Review: 'The Girl of Ink and Stars' by Kiran Hargrave

This book may have been awarded the prestigious Waterstone's Children's Book of the Year (2017) but it is certainly not just a children's story. 

It's the story of thirteen-year-old Isabella, or Isa, who dreams of the world beyond her own city where she and her people are confined by the cruel Governor. She is the daughter of the cartographer and her father has taught her about map making and the maps he has made himself; so, naturally exploring is in her blood. 

Strange things begin to happen and when her best friend, Lupe, goes missing and her father is imprisoned Isa must go on the adventure of her life using her mapping skills along the way. She journeys to the Forbidden Lands to find her friend and discovers the secrets of Joya, and I was desperate to discover them with her.

What starts off as a quest to find her friend and free her father turns into her following her maps, her heart and an ancient myth in order to save the island. Isa is young but she is brave, strong and fearless. She will do anything to save those she loves.

The cover of the book is beautiful, and the pages inside are decorated with gorgeous little maps and drawings, but the writing is also beautiful. It's lyrical and the story is enchanting and mystical. The story is steeped in legend and it feels like you have entered some parallel mystical world, it reminded me of Philip Pullman's alternative world in the series His Dark Materials. 

The characters feel realistic and creative, and the crazy chicken Miss La adds a touch of humour to the story. The world that Hargrave creates is enough to draw anyone in.

I'd recommend reading The Girl of Ink and Stars, it's a quick read with a good story. It's a tale of family, friendship, and adventure that is hard not to fall in love with. A book that may be aimed at children but readers of all ages will be able to take something from it.

As always, 

Love, Lauren x