will not come into full power until he is ready. Whereas Alizeh has been forced to hide her magic for so long, she is truly oblivious to the actual power she may hold.

This Woven Kingdom is just the beginning of Alizeh’s story and will leave readers eagerly awaiting more. 



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