Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Kiran Millwood Hargrave - The Girl of Ink & Stars - Book Review

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her cartographer father once mapped. When her friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. The world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland - and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

Search the stars to find your dreams...  
Map the skies to find your way...
Three years ago this story was a seed which has now been recently born into this world. With an initial working title of "The Cartographer's Daughter",  the book has since evolved into " The Girl of Ink & Stars" and will hit the shops at the start of May 2016.

The book has come a long way as it has blossomed into twenty nine exciting chapters. All of which have been sumptuously decorated with detailed images and map graphical references. In fact the whole book has been very well designed by the team at Chicken House. They have produced a reading experience that you will really enjoy and savour. 

The book is told in a simple, but engaging way. The first two chapters, for me, dictated the pace of how I wanted to read the story. It magically draws you into the characters and the setting which, even though it is an island, is actually a character in it's own right. I wanted to take the details in slowly in order to breath and see through the eyes of the characters. I did just that as I escaped to the Isle of Joya with Isabella in a heady mix of adventure, magic and friendship. 

When Isabella's closest friend disappears into the Forgotten Territories, I found myself heading into a world of danger and intrigue.  It is a place full of mythical adventure and vivid monsters with sharp teeth. They will soon have you running for cover, as quick as ink running from a pen. The journey soon becomes mapped out, both literally and figuratively, from the smoking mountains to the bleak wastelands with a legendary fire demon slowly stirring from slumber to terrorise once again. Will you have the courage to carry on?

This is a great classic adventure inspired by the author's trips to the Spanish Island of La Gomera. Kiran has infused the plot with the golden age of map making which is particularly interesting and really enhances the plot. However, I wanted the story to be longer and have more twists and turns. I found myself galloping through this book in no time and really wanted to savour more of it. You will probably be able to read this book in one sitting, which could be a good or a bad sign. I'll let you decide.  

This is a really enjoyable debut book that has been artistically told. It has been well written with a gutsy heroine whom you will soon come to love. The story is a voyage of discovery and is full of wild adventure. It has a dramatic ending in order to try and save the island and it's people.  This is a very immersive story which is well supported by a fantastic backdrop and some mild violence suitable for 10+. Written full of energy and non stop action, this is a book for anyone who loves a good story at heart.  Read Chapter One Here 

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