#20BooksOfSummer 19: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

#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 girl who drank the moon
Cover design: Yuta Onoda

This book was recommended to me after chatting with one of the booksellers in Mostly Books, Abingdon and I get the reasoning. It’s an upper MG book with flavours of YA Fantasy through magic and dragons and such which sounds like a perfect recommendation.

It has flavours of Willow without the battles and classic Fantasy with a Coming Of Age subplot which is really exciting, but I’m still not quite 100% sure of how I feel about it.

Moon Magic
Coming of Age

Every Year on the Day Of Sacrifice the youngest child in the Protectorate is carried into the woods as an offering to the Witch who shall not destroy the town for another year.

Every Year on the Day Of The Star Child, the people of a sorrowful town in the Bog leave an infant outside the town to die of exposure which the Witch refuses to allow to happen so she rescues each child and travels to the happy kinder cities on the other side of the Woods and finds the perfect family to adopt the child whom has been fed starlight on the journey and becomes a fortunate and blessed person.

But one year it all goes a bit wrong. A young trainee Elder isn’t happy about the Sacrifice and questions it as taking the baby has already driven its mother mad. The Witch Xan turns up a little late and is distracted by the wonder of the girl so much she accidentally feeds Luna moonlight making her magical.

Deciding to keep her but soon a magical 5 year old is too much to handle so Xan places a spell on Luna that will lock her magic away until she is 13, but it has cursed too as Luna can not learn nor hear about magic without zoning out and as Luna magic grows so Xan’s life will cease.

Equally in the Protectorate questions are being raised over the Sacrifice leading to one day when everyone is in the woods trying to do the ‘right thing’.

And the air smelled of milk and sweat and baking bread. Then sharp spice and skinned knees and damp hair. Then working muscles and soapy skin and clear mountain pools. And something else, too. A dark, strange, earthy smell.
And Luna cried out just once.

The writing is beautifully lyrical, fans of Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Sophie Anderson will enjoy the poetic style of Kelly Barnhill who writes with gorgeous word choices and a flow that spins and sparkles like a babbling brook.

Reading it is delightful as is the youthful celebration of Luna and her tiny dragon Fyrion, but alas it is a Coming Of Age novel and as Luna becomes more magical the writing becomes tighter and less exuberant, we feel the Sorrow Of The other characters as we are exposed to the shift from child to teen, from mundane to magical which is very clever writing.

There is also a very clever villain which I cannot writing without spoilers but it is extremely clever in formation and execution.

However, I wanted something more in the magic and wonder even when Lima’s magic returned, I wanted more talking to animals and footsteps of flowers wherever she goes, I wanted to see more of how the magic worked other than mostly scrying and youthful jubilant accidents. I felt a little missing of the magic in a book about magic I suppose.

It was still an enjoyable and lyrical read, and excellent Fantasy plotting, but just not sure if it’s the style of Fantasy or if it’s me.

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill is published in the UK by Piccadilly Press.

8 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 19: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

  1. Oh I really must read this, I’ve been on the fence for ages but I think you’ve finally just tipped the balance and I’ll need to track it down! It sounds so interesting and I love a good villain so that’s very intriguing!
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is I’m still puzzled by how I feel, I enjoyed it and then I felt I wanted more, it’s puzzling but yes it’s beautiful and tightly planned writing overall Barnhill has constructed a fabulous plot here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved this, I’m sorry it didn’t quite hit the mark for you. I can see why though from what you say. The plotting is great though isn’t it? And of course I liked its slightly darker parts!

    Liked by 1 person

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