#20BooksOfSummer 9: The Girl Of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 3rd June until 3rd September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.

Here is my joining post & List!

Book cover for The Girl Of Ink and Stars
Cover Design by Helen Crawford-White

This is not my first Kiran Millwood Hargrave book, I chose The Way Past Winter as (one of) my 2018 Jolabokaflod book and devoured the book quickly adoring Kiran’s poetic and lyrical way with words and the weaving of mythology and magic with the mundane in a fantastical ‘not quite’ our world setting inspired me to want to read more and this tale of a cartographer’s daughter inspired me from the title alone.

Island
Map Making
Friendship
Courage
Righting Wrongs

The birds flew into the sea the day the Governor came, the village ruled by fear of the Daedala prison beneath the rock and put on lockdown with Isa’s father no longer allowed to journey to make maps and no one permitted to leave the village boundary through the woods.

When a girl is killed after being sent to pick fruit for Lupe the Governor’s spoilt but kind-hearted daughter, Isa is angry at her friend and scathingly unleashes some Home truths about her father’s impact on the community.

Lupe ventures into the woods to find the culprit and prove Isa wrong. This prompts Isa to pose as a boy and join the expedition in place of her father (who is not physically capable) as navigator to recover Lupe but this rescue party reveals secrets about the island, some uncomfortable truths and how current events on the island may be linked to an ancient legend.

We had never argued before and Lupe’s eyes were bright, but I didn’t care. I felt threaded through with rage, as though if I could keep talking, keep hurting Lupe, I would hurt less myself.

This is Kiran’s debut and it is a beautiful, imaginative and deeply wonderful book, though if I’m truthful, I can see much growth Kiran has achieved between this book and The Way Past Winter.

Now this isn’t a criticism or shady in any way it’s a great book but also pretty amazing to see where such a talent started, and it’s not a disappointment to know that there is even more wonderful writing yet to be drawn from this beautiful mind and I’m thankful that Chicken House saw the potential in this author.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, look, I stayed up til early hours to finish it I was so gripped, but there are a few points where fissures of feelings were left hanging or the opportunity to do more than prodding for greater understanding or say the repetition of sudden loss of consciousness as a device to help time jump in the plot but they are not dealbreakers by any means.

The Cartographer’s Daughter
This book was published as The Cartographer’s Daughter in the US.

I really enjoyed the quest side of the novel, as they venture into the Forbidden areas of the island, the scenes set at night within these sections were especially atmospheric and gripping.

I adored the imaginative side of the story where Kiran has taken a natural event and spun a fantastical tale by writing from a different knowledge; plunging science and mythology into each other with echoes of Disney’s Moana but navigating the land rather than the ocean. The science and art of cartography is explored throughout too in loving detail which adds a beautiful flavour throughout along with the sense of urgency to find Lupe.

This is a great book I would recommend for those who like an earthy, mythical flavour to their fantasy and I would consider the audiobook for Littlefae as it’s the kind of story that will inspire her and I especially love that Millwood-Hargrave is not the kind of author to shy away from the sad and un-Disney and bravely making emotional choices in writing.

The Girl Of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave is published in the UK by Chicken House and as The Cartographer’s Daughter by Knopf Publishing in the US.

7 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 9: The Girl Of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

  1. I’m really glad you enjoyed this more than I did! Since you’ve read both, do you think I’d maybe like the Way Past Winter? I really quiye like the sound of it, but after not loving this or the Island at the End of Everything I’m a bit wary of picking it up!
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kiran has made some incredible growth as a writer but also in character development and intricacy of plot between this and The Way Past Winter- if you liked Michelle Harrison’s A Pinch Of Magic you will like The Way Past Winter there’s a similar group of sisters relationship centring on the middle child. It’s magical and mythical with transforming magic and breathtaking journeys- I enjoyed this but I loved The Way Past Winter Kiran has really hit her stride in that book.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I very much enjoyed A Pinch of Magic so I think I’ll give it a try- I recently discovered my library had ordered it in on the sly which is why I’ve been thinking about it 😂 (I don’t know at all how they got it past me, I stalk upcoming releases to a tragic level!!). And speaking of Michelle, how did you get on with One Wish? 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    3. My coffee arrived, I picked up the book and my dad walked in saying they had jumped him to the front of the queue because it was only one tire that needed Changing which took less than 5 minutes to do!!! I’m hoping that Littlefae chooses wisely for the next book!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting to see you note the growth between these 2 books, as I didn’t love The Way Past Winter the way I loved this. I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel it had the same ‘something’ this did. I’d be interested to re-read it now and see if I still felt that. Glad you enjoyed it anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that The Way Past Winter had an earthy, mythy, folksy witchier tone to it than this which is why it lit up my heart like a small child pressing all the elevator buttons in a skyscraper.
      This has got something very special about it which is why it wasn’t as big a difference to read as say Dreamsnatcher was after Rumblestar but you can see growth in depth of voice, I want to say flavour but I think that may be a bit eccentric!!

      Liked by 1 person

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