Book Review: The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran M Hargrave

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave“Girls can go on adventures too.” – Isabella, The Girl of Ink and Stars 

The Girl of Ink and Stars synopsis

Kiran’s Millwood Hargrave debut MG novel The Girl of Ink and Stars is one of adventure, cartography, friendship and solidarity. Isabella who lives with her Da in a village on Joya’s coast is fascinated by the stories he tells and her favourite story is of when Arintha defeats Yote. But is it just a story? When Isabella’s best friend disappears into the Forgotten Territories she joins the search party to find her with knowledge of the stars, a beloved myth and an unfinished map, she navigates the Forgotten Territories.

Isabella and Lupe

I fell instantly in love with the main character Isabella and her best friend Lupe. Their solidarity, sacrifice for each other and strong will made them both heroines to be proud of. They speak their mind and follow their instincts despite their young age. There were no bows or arrows. Just a pocket knife, a determined girl with her best friend and the skill and love of making maps. Following stars and believing in myths is what pushes this adventure to take turn after turn.

We travel through a story narrated by Isabella who demonstrates her adventurous spirit, courage, loyalty and bravery setting her apart from many of the protagonists in today’s fictional world.

The plot is simple but the words are lovingly written, lyrical and the setting reminds me of Philip Pullman’s stories I read as a child and at University. I love when friendship is front and centre in a book, this is great message to pass on to younger readers. There are monsters everywhere in the fictional world and in the real world and they can be defeated through friendship and solidarity, that is the message I take from this book.

Though it was a bittersweet ending, it wasn’t unnecessary, it was just the right amount of sad and happy. I didn’t sob for too long.