The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai

The basics

Title: The Daughters of Izdihar


Series: Alamaxa #1

- The Daughters of Izdihar (2023)
- Untitled (2024)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai below. If you can’t remember what happened in The Daughters of Izdihar and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in The Daughters of Izdihar?

  • Nehal learns that she’s going to be married off to a rich guy named Nico. She knew Nico a bit before but has no romantic interest in him. Nehal’s family used to be well off but they’ve drained all their funds, so they’re looking forward to receiving the money from this marriage and keeping their upper class status.
  • Nehal speaks to Nico and comes to an agreement with him. Nehal wants to join the elemental Alamaxa academy to learn to use her water weaving powers properly. She will need Nico’s permission to do this once they’re married, so in exchange Nehal will allow Nico to continue his relationship with a woman that he loves. Their marriage contract is amended to allow this.
  • Nico’s girlfriend is a woman called Giorgina. She’s an earth weaver, and she met Nico while working in a bookshop. Giorgina wanted to marry Nico, but because she’s from a lower class Nico’s father wouldn’t allow it. Nico wasn’t able to disobey his father because his father knew a secret about Giorgina – that she had previously had an abortion – and was threatening to expose her. Nico backed down.
  • Weavers aren’t well liked, especially female weavers, because someone called Edua Badawi once weaved the sea and destroyed an entire island coastline.
  • Nico tells Giorgina about his plan to marry Nehal but also stay together with Giorgina and look after her. Giorgina refuses to go along with this because he’s basically describing a concubine. She doesn’t want her reputation to be ruined.
  • Giorgina is also part of the Daughters of Izdihar, a group of women fighting for women’s suffrage, among other things. Their leader is Malak Mamdough. Giorgina goes to a protest and is arrested.
  • The jailors are about to call Giorgina’s father as he’s her official guardian, but Nehal and Nico intervene. They get Giorgina released and she returns home. Her father is unhappy with her for being out so late.
  • Nehal and Nico attend the opera. They meet Nagat and Yusry, whose sister will be attending the Academy too.
  • Nehal attends the Academy for her first week. She learns to control her powers a bit more. She meets Mahitab, Yusry’s sister, as well as some other weavers. The men aren’t very nice to the female students.
  • Nehal and Nico go to Yusry’s place for dinner. Nico gets smashed, and when they return home they kiss. They’re interrupted by one of their staff and Nico is embarrassed.
  • Nehal goes to see Malak in her home and they clearly have a connection. An officer tries to fight Malak, and Nehal defends her.
  • Giorgina’s boss sees her advertising for the Daughters of Izdihar and he gets angry. He makes her throw the sheets away.
  • Nico defends Nehal to his parents, which is nice.
  • Pretty much everyone warns Nehal to stay away from Malak, for various reasons but including that Malak may be interested in women. We know this to be true since Nehal and Malak just kissed.
  • Giorgina is told that she is to marry a man called Zakariyya, who saw her at the bookstore. Her family are very pleased with this match.
  • The Daughters of Izdihar march on Parliament and demand to be listened to. Unfortunately it all goes wrong when an officer fires at the glass ceiling and causes an uproar.
  • The Parliament building gets set on fire accidentally.
  • Labiba is shot and killed by the same officer, Attia Marwan.
  • Malak and Nehal are arrested. Giorgina has to run away so she doesn’t get caught.
  • Nehal is released as her uncle is the chief officer. She demands to speak to Malak and gives her her cloak when she realises she’s freezing cold.
  • Nehal tries to tell Shaaban what his officer, Attia, did, but he’s not having any of it.
  • Giorgina is taken to meet Zakariyya’s mother, who demands that she has her virginity tested. The test is traumatic, and comes back inconclusive, so in the end Giorgina tells everyone she’s not a virgin and the wedding is called off. 
  • Her family disown her for this. Nehal and Nico agree that Giorgina can live with them for a bit.
  • Nehal’s parents arrive because they’ve been hearing about her antics. Nehal’s mother wants Nehal to act like a proper lady and throw a party.
  • Nehal and Giorgina go to see one of the Daughters for Malak. Her name is Bahira, and she has contacts with the printing presses. Malak wants her to print something about what happened to Parliament, but Bahira says her contacts want nothing to do with her now.
  • Nehal asks Shaaban to hold Attia accountable for the murder, but again Shaaban doesn’t want to do anything. Nehal goes to find Attia and sees him speaking with the Zirani ambassador. They seem to be plotting.
  • Nehal uses her bloodweaving powers on Attia to escort him to the police station. He confesses but Shaaban says he still can’t do anything because he confessed under duress. 
  • Nehal is thrown in the cell with Malak and Shaaban tries to make everyone keep quiet about the bloodweaving, because it’s not a good power to have.
  • Giorgina is fired from her job for allowing the marriage to fall apart.
  • Nehal’s parents come and get her. She tries to tell everyone about Attia and the ambassador but Nico is the only one to listen. He says he’ll try to speak to the senators.
  • Nico and Giorgina meet to discuss the plan. Nico will try to talk to the senators and Giorgina plans to intercept Naji, the ambassador.
  • In the end, Giorgina ends up burying Naji in rubble and killing him. She brings down the courthouse where Malak is supposed to be on trial.
  • Zirana declares war for this act of aggression. 
  • Giorgina organises a hunger strike among the Daughters of Izdihar in order for them to be listened to. She puts together a good speech.
  • Three days into the strike, Giorgina is arrested for disturbing the peace.
  • Nehal is let out of jail on bail, and her mother still insists on throwing a party. At the party, Nehal is knocked out by Attia and taken away. It probably wasn’t a good idea to host one.
  • Giorgina breaks herself and the others out of jail using her earthweaving. They go to get Malak too and they all go on the run.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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