The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Before we get started, can we just pause for a moment and admire the case of this gorgeous book?
Here it is on my bookshelf. Note the spine. Don't you just love the tiny dragon image? Then there's the richly detailed cover art, which perfectly captures the magic of the story and invites readers inside.
Ready? Now prepare to take an astounding adventure.
Step with me into the pages of The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Barnhill creates magic.
"In Which a Story is Told" introduces readers to the storyteller, who spins a tale to a fretful child. "Of course this is a true story. Haven't you been listening?"
It all begins when the witch rescues an infant, accidentally feeding her moonlight which enmagicks the baby. The child's growing powers of magic have a profound effect on the world.
The ensuing narrative consists of intricately interwoven threads following a witch, a bereft mother, a monster, a tiny dragon, a young man on a mission, the enigmatic leader of the Sisters of the Star, and a girl named Luna.
Each travels a path which eventually leads to the forest where their fortunes come together in a most dramatic way.
Consider these examples:
Xan, the witch
"Sorrow is dangerous. Or, at least, it was. I can't remember why, now. I think we both became accustomed to not remembering things. We just let things get...foggy."
Glerk, the monster,
"As the Poet says, 'Oh, ever changéd Earth -'"
Fyrian, a tiny dragon
"I love foolish things. And clever things. I love all the things."
Antain, the nephew
"What if we are wrong about the Witch?"
Sister Ignatia, of The Sisters of the Star
"Oh, sweet Antain! There is no cure for sorrow."
Madwoman of the Tower
She is here, in the heart of the robin.
She is here, in the heart of the crane.
She is here, she is here, she is here, in the hearts of a falcon and a kingfisher and a swan.
The prose shines with Barnhill's sparkling writing. Examples of her signature style include the use of a conversation tone "Moonlight is magic. Ask anyone you like", her clever turn-of-phrase "It was the first lie she ever told. Even though her words were true" and a concluding statement followed by a contradiction "They thought she was gone forever. They were wrong, of course."
Story construction brilliantly leads the reader through the multiple story lines and results in a conclusion which is at times surprising, always logical, and ultimately satisfying.
Readers will be enmagicked.
Infinite, Luna thought. The way the universe is infinite. It is light and dark and endless motion; it is space and time, and space within space, and time within time. And she knew: there is no limit to wha the heart can carry."