Written in Starlight

Page Street. Jan. 2021. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645671329.
Gr 8 Up–Picking up where Woven in Moonlight left off, Catalina Quiroga has been abandoned in the jungle to face certain death. After refusing to accept Tamaya, sister of the leader of the Llacsans, as Queen of Inkasisa—and after being seemingly betrayed by her friend Ximena—Catalina finds herself completely alone. A chance encounter with a jaguar reunites her with Manuel, her dear childhood friend and love interest, who has been living in the jungle and attempting to befriend the Illari people. Aware that the Illari were driven to the jungle by the Llacsans, Catalina believes their support would guarantee her restoration to the throne, which she feels rightfully belongs to the Illustrians. This leads Catalina and Manuel on a journey through the dangerous jungle as they attempt to reach Paititi, the mysterious city of gold belonging to the Illari. As Catalina and Manuel brave the dangers of the jungle they must deal with their own inner conflicts—as well as their feelings for one another. When they finally meet the Illari, Catalina finds they too are dealing with their own troubles, and begins to realize that the Illustrians are not as blameless as she had previously thought. Told from Catalina’s point of view, this second novel further explores the relationships among the Illustrians, Llacsans, and Illari in a South American world that is also sprinkled with magic. Ibañez’s gift for storytelling shines in this title, which pulls readers in right from the start, seemingly written with strands of stardust. Filled with action; adventure; romance; and a complex plot that explores issues of colonization, justice, and doing what is right, this novel takes off from the start and never slows down.
VERDICT A unique, fast-paced fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Tehlor Kay Mejia’s We Set the Dark on Fire and Amélie Wen Zhao’s Blood Heir.

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