My Thoughts

I bought myself the audible version of this novel because Amazon suggested I might enjoy it after I bought The Lie Tree. Clearly their algorithms work because The Girl of Ink and Stars is a lovely story and deserves its high praise. I loved the concept, the title and even the cover. I’m a bit of a sucker for Chicken House books and they rarely disappoint. In truth, the Audible version is a little frantic and though I enjoyed it I suspect the actual book may be even better.

The novel is written in the first person and I was sucked in by the young heroine Isabella’s feisty character from the outset. A writer should always try and grab the reader with the first few sentences and Kiran Millwood Hargrave achieves this brilliantly. Something about Isabella’s distinctive voice made me immediately like her and want to know what her adventure would be.

The setting - a mysterious island with forbidden territories - is exotic and original and I willingly followed Isabella into a dark mysterious world in search of her friend. From then on the pace is frantic - almost too much so to sustain interest but just as I began to wonder about this the author skilfully wound up the thrills and tied up all the loose ends in the narrative with a satisfying and realistic ending.

The Story

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella 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.

I would imagine readers The Girl of Ink and Stars would be suitable for readers aged between about 8 and 12 and that while it will probably be predominantly girls who buy the book, boys should give it a go because they will enjoy the story just as much.