"The Child had become enmagicked. there was no doubt about it. and now things were more complicated than they had been before."
Title: The Girl Who Drank The Moon
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Age group: 9+
Brace yourself for a magical ride full or star and moonlight in Barnhill's bestselling children's book. It's been a while since a magical story has really gripped me, but this book is not only wonderfully written and full of emotion and plot twists, it also has an imaginative and new take on magic.
Start is a conspiracy in the sorrow-infested Protectorate, the town close-by an allegedly haunted forest in which an evil witch does her worst. To protect the people of the Protectorate, a baby needs to be sacrificed each year to appease the witch - who, in fact, is called Xan and doesn't murder children. She takes them and brings them to other places into families where they are loved and nurtured. To sustain the babies on their long journeys to their new families, Xan feeds them starlight - until one night she is rather absent-minded and feeds the baby the much more powerful and magical moonlight. Baby Luna - for how could she have a different name - is raised by Xan herself, who can guide her with her magic that seeps through every vein of the child. Helping Xan are a lovely bog monster called Glerk (I presume the sound wellies make when you pull them out of the bog), and a miniature dragon called Fyrian.
But Luna turns out to be a bit more of a challenge and she isn't the only trouble bubbling up. Things in the Protectorate are changing with a young man who starts questioning whether the witch really is as bad as everyone says, vowing to kill her, should she be. Also, there is a madwoman in a tower who wants to find her lost child in the woods and knows of a secret about the evil witch that will change the entire Protectorate.
Barnhill's story is full of innovation and she weaves the story skilfully together as the different perspectives intertwine and meet. Although the girl Luna struck me as a rather unlikable character who, for some reason, is beloved by everyone who meets her, it is still a story of complexity and depth and it is understandable why the author won a Newbery Medal for it and the book featured in the New York Times bestselling list. Although the targeted reading list according to Amazon is 9-11, this is a book that can enchant everybody and it brings the right amount of darkness and tragedy to the table to be taken seriously as a book of all ages.
If you're looking for more magical children's books of the likes, you can also read my reviews on Nevermoor Series: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods.
One word description: Moonstruck
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