The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

My Rating: ♥♥♥ (3/5)

I was really excited to read this ever since Beth reviewed it. I was not disappointed, well…


Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped. When her best friend disappears, she’s determined to be part of the search party. Guided by an ancient map and her knowledge of the stars, Isabella navigates the island’s dangerous Forgotten Territories. But beneath the dry rivers and dead forests, a fiery myth is stirring from it’s sleep.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It took me back to when I used to read loads of pre-teen novels. The storyline was beautifully simple, yet intriguing as were the characters. The basic words and structure of sentences throughout the book made it a really relaxing read and I loved the “poeticness” (is that a word?) that was weaved all through the novel.

Although I enjoyed all these positive elements, there were a few things that stopped me from giving it 5/5.

While reading, there were some points in the book that were too fast paced for my liking. The action and suspense were slowly being rolled out, then suddenly the next line would reveal the outcome. You think it would be more gradual by the way it was written but it was so sudden with revealing key plot twists it got quite confusing at some points. I found myself going back to re-read the exciting parts just to reaffirm what I’d read was right.

I think the character development was great. You really got to see all of their strengths and weaknesses and by the end, you could see through each character as easy as you can see the stars on a clear night.

But the way it was written was so convincing, it was almost begging you to believe what was happening and I found that actually, parts of it were quite unrealistic. For example, some of the things they go through. Would a 13-year-old girl really have that much strength and will-power to go through all those things when it was her first time in the Forbidden Territories, her first time on an adventure? How would she know how to cope?

When I read it, I tried to relate to Isabella, to put myself in her shoes but I just couldn’t do it. This girl is one brave and fearless character, and I just couldn’t imagine going through the things she did..! (and I’m 2 years older!)

I mean, these weren’t ordinary things that were happening, they were horrific – she would have been scarred for life, traumatised! Yet next minute she’s swimming in the sea, Oh the joy!  I was just a little confused and it happens more than once in the book. Maybe Hargrave designed Isabella to be extra tough and able to cope with disturbing situations.

I just don’t think that Isabella was emotional in the right places.

I think I’m being picky now, and I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this book because it’s great despite these things that annoyed me a bit.

But if you can overlook these things I pointed out, you can enjoy this novel. It’s short, sweet and full of beautiful flaws that have encouraged me to be more confident in becoming a writer.

They say the day the governor arrived, the ravens did too. All the smaller birds flew backwards into the sea, and that is why there are no songbirds on Joya.

The first 2 sentences from

The Girl of Ink and Stars

Phew! That took a long time to write. Sorry for the slight rant – I just really wanted to get that out…Hehe. (^ _ ^;)

Hannah ♥

~ The World is Quiet Here ~