Review: The Girl and The Stars (The Book of the Ice #1) by Mark Lawrence

Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest can you see the stars.

Review

“To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal.”

Thank you to ACE books for the advance reading copy of this book. Receiving this arc did not affect my review in any way.

It was so good to be back in the world of Abeth. I had really enjoyed Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy set in the same world and was so excited to dive back in. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

One of my favorite things about The Girl and the Stars is how much more we get to know about the world. This first entry in the Book of the Ice series answers quite a few questions about the magic system, lore, and peoples of Abeth that were left unanswered in the last series. I am so glad I read the Book of the Ancestor series before this as I think it was all that much sweeter to find out about these things through the context of what I already knew. However, it is not necessary to read the previous series before you start this one.

We follow Yaz as the single, first person POV throughout the entire story. Yaz is her own person and I liked how she was very distinct from Nona, the main protagonist from the last series. Yaz has a strong love for her family and in particular this is shown through her sacrifices for her brother Zeen in this book. She is loyal, caring, brutally efficient when necessary, and can wield incredible powers. Yaz is compelling because she is so powerful while at the same time being relatable. You feel for her as she strives to save her family and friends. She fights for what she believes to be right no matter the odds and that made following her all the more enjoyable.

Even though we follow Yaz for the entire story, there are quite a few other characters that are able to shine. I was especially interested in Erris, one of the people Yaz meets within the Ice. There is a mystery about him that intrigues me and I am excited to learn more about him and his abilities. Not gonna lie, there are a lot of names in this one and I didnt take notes. I don’t want to butcher the other character’s names, so rest assured they are there and written brilliantly.

“Now though, with darkness and despair literally reaching out to engulf her, she knew how cruel and fragile a thing hope is, and how sharp the edges of new forged dreams can be once shattered.”

I also want to give a shoutout to Lawrence’s ability to write incredible villains. There are quite a few in this story and I’m not exaggerating, every single one had deep and meaningful motivations. There were no cookie cutter “I’m just evil because I’m evil” villains in this one. I despised them all by the end and that is not something that is easy to do.

The one thing that could have been better and why I decided to give this a 9.5 instead of a perfect 10 is because I felt like some of the characters became unrealistically close in a short amount of time. There is definitely something to be said about shared experiences and traumas bringing people together quickly. However. there were a few people that Yaz deeply cared about in this narrative that I just couldn’t buy into.

I LOVE this magic system! It is so visual and fun to imagine. It is very well explained and I like that even though there is a lot to it, it is pretty easy to understand. I also liked that it is not only useful in battle, but also in surviving the Ice. There are a few separate categories of magic users and all are useful in more ways than one.

“In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.”

There is some dialogue, both internal and external, about the value of each life no matter who they are or what supposed “weaknesses” they have. I really enjoyed this part of the story because it felt completely organic. “The Broken” struggle with this concept of having worth despite their flaws and I found myself easily relating to them because of this. I love a story that can shine a light on injustice, insecurity, and the pain of the world without losing the hope and goodness that binds us all together.

After that ending, I wanted to pick up the next book right away! Be warned, there will be cliffhangers.

I really enjoyed this book. It has heart, characters that are easy to root for, villains that are easy to hate, and a fast paced plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Highly recommended!

7 thoughts on “Review: The Girl and The Stars (The Book of the Ice #1) by Mark Lawrence

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