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

Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

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

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 you can see the stars.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

MANY BABIES HAVE killed, but it is very rare that the victim is not their mother.

When the father handed his infant to the priestess to speak its fortune the child stopped screaming and in its place she began to howl, filling the silence left behind.

Omens are difficult and open to interpretation but if the oracle that touches your newborn dies moments later, frothing at the mouth, it is hard even with a mother’s love to think it a good sign.

In such cases a second opinion is often sought.

Like, who thinks of stuff like this? Mark Lawrence. That’s who. You know, the guy with some of the richest prose in the game. The one who has published three (3) UHH-stounding trilogies and is beginning his fourth (4th) with a brilliantly plotted, beautifully written story about a world those of us who read the Book of the Ancestor series didn’t mind venturing back into. The author whose works are so utterly captivating that I can never quite find the words to describe my feelings.

You know… that guy.

The Girl and the Stars is a remarkable introduction to Lawrence’s newest trilogy. Fantastic world-building, poetic prose, an engaging plot, and a new female protagonist that may just stack up to Nona Grey. I don’t see Mark slowing down any time soon.

When Mark announced he was writing a new trilogy set in Abeth, I was giddy as all get-out. To say I loved the Book of the Ancestory trilogy is true understatement and Nona stands as one of the best female protagonists in fantasy. This time around, we follow the story of Yaz, another strong female lead but on a completely different playing field than Nona. Those expecting a rehash of the previous series are in for a rude awakening as Lawrence has begun a refreshing, though daunting series set in a darker, more sinister Abeth. One where broken children are thrown into a pit and left for dead, never to be seen or heard from again…

At least, that’s what they think.

Yaz begins to explore this other world under the ice; one with its own perils separate from the bitter cold and lack of sustenance on top. She will face hardships beyond imagination, learn more about herself and the storied past of her people than she ever could have being apart of her tribe, and she will come across things so horrible and terrifying that she will never be the same again.

I don’t want to delve too much into the story, but I will say this: I read Robert Jackson Bennett’s Shorefall (Founders #2) just before cracking open The Girl and the Stars. If you are a fan of the former and haven’t yet attempted the latter, I HIGHLY recommend you give it a go. Obviously it wasn’t meant, but I felt strong parallels between the two (2) that may have even boosted my enjoyment.

Those who read his Book of the Ancestor trilogy (and enjoyed it) will find TONS of easter eggs in TGatS. I’m not saying you have to have read that trilogy prior as this story stands on its own, but it is a definite enhancement to your enjoyment.

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