When you pick up a fantasy book, you may think, “ugh, another book about the typical fantasy story.” This is what most people assume after reading countless books with the same type of characters, plot, and setting. The Girl Who Drank The Moon is different. Written by Kelly Barnhill, the unique introduction, plot, setting, and characters wrap a magical enchantment around anyone who reads the book. Be ready to be sucked into the world of the Protectorate where every kind of magic is possible. Chapter One, "In Which A Story Is Told," is where the adventure starts, an adventure unlike any other you have ever seen.
Every person who lives in the Protectorate believes and agrees on one thing: a murdering evil witch lives in the woods. This witch steals babies away from families, leaving them in sorrow and misery. That’s not at all. The witch who lives in the woods, Xan, is a wise, elderly, and kind woman who was born magical. She lives with some friendly magical creatures, a dragon named Fyrian, and a magical sea creature named Glerk. She never knew the baby that was put under the tree every year was only offered to her because they were scared of her; Xan had thought that they just offered these babies because they were unwanted. She would raise them to an appropriate age, then she would give these children to the other side of the forest, the Free Cities. Now, the Free Cities were safe and happy cities, unlike the mixed up Protectorate. The families of the Free Cities were ever so grateful for the witch and thought her a kind and compassionate witch. One year, Xan was “offered” an ordinary baby. This baby’s mother, once the baby is taken away, goes mad. The mother is locked up in a tower, and not allowed outside. When Xan arrives safely back at her house, she makes a mistake she had never made before: feeding this baby moonlight, instead of starlight, turning this baby from an ordinary baby to an extraordinary one. She decides she has to raise this magical child herself. She names the baby Luna, and begins on her journey to raise her.
Luna grows as fast as a baby could grow. First she's three, then six, then seven, nine, twelve. Meanwhile, in the Protectorate, crazy things are happening. A young man by the name of Antain has announced that he will kill the witch, or die trying. That’s not the only crazy thing that the author decided to add. A volcano, dormant for centuries, has decided to plot some revenge. Filled with chapters of excitement, adventure, and magic, this book perfectly describes the unique story of the most unique characters, in the most enchanting setting.
Even though the book has many great elements, it also has some faults. After reading the book, I felt like the content was just a bit overloaded. I tried to summarize it, but I couldn’t summarize it without reading the whole book. The order of events was confusing, and it was an easy mistake to mix up the events and switch parts around. I also want to know how Luna’s mother, at the end, suddenly became normal. That aspect was kind of confusing to understand. The book’s brilliance outshines the faults though, and not just marginally but significantly. This book is highly recommended not to just a few types of readers, but all readers. The enchantment is just too strong to hold back, and before you know it, the book will mesmerize you, and you’ll never forget the magical feeling the book gives you.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Algonquin Young Readers, 2019. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!