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Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Girl of Ink and Stars ReviewTitle: The Girl of Ink and Stars

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Genre: Fiction, Teen, Fantasy, Adventure

“All things have a cycle…a habit of returning the way they came. Seasons, water, lives, perhaps even trees. You don’t always need a map to find your path back.”

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review

When the tyrannical Governor’s young daughter goes missing, Isabella feels it is her responsibility to bring her back.  Disguising herself, she manages to join the Governor’s search party, navigating the group through the Forbidden Territories with her cartography skills passed down to her by her father.  But Lupe’s disappearance isn’t the only concern – a darkness is sweeping across the island, one that can be traced back a thousand years, to a fire demon who is finally stirring from his slumber.

Aesthetically, you couldn’t ask for more from this book.  My edition had colour maps on the inside pages, and every single page of the story itself was illustrated with ink drawings.  It really brought home the cartography element, something that I thought was original and fascinating to read about.

I also enjoyed the mythological elements of the story, and liked that for much of the book it is unclear whether or not the stories Isabella has heard about as a child have any truth to them.  I would have liked to have seen even more of the fantasy elements come to life – the Tibicena were really exciting, but the scenes with Yote seemed quite brief despite such a build up.

There were a few things lacking for me, unfortunately.  Isabella’s narration comes across as very young, and I’m not sure who would read this book and relate to her voice – I know thirteen year olds who would find her too immature.  Also, I wasn’t really convinced by her friendship with Lupe.  Considering they were best friends, I didn’t feel any real connection between them, and spent a lot of time arguing instead and being annoyed with one another.

I also felt for similar reasons like it wasn’t clear whether anything was going on between Pablo and Isabella – I sensed that she viewed him as more than just a friend.  Was there a spark between them, or just a brother-sister thing?  I was quite disappointed in the end that nothing was developed either way.  However, I appreciate that the book is not a romance – it was nice to see qualities such as friendship, family and inner strength taking priority, and in that sense it carries a good message to younger readers.

Overall though, it was a nice little read.  I’d certainly read a sequel if ever there was one, but I disagree with Goodreads defining this as part of the ‘Young Adult’ genre, despite some themes of violence, and the ending which is quite dark.  So, I wouldn’t know who exactly to recommend it to, but if you’re a fan of myths and magic, there might be something for you in this short fantasy novel.

Star Rating: ☆☆☆ (3/5)

Emma

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June 30, 2016
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The Girl of Ink and Stars: Halfway Checkpoint

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It isn’t too late to join us for this month’s read-along!  Click here to catch up with the Introduction post, and read The Girl of Ink and Stars with Wandering Words, The Geek Undergraduate and special book club guest, The Teacup Library!

The Girl of Ink and Stars - Book Club

Reading Status: Chapter Ten

It’s been fifteen days; I was sure I would have been finished with this book by now.  Chapter Ten is just under halfway through, and the action is just beginning!  I’ll be interested to see how the rest of the book is paced, as the first third of the book is very much about setting the scene.

Visually, this book has been a delight to read, and the novelty of the drawings on each page has yet to wear off.  I love reading about the cartography elements too – I’ve never read anything with this sort of skill set in before.  I think it is very poetic and beautiful.

Due to the nature of life on the island, the characters are very secretive – this makes it hard to know who to trust, and even who is good and who is bad.  I have a few theories about characters and stories, but I’ll have to keep on reading to see if I am right or not.  I’d also say without a doubt that this is aimed at younger readers (early teens), but that hasn’t affected my levels of enjoyment at all.

How’s everyone else getting on with reading?

Emma

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June 15, 2016
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