The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
|The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Amy Etherington|
|Summary: A young girl holds the powerful magic of the moon inside of her, and she doesn't even know it. When her magic ripens on her thirteenth birthday she must use it save the world she knows and loves. It's a bit of a slow burner, but ultimately an endearing and magical tale.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: August 2017|
|Publisher: Piccadilly Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Every year the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest, in the hope that this sacrifice will keep their town safe. Little do they know that the witch, Xan, is a kind soul who rescues the children and finds them new homes with families on the other side of the forest. She feeds the babies on starlight to keep them nourished throughout their journey, but one year she accidently feeds a baby moonlight which fills the child with a powerful magic. Xan names the baby Luna and realises she must raise this magical child as her own, locking away her magical abilities until her thirteenth birthday. But as the day approaches where Luna's magic will emerge, she will have to learn to protect the safe and loving world she has always known.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is ripe with elements from the fairy tales of old. It all at once feels familiar and comforting as you read the story of an abandoned baby raised in the woods by a witch. It's complete with dragons and swamp monsters and a threatening underbelly of unrest bubbling beneath the surface. It's a fun story with an almost nostalgic feel to it, but it's also new and exciting. It has all the ingredients of a traditional fairy tale, but one that's been shaken up – a witch who is kind, a swamp creature who talks and loves poetry, and a dragon who is much smaller than his traditional counterparts. It's a fairy tale, but not as you know it.
The atmosphere throughout is amazing – it's gloomy and moody and feels more like a real world with elements of magical realism as opposed to a fantasy world. The story itself is split between Xan and Luna's lives in the forest and the sorrowful village where a young member of the Protectorate named Antain questions the traditions of their society. Parts of the story focus on deep ideas concerning society, the abuse of power in places of authority and such, but it's done in an accessible way. Plus, it's contrasted by the strong relationships between the characters, in particular Xan and Luna. Their mother-daughter relationship was so endearing and it was their first interaction which swept me in to the story.
However, it isn't without fault. Although marketed as a middle grade book, it did at times feel a little complicated for so young a target audience. It's emotional and heart-warming, but it comes across as occasionally a bit complex for a children's book. I think this comes down to the writing style and the multiple narrative points of view because I did get confused from time to time. It's a slow burner and I do think the book could have been cut by a hundred pages or so, but it was a pleasurable reading experience overall. A recommended read for anyone looking for a heartfelt story with magic at its core.
If this book sounds like it might interest you and you would like another story filled with magic then I'd recommend checking out Fire Spell by Laura Amy Schlitz.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill at Amazon.com.
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