The Girl of Ink & Stars by Karen Millwood Hargrave. Review 

‘And the wolves? The deer?’ 

Da’s face would darken. ‘Seems the sea was better than what they were running from.’ 

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Karen Millwood Hargrave is winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and it’s easy to see why. 

Beautifully written and engrossing, we are drawn into the world of Isabella, daughter of a cartographer and living in the tiny village on the island of Joya which is cut off from not only the rest of the world but the rest of their island after a controlling governor moves in and prevents them from leaving. 

Isa loves the maps her father creates and while he dreams of boarding a ship to begin exploring the rest of the world again, Isa secretly dreams of mapping the rest of the island which is cut off from their small village. 


Despite being a short book, the world building is very effective. The world of the book is very similar to our own, Europe becomes Europa, China is Chine, America is Amrica etc. 

Isa is a passionate and worthy heroine, only 13 years old but caring and considerate of others, fiercely loyal to those she loves and strong in her views of how the world should be. 


Despite technically being a children’s book, this novel is equally interesting to adult readers who love folklore and fairytale retellings, although it is not a retelling as such it does have elements of myth and legend and it proves an engrossing read which is suitable for adults and children alike. 

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