April 14, 2017

Maps and Myths • The Girl of Ink & Stars

I honestly cannot remember who I heard talk about The Girl of Ink & Stars first, though I know for sure it was on YouTube. But the minute I caught a glimpse of that cover - seriously, take a minute to admire how lovely it is - I immediately added it onto my list of books to buy. I did end up purchasing it, but it sat on my TBR for ages. Thank goodness for this reading challenge because it motivated me to finally pick it up to read... and I really enjoyed it!

The Girl of Ink & Stars is about a girl named Isabella Riosse, daughter of a cartographer who longs to travel to the faraway lands her father once mapped but finds herself instead trapped on her island home under the harsh rule of the Governor. When her closest friend disappears into the Forbidden Territories, she volunteers to be a part of the search and rescue team. Armed with her mapmaking skills and stories her father told her, Isabella discovers that there's more to her journey than just finding her lost friend than she could have ever dreamed there would be.

I devoured The Girl of Ink & Stars. Hargrave's writing is engaging from the very first line - "They say the day the Governor arrived, the ravens did too." (p.3). Each successive word, phrase, sentence draws the reader deeper into Isabella's story, breathing life into the characters and the island and the legends that surround it. Though I didn't necessarily come to love any of the characters in particular, I did love the story itself. It had the feel of a myth, a legend of old, about a place that might have once existed but no longer does... or at least, it can no longer be found. It has a very simple plot, true, but because of the colorful details woven into it, Hargrave succeeds at making it extraordinary. In case you couldn't tell, I really liked The Girl of Ink & Stars. Brief though it may be at under 250 pages (288 pages in total, to be precise), it was still a story that felt finished. I'm truly happy that I finally dove into this one, and I can't wait to read more stories from Hargrave in the years to come.

(Here's a bonus observation for you: this story made me think of the Disney film Moana quite a few times. There are certainly similarities between the two - a smart, stubborn girl who lives her entire life in the confined space of an island, the discovery that the legends that were told might have a real basis, the way magic plays a big part in each of their stories. If you enjoyed Moana like I did, then you'll probably want to read this book!)

The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Publisher: Chicken House | Publication Date: May 5, 2016
Source: Paperback purchased via Book Depository
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Amazon | IndieBound

This novel was my third read for The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge! I'm really loving that this challenge is specifically helping me to actually read the books on my TBR, and I'm especially pleased that it was another book I really enjoyed. (That makes 3/3 books I loved for my PPRC reads so far.) Apart from reading one TBR book each month and reviewing it, Hannah & I are also answering a set of questions related to the month's category.

1) How long has this book been on your TBR? I believe that I've had this book on my TBR since January of 2017 (based on what I see on Goodreads), so it's actually not been on there for very long. Yay for reading books on my TBR sooner!

2) What about this book made you want to read it immediately? I was drawn to the book because of that stunning cover, but it was the premise that sealed the deal for me. I've always been fascinated by stories of mapmakers and adventure stories, and this book combined both in its story. 

3) Why did you end up waiting to read this book? I honestly think it was an 'out of sight, out of mind' sort of thing that prevented me from reading this one sooner. I hadn't properly organized my TBR at the start of the year, and only remedied that in March - which is when I realized I had this on there, and decided I needed to make it a point to read it sometime soon.


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