Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Book Review Club - The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Kelly Barnkhill
Middle grade

You know those books that make you feel like a kid again and full to bursting with all that could be? That's The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Luck seems to be smiling on me because the last couple of months I've stumbled across some incredibly delicious middle grade novels, and this is yet another one.

Basic premise: Oh gees, where to start...there are a number of intertwined storylines in this book. One focuses on Luna, who is abandoned in the woods, found by a witch, and instead of being taken to a family, raised by said witch. Don't worry, she's a Glinda, not a Wicked, although Xan is over five hundred years old. She accidentally turns Luna into a new witch by letting the baby drink moonlight. And that's when the magic starts.

Luna's mother is locked up for defying the Elders, who would sacrifice her child. Antain, nephew of one of the Elders who started the child sacrifice tradition to keep the people of the Protectorate in line, breaks with the Elders and becomes a carpenter instead, then later a father, whose child is to be sacrificed. All the while, Xan, together with a friendly Swamp Monster, Glerk, and dragon, Fyrian, work to raise Luna, who leaks magic onto everything and changes it. All of the story lines wind tighter and tighter around each other until they knot and then literally explode with the volcano underneath the woods. Did I mention there are paper birds that are enmagicked?

It's so much imagination to keep a reader riveted, and yet, I drank this book slowly, to savor all there is to discover. The one part I found slightly confusing is that many chapters begin with an unknown narrator telling a child a part of a story. I never could quite figure out who the narrator was. At one point, I thought it was Luna, looking back, but it wasn't entirely clear to me. I'm not sure if it was meant to remain uncertain and a little confusing, but that was the lasting effect for me.

Otherwise, I found this to be a nearly flawless weave of imagination into story. While there may be other flaws that other reviewers would find, the end effect was deep satisfaction, as if I'd finally found the kind of chocolate cake that actually leaves you feeling pleasantly full.

For other great reads this pumpkin season, roll on over to Barrie Summy's website. She's harvesting a bumper crop!