The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: An impressive and exciting début novel filled with mystery and adventure, beautifully written, with a touching message at its core – a unique tale for lovers of fantasy and adventure.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910002742

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Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017

The Isle of Joya is a land engulfed by myth and legend – the inhabitants are forbidden to leave the island or even cross the borders of their village into the Forbidden Territories beyond their homes. Isabella Riosse is the map maker's daughter who dreams of exploring the forgotten and unmapped areas of her homeland. When her best friend Lupe, the Governor's daughter, goes missing Isabella is the only one left equipped with the right tools and knowledge to lead the search, as she ventures in to Joya's magical and mysterious regions.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave's début novel is full of adventure and wonder which she brings together with her beautifully elegant prose. As a heroine, Isabella is brave and bold and it was wonderful to read about the adventures of a heroic young girl, especially in a book targetted at young readers. Plus, she's smart and creative with regard to her ability to chart maps – something that Millwood Hargrave masterfully crafts into the story. The land of Joya and the lives of its inhabitants give the feeling of reading a dystopian novel – the village of Gromera is under the control of the Governor, a man who came to Joya from a foreign land and closed off Isabella's village from the rest of the island. Naturally this makes our heroine curious as to why these limitations are enforced, so when she goes in search of her friend Lupe beyond her village walls, the repressed history of her home suddenly emerges.

I always applaud writers who build a fictional world complete with a history and legendary tales, since it truly shows their creative potential. Millwood Hargrave creates some wonderful mythology, including fantastical tales of female adventurers which complement the central story very well. Adding such detail and descriptions made the novel feel especially fun and different to any other children's fiction I've read for a long time – it felt fresh, colourful, and would appeal to any young fans of adventure and fantasy.

The Girl of Ink and Stars is a mythical, magical story with a realistic undertone. The friendship between Isabella and Lupe is fierce and amongst all the mythology their relationship lies truly at the centre of the plot. The story is ultimately a tale of friendship and sacrifice and amongst Isabella and Lupe's lovely relationship you have the wonderful descriptions of Joya and the history of the island. I'll admit, the ending was beautifully crafted and I found it to be much deeper and more emotional than I initially thought, but the story truly showed the strength within human relationships. Effectively, while an exciting and entertaining read there is a much deeper message at heart which is actually rather touching.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

As a début novel The Girl of Ink and Stars is a unique and clever read, but for any further reading that may deliver the adventure and magic of this story I would recommend The Alchemist and the Angel by Joanne Owen.

Buy The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave at Amazon.com.


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