Book Review: This Woven Kingdom

Mariama Diallo, Staff Writer

This Woven Kingdom is the first book in a trilogy written by Tahereh Mafi, the bestselling author of the Shatter Me series.

Our heroine is Alizeh, a young woman part of a shunned race known as the Jinn. She lives as a servant on probation, enduring harsh conditions and abuse all while reminding herself that things could be worse.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Kamran, the crown prince who is dealing with prophecies that claim the death of the current king will soon come. When Alizeh and Kamran cross paths, secrets long hidden under the surface come to light, all of them threatening the fall of the kingdom. All of them connecting to a girl with strange eyes.

Many people believe that Tahereh Mafi is an amazing author and absolutely adore her series Shatter Me. Unfortunately, This Woven Kingdom doesn’t really live up to those standards. The pacing of the book is quite choppy, with the beginning dragging on forever. The
two main leads don’t meet until much later and when they do cross paths, the rest of the book is paced rather quickly. New characters and motivations are introduced in such a rushed way that you’re left confused with all the new developments.

There is also so much information we are left without by the end of the book. We still don’t have a grasp on who Alizeh is and all we know about Kamran is that he respects the king, his father is dead, and he is infatuated with Alizeh. Also that his mother tried killing him to get his attention. Kamran is two-dimensional and we aren’t given a look into his personal interests (if he even has any) or anything pertaining to his personality, which is non-existent throughout the book.

Alizeh, on the other hand,  has the makings of a really great heroine. Up until the start of the book, she has been through so many things and she is grasping for anything positive in order to keep her sanity. She differs from the typical archetype of a cold, deadly fantasy heroine and shows compassion while also using common sense. Alas, even Alizeh wasn’t enough to fully save this book.

It sort of feels like the author and editor knew that the book would succeed because of the fame Shatter Me garnered which is why some elements of the story felt unpolished. Overall, the book had great potential but a subpar execution. Who knows? If you care more about imagery than plot, maybe you’ll enjoy This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi.

Mariama Diallo 2022