This a a nicely written, very interesting book by Kiran Hargrave. It centres around a young girl named Isabella who lives in a small village on the isolated island of Joya. When Isa’s best friend, the Governor’s daughter goes missing, she joins the treacherous search party disguised as a boy, to help find her. Isabella must guide the party with an unfinished map through the mysterious uncharted Forgotten Territories to find her friend, before something else finds her first.
I really enjoyed the writing style of the novel, especially the names of the different counties like Ægypt and Afrik, and I think the history of Joya and the legends and stories told throughout the book makes it more enjoyable to read. Although it is slow to get into, and parts of the middle can drag a bit, The Girl of Ink and Stars is a very original story with simple but lovely characters and an interesting plot.
I really like Isabella’s character, she’s not whiny or annoying and she has a very likable personality that you can relate to. When she has an argument during the first bit of the book, you can actually understand why she’s mad and agree with what she’s saying unlike a lot of other books where characters fight for the sake of the plot. Hargrave could have easily made up a reason for the fight, but instead let the characters and the setting develop first so it doesn’t seem rushed. The governor’s daughter Lupe also is a very good character when we see her, and it’s nice in a book when the characters actually have flaws and continue them throughout the story so that when a character is bad at something they stay bad at it, which is another thing I really appreciate.
There are also a lot more twists than I expected when I started reading and the ending is far from predictable, mainly because the focus of the story changes quite a lot. Sometimes it’s a bit distracting when so many things happen during a short amount of time and there’s 3 things that we’re supposed to be thinking or worrying about and so that can aspect be quite confusing but all in all, it’s a very good read and I definitely recommend it.