Wednesday 29 January 2020

The Girl of Ink and Stars Book Review

So the first book that I read this year was in fact not my first review (always on catch up) but I'm finally getting around to sharing with you my thoughts on Kiran Millwood Hargrave's novel A Girl of Ink and Stars.


Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.

When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

Isabella is a teenage girl who has know both love and loss in the short years in which she has been alive. Her father is a cartographer - he plots maps - and together they live on the island of Joya. 

Joya is no ordinary island since the governor put it under his extremely strict rule, the residents of the town of Gromera, which is where Isabella lives, are forbidden to travel beyond the dark forest that resides beyond the village. 

When a young girl from Isabella's class is discovered dead within the forest and another of her friends then disappears (the governors daughter) in search of the murderer, the young protagonist embarks on a journey beyond the darkness which will unearth more than just the legends in which the villagers speak of.

Arinta was a very brave girl. She lived at the centre of Joya a thousand years ago, when it was free to roam the earth and sailed the ocean like a living ship. There was no forested border, no Forgotten Territories, and songbirds sang in every tree.

Not everyone believes in the legends, the myths which have slowly become nothing more than whispers but Isabella does and it is her belief which gives her the courage to continue on her journey.

Along with her not so graceful, grumpy chicken, this is a child who is filled with determination and loyalty and is strengthened with the skills in which her father has bestowed upon her. Aided with a map from her mother Isabella discovers so much that once was hidden.

Each of us carries the map of our lives on our skin, in the way we walk, even in the way we grow.

With each chapter we are taken closer to the edge. And although this book is written in a fairly simple manner, even as an adult I was captivated by the descriptions. And if words aren't enough, you will adore the illustrations of the maps and coinciding coordinates covering the pages. They bring the map making to life.

Sinister things lurk around every corner but Isabella defies those who challenge her motives. As her belief surrounding all the legends and myths of the island deepens, so does her resolve to complete the journey which she started.

The question is will everyone make it back to Gromera alive?

Something was happening to the very air we walked through. It was tense, alive and threatening, the island in the grip of forces shifting imperceptibly beneath my feet.  

As the front cover says, this really is a tale of both wonder and courage.

I'd describe this as a brilliant mix of Moana and Mulan - and who doesn't love a bit of Disney - both of whom were also strong, inspiring  female protagonist.

I can understand just why it won the awards that it did.

It speaks of myths, magic and monsters and I became engrossed not just in the story itself but the tales in which the protagonist spoke of. The Girl of Ink and Stars is elegantly enchanting, filled with mixed emotions, sadness and hope. I'd quite like to read a separate book simply filled with all the legends that were mentioned throughout the novel.

Discover the magic within.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book. It is so easily to get lost in the world that has been built and it was something completely new too I felt. I can't wait to read the next book. I have it, but not read it yet xx


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