Friday, March 3, 2017

Review - The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Series: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Purchased
Age Group: Middle Grade (Recommended for everyone)
Ebook- 368

Rating: 5/5

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

This story was absolutely delightful. After hearing this book won the Newberry Award Medal, it was on my radar, but I picked it up without knowing much more about it.

The writing was beautiful and brilliant. The pacing is fast but manageable. I was hooked from the beginning and quickly breezed through the first half of the book without putting it down. Barnhill created a solid fantasy for kids without writing down for kids or oversimplifying the story. The story touches on mental health, grief, politics, corruption, adoption as well as truth and memory. Luna's story is right on the cusp between a children's story and middle-grade, but it was delightful to read as an adult too. It is touching and I enjoyed the story very very much

From the first chapter this story was a surprise. The character are morally grey. No one is totally good or evil. Each character has redeeming qualities and pitfalls to grapple with. I loved how Barnhill set up the story and how each perspective had something essential to add. Not only are the characters morally grey, so is the magic and how people view it. I really enjoyed how people and events were examined from many different points of view.

While the book was for kids, it wasn't written down to young audiences. The author didn't avoid complex subjects and included tough subjects that I've seen others skip over. This was excellent.


  1. Great review! I’m on a waiting list for this book. I’ve heard so many good things about it, so I’m glad you liked it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I hope you enjoy it when its your turn! :)