Book Reviews

Review: The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai

Are you looking for a new fantasy series to read which includes rebellion, feminism, and magic? Then look no further than The Daughters of Izdihar. I devoured this series starter and I cannot wait for the sequel and it’s not even out now! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts!


As a waterweaver, Nehal can move and shape any water to her will, but she’s limited by her lack of formal education. She desires nothing more than to attend the newly opened Weaving Academy, take complete control of her powers, and pursue a glorious future on the battlefield with the first all-female military regiment. But her family cannot afford to let her go—crushed under her father’s gambling debt, Nehal is forcibly married into a wealthy merchant family. Her new spouse, Nico, is indifferent and distant and in love with another woman, a bookseller named Giorgina.

Giorgina has her own secret, however: she is an earthweaver with dangerously uncontrollable powers. She has no money and no prospects. Her only solace comes from her activities with the Daughters of Izdihar, a radical women’s rights group at the forefront of a movement with a simple goal: to attain recognition for women to have a say in their own lives. They live very different lives and come from very different means, yet Nehal and Giorgina have more in common than they think. The cause—and Nico—brings them into each other’s orbit, drawn in by the group’s enigmatic leader, Malak Mamdouh, and the urge to do what is right.

But their problems may seem small in the broader context of their world, as tensions are rising with a neighboring nation that desires an end to weaving and weavers. As Nehal and Giorgina fight for their rights, the threat of war looms in the background, and the two women find themselves struggling to earn—and keep—a lasting freedom.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Ever since I heard about The Daughters of Izdihar, I was so excited! It was easy to become captivated by Nehal. If you love characters who are quick to action, determined in the face of danger, and stubborn – meet Nehal. Not only does her family’s fortune weigh on her back, but she’s determined to fight the sexism and join the Weaving Academy. I love a woman on a mission to embrace her power and also some questioning representation! At the same time, Giorgina has, in some ways, similar challenges to Nehal.

Both forced to make decisions for their families – albeit with different stakes – she’s a character who is continuously forced to pick between love and family. Duty and power. The ways in which the patriarchy is just looking for reasons to justify their oppression. The Daughters of Izdihar is a book which delivers magical training montages, rebellions, and women who are fighting for their voice and rights. Faced with these visions of their future, how will they fight and how?

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

The sexism will make your blood boil. But in The Daughters of Izdihar, Elsbai examines rebellion on a variety of levels from the personal to the community. How so many pieces of ‘value’ or ‘what matters’ are merely illusions and we find out we have nothing but smoke. It’s also a story about examining our own privilege, the protections of our name, and how our lives were shaped. It asks what is the value of truth and justice in a world determined not to heed them? How do we fight a system like that?

Find The Daughters of Izdihar on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon (UK), & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite fantasy that tackles sexism?

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