This was the second (and only) book that I read during the #SundayYAthon challenge. I have been wanting to read this book for quite a while! Decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to get stuck into it. I was not disappointed. Such a wonderful adventure book. Here is my book review of The Girl of Ink & Stars!
The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
“They say the day the Governor arrived, the ravens did too.”
The story follows a young girl called Isabella. Being the daughter of a cartographer, she longs for exploration and adventure. Her house is filled with many beautiful maps that her father has created of the the lands of Europe, Amrica and Afric. But Isabella longs to go beyond the Forbidden Forest to explore her Island – Joya – and try to finish her fathers maps and discovery the mysteries that hide out of sight. Going beyond the border though is against the rules the Governor has set for the people of her village. No one is allowed to leave, no one is allowed to travel on the sea. It is said that he is the reason why no birds sing anymore. Since the governor arrived, so to did the ravens.
Despite the governor being a man of law and hate, his daughter Lupe is best friends with Isabella. They have been friends ever since they arrived in Gromera (her village.) People find the relationship odd but they do not care. One day they found out some terrible news that shook up the entire village. Even though Lupe is the governor’s daughter, he does not tell her anything that goes on in the village or the outer world. It is because of this lack of understanding that causes Lupe and Isabella to have a heated argument and for Isabella to walk away from her.
Isabella feels terrible about this argument, but it only gets worse. Lupe goes missing. Isabella feels like it is her fault that she has left. She will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means travelling beyond the Forbidden Forest. With the knowledge that her father has taught her about navigating by the stars and reading maps, she finds her fathers cartography equipment and sets out to find her friend. Isabella joins up with a search party in order to accomplish this. But things are not as they seem outside the borders of Gromera. Darkness lingers, strange creatures roam, and a myth her father told Isabella may be true. Isabella must be brave to find her best friend!
This was such a wonderful book to read. It is primarily about friendship and family which I always find super heartwarming. The love that Isabella shows for her Da is amazing. I love how Isabella adores cartography because of her Da and that is obviously a bond that holds them strong through hardships and sad times. Isabella is also so loving towards Lupe and that relationship is adorable. She is willing to risk her life to find her best friend! I also really think that Lupe is a wonderful character as well, albeit a little reckless (although I do enjoy my reckless characters in books!) The fact that Lupe and Isabella come from completely different backgrounds but are still best friends is so beautiful. They are both just completely different in their own way. Lupe being the reckless and fearless one while Isabella is a bit more thoughtful with her actions but is not afraid. Isabella is so utterly brave throughout the entire story, from past tragedy with her family to trying to find her best friend with the odds against her.
I really enjoyed the pacing Hargrave has created for this book. It did not slow and with every page turn I was wanting to read more. I NEEDED to know what was going to happen next. Completely thrilling! I went through so many emotions while reading as well. If a book is able to bring out a tear, then it is a bloody great book! The characters in the book are also so diverse and different and I love that. I loved how each of them grew throughout the story. A plot filled with mystery and intrigue and longing. I LONG to know more about the world of Joya. And I long to know what happens next for Isabella and her Da.
Side-note: It was also super satisfying reading a book that the pages were all so beautifully illustrated with such gorgeous artwork!
Flails out of 5
The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave gets a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars. Amazing plot, stunning characters and a world I am just eager to know more about!