Though The Girl Who Drank The Moon is apparently for youngsters, there’s a lot in here that olds will love too.
On the edge of a forest, villagers leave a baby each year as an offering to the witch they’ve grown up terrified of. As far as they’re concerned, by giving up the baby’s life, they’ll be safeguarding their own for another year. Meanwhile, the perplexed witch hurries to collect the abandoned babies, nourishing them with starlight until she can find them loving families on the other side of the forest. But one year, she accidentally feeds the child moonlight, which everyone knows is full of magic, and so keeps the child for herself. And as Luna grows, back in the village one determined young man has decided that it’s time to put an end to the baby sacrificing for once and for all, by killing the witch.
A beautiful little story about the nature of power and the lies we tell ourselves, there was a lot of wonder contained within its pages. I loved Xan, the witch, and her sidekicks the Swamp Monster and the Perfectly Tiny Dragon, and I enjoyed how the magic worked which felt perfectly fairytale-like. I was pleased to find that there was also a surprising amount of emotional heft to the story, with the magic being equalled by the sorrow that permeated its pages and with Luna’s grieving mother being one of the more powerful characters in the story.
More than anything, I really enjoyed how women were all of our headline characters, each with their own distinct wants, fears and motivations, something I’m always looking for now that I have a young bookworm niece. The Girl Who Drank The Moon has already been bought for her.