Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Kelly Barnhill. 2016. 388 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Yes. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

Premise/plot: There are two sides to every story. The villagers of the Protectorate believe that it's a necessary evil to sacrifice the youngest baby to the witch in the woods every year on a certain day. Sorrow hangs about the village certainly even driving a few mad now and then. Xan, who lives in the woods along with a dragon and swamp monster, wonders why the crazy villagers abandon a baby every year leaving it in a particular place. It's nonsense from her perspective. Who would do such a thing? She happily takes the baby through the woods to the safety of one of the free cities. The baby is adopted, loved, cared for.

One year something changes. Xan accidentally draws power from the moon--the full moon--instead of the stars to nourish the baby on the trek through the woods. The baby--soon named Luna--becomes enmagicked. Xan decides that she had better raise the child herself! Luna's real mother forgets her own name, the name of her child, her life before that terrible day when she spoke up against those who were cruelly taking her baby. She's locked away in a tower, kept prisoner by the Sisters.

The truth seems buried, but by the child's thirteenth birthday the truth will shine through the darkest of sorrows and hope will take root.

My thoughts: To readers who are thrilled by all things witchy, this may prove fun. I certainly enjoyed the tiny dragon who truly believed he was simply enormous. The paper birds were truly terrifying but unique in my opinion. The struggles were many for all the characters, and the author didn't give easy solutions. But. As a Christian I found this book less than ideal. There were several places that proved too much for me to ignore. I'm thinking of chapter twelve and forty-seven.
"In the beginning there was only Bog, and Bog, and Bog. There were no people. There were no fish. There were no birds or beasts or mountains or forest or sky. The bog was everything, and everything was the Bog....and so the Bog created a Body: a great Beast that walked out of the Bog on its own strong, boggy legs. The beast was the Bog, and the Bog was the Beast. The Beast loved the Bog and the Bog loved the Beast...the Beast's chest was full of warm and life-giving compassion. He felt the shine of love radiating outward. And the Beast wanted words to explain how he felt. And so there were words." (83-84) 
Clearly drawing from the literary style of the Bible....to turn God into a boggy swamp monster is just too much for me to personally overlook. I would never discourage anyone from reading the book and judging its merit on their own. I do wish this Bog element had been left out though.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Cee Arr 10:52 AM  

I think you'll find a lot of creation stories have similar themes and a similar feel to them - that said, I understand why it may make you feel a little uncomfortable.

Kailana 4:52 PM  

I will have to see what I think. I grabbed it on audio when it was on sale the other day. :)

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