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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

When Oona Britt was born in the magical town of Nordlor, where all of the homes are built from wrecked ships, her parents never expected her to be a girl. Having listened to a faulty prediction from a washed-up soothsayer, they were promised a "bold and brave son," so as the youngest of seven sisters, Oona's birth became a disappointment -- especially to her sea captain father, who doesn't believe there's a place for girls aboard ships. But Oona is different from the rest of her family. She longs for adventure and knowledge. So she steals aboard her father's ship just as he's about to set sail for his annual winter whale hunt, and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a grand adventure! The ship has its own sea cat, Barnacles, and a navigator named Haroyld, who show Oona how to follow the stars. But for all that, Oona's father is furious. Can she prove to him that she's worth his love and pride, even though she's not the bold and brave son he was promised?…

Overall Book Review:

The Girl Who Sailed the Stars by Matilda Woods was a compelling and whimsical tale about an unwanted seventh daughter and her stubborn desire to pursue knowledge and recognition aboard her father’s ship, so as to prove to him she is worthy of his pride and love.

Oona Britt is the main character of this story; she is a curious-minded girl who pursues education on the sly despite the fact that girls in the town of Nordlor are not allowed to attend school. When she discovers a plot that involves her and her six siblings to be married off as quickly as possible to any eligible bachelor, Oona risks her father’s wrath by running away and stowing away on a ship in an effort to pursue her dreams of adventure.

The Girl Who Sailed the Stars was reminiscent of A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, and The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  13 mild obscenities (in relation to a place’s name). 

Violence/Gore:  Many instances of violence, including but not limited to: a woman drives a sleigh drawn by muzzled polar bears; a man threatens a woman; a couple delivers a stillborn; mention of whale-hunting and the dangers therein; a character is bullied by siblings; report of deaths; an inn burns down; a mother insults her daughter; a crate falls on a character’s foot; a girl lies to her sister; a father gets enraged at a daughter; characters play cruel pranks on another character; during a storm, a character hits his head and goes overboard; a character risks her life to save someone; characters are pursued by a monster; a woman whips a horse; characters are trapped on a little island; a woman is threatened with imprisonment; a monster threatens the safety of a ship; a man is drawn underwater and presumed killed; a man accuses a woman of stealing and hits her with his basket; characters injure a monster with fire; in an extended scene, characters go after a sea-creature with harpoons, the creature confronts them and causes waves that eventually swamps a boat, presumably drowning the men on board, and a man harpoons the beast; a character recalls past abuse; a character allows a young person to fall into an icy sea; a man is close to death; report of thieves; a ship rams an iceberg, threatening the lives of the crew; a man locks six women in a freezing room. 

Sex/Nudity:  A woman is heard giving birth; report of a birth of a baby girl; a woman is in labor; characters plan to marry their daughters off; a man proposes marriage to six girls; a girl likes a boy; characters prepare for a wedding; a girl runs off with a boy.

Mature Subject Matter:

Death of a child; death of a friend; gender discrimination; unwanted child; verbal and emotional child abuse; thieving; smoking.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters sit and drink in a bar; a man buys drinks for everyone while waiting for his son to be born; a man plans to spray a crowd with wine; characters drink a toast before a voyage; a man smokes; a man guzzles wine; mention of turnip wine to be served at a wedding.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.