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The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave [Book review]

I borrowed this book from the library and I'm glad I did! It's not a new book, it was released in May 2016 and I have wanted to read it for a while. I like to read books written for children as well as adult fiction, being a teacher it is always nice to have books to recommend to the school children! This book is probably most enjoyed by children of middle school age (9-13) as I think they would enjoy the adventure. However that is not to say that adults won't enjoy it as I certainly did!

The girl of ink and stars by kiran millwood Hargrave - book cover


Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017, and the British Book Awards' Children's Book of Year 2017 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.

My thoughts

This was an intriguing tale of myth and legend. We follow Isa and her quest to explore the island of Joya that she lives on. According to myth Joya was once a free floating island, but due to the ancient Fire Demon it has become locked in the sea and the lives of those living their have been much less vibrant and fruitful.

This was a lovely tale of friendship, family and community. I love it when the protagonist is a strong young female, Isa is clever, brave and determined. She is not afraid to fight for what she believes in. She is highly skilled, having learnt her father's cartography craft throughout her life and uses this to become a large part of the search party and help her explore the secrets of the island.

I loved the drawings and maps throughout. They gave us an idea of what the area was like and I could imagine the world in my mind as they were exploring. Kirans story telling was incredibly detailed and it helped me imagine everything in full colour and intensity. Especially the scenes at the end!

There is a high level of excitement and danger throughout the story and a lovely blend of history and legend. The monsters are described well and keep you wondering what is going to come next.

The island of Joya, although fictional, has some light links to real life, it talks of places like Afrik and Amrica throughout, offering loose links to the world we know.

All in all this was a lovely read for children and adults. A 13 year old feisty protagonist should encourage the younger readers to want to follow her adventure!

Have you read this one? Would it be something you would want to read about? Let me know in the comments!

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