Book Review - The Girl of Ink and Stars by Millwood Hargrave
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Hargrave is about a cartographers daughter, her incredible journey past the territories of her island, and so much more! 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.
The story starts off with Isabella, who is the Cartographers, Daughter. They live on the island of Joya: a mysterious place with legends of its own. For the past thirty years, the small town in the Island has been ruled by the Governor, who restricts anybody travelling beyond the town boundaries.
Isabella is fascinated by their history and myths, constantly wanting to hear stories of what it was like outside the boundaries. She wants yearns for adventure outside her once roaming island. Isabella has grown with stories from her dad about a place he once mapped, when there were no boundaries, such as India.
So, when her friend, Lupe, the Governer’s daughter runs away into the depths of the forbidden forest, she seizes the opportunity. Disguised as a boy, she takes up the role of the chief navigator, using a half complete map of the forest. So, with the opportunity, she plunges herself into the unknown forest where monsters run wild and the rivers flow wild. Hoping that the myths she heard as a child prove themselves true, for her sake and the rest of the islands…
The Girl of Ink and Stars is definitely one of the best books I have read. I love the idea of there being an island that is off boundaries. In one of the stories Isa’s Dad mentions to her about a place called India; this suggests that it took place in a post-apocalyptic world. This book is definitely not a mystery but it still keeps you wondering. At first, the introduction of the book is a bit of a drag, building up to the main plot, but then you realise that it is good to have background knowledge. I feel that if she would have rushed the intro, you would not have had many ideas about the main plot.
At first, it was very difficult to get involved with the story because the main motif for the characters changed quickly, and due to that reading, the main story was a bit of a task. Other than that, I enjoyed the book which combines, myth , mystery and magic!
My favourite character in this story is the main protagonist Isabella, as she has traits that everyone can relate to. And at the beginning of the story, she makes a mistake which was crucial for the plot to progress. I really appreciate the way in which the author sets up the initial plot like the part of the story where Isabella commits a mistake which not only helps the plot to progress but sets up the crux of the story as well !
“Each of us carries the map of our lives on our skin, in the way we walk, even in the way we grow.”
The line above carries such great importance throughout the story. It not only relates to the plot, as in her being a cartographer’s daughter, but it has metaphorical sense too. And I feel, that throughout the book you get to discover that. I feel no exaggeration in saying that this book is one of those things that can really affect you. An absolute unforgettable read!
I would recommend this book for readers between the ages of 11 and 15; great for both primary and secondary school. This book is the following genres: Young Adult, Adventure, Fiction, Children’s, and Fantasy.
Overall, I would rate The Girl of Ink and Stars a five out of five as the book is an amazing combination of myth, magic and mystery!
About the Author
Kiran Millwood Hargrave is an English, award-winning novelist, poet and playwriter. She is represented by Kirby Kim and Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit. Kiran is currently living in Oxford with her husband, artist Tom de Freston, and their cat, Luna. Some of her works include books like, “The Island at the End of Everything”, “Deathless Girls”, “A secret of Blood and Bone” and “The Way Past Winter”all of which have won several book awards .
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I would recommend this book for readers between the ages of 11 and above, as the main points of focus in this book revolve around gruesome fairy tales and there is a lot of description of blood and teeth. although this sounds like a gruesome book, it is beautiful in its own way and I would not be truthful if I didn’t say it was one of my favourite reads of all time!