The Girl Who Drank the Moon
One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge--with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth’s surface. And the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl . . .
THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON is a simply stunning and magically lyrical story. The book follows many points-of-view in fairytale-like prose with memorable and beautifully crafted characters. The people of the Protectorate live under a smog of sorrow, generated in no small part by the annual sacrifice they must make to the Witch who lives in the dangerous forest. The youngest child must be left in a circle of trees for the witch to do with as she wishes- or else she will destroy the town. This is what the people know and what they must do.
What they do not know is that Xan is the witch who gathers these infants who seem to be abandoned. She feeds them starlight and takes them to the Free People where they are adopted and loved. Xan certainly would not demand they leave them there, and she does not wish to do harm to anyone. One year, a child with a birthmark like a moon on her forehead is left. Xan feeds the baby starlight, but the moon is full, and she accidently feeds the baby from the moon and enmagics the girl. She adopts her and names her Luna.
Luna’s mother had fought the Elders when they took her baby, and she lives in the tower of the Sisters. Antain, the boy who was training to be one of the Elders, had his life forever altered when he took the infant Luna from her mother. We follow his story as he questions and ages and eventually wants to hunt the witch to stop the sacrifices.
With elegant prose and poetic style, this book is hauntingly beautiful. Adding to that the characters, the effect is simply enchanting. Luna grows up with Xan, Glerk the Bog Monster, and Fyrian, the perfectly tiny dragon who believes himself to be Simply Enormous after his mother had said he would be. Each character could have their own story, and together, the pages are filled to the brim with fascinating stories.
The overarching messages include those about authority, love, sorrow, and hope, resulting in a fantastic middle grade novel that can appeal to all ages. Although dark at times, it is also funny and charming. I highly recommend for anyone who loves fairytales, magical realism, and beautiful stories of any age.