The second novel in the thrilling and epic new fantasy series from the international bestselling author of Red Sister and Prince of Thorns.
On the planet Abeth there is only the ice. And the Black Rock.
For generations the priests of the Black Rock have reached out from their mountain to steer the fate of the ice tribes. With their Hidden God, their magic and their iron, the priests’ rule has never been questioned. But when ice triber Yaz challenged their authority, she was torn away from the only life she had ever known, and forced to find a new path for herself.
Yaz has lost her friends and found her enemies. She has a mountain to climb, and even if she can break the Hidden God’s power, her dream of a green world lies impossibly far to the south, across a vast emptiness of ice. Before the journey can even start, she has to find out what happened to the ones she loves and save those that can be saved.
Abeth holds its secrets close, but the stars shine brighter for Yaz and she means to unlock the truth.
Previous Books in the series: The Girl and The Stars. Check out it’s Review David S and Review by David W
A masterful mix of myths, magic and mechanicals that will leave you satisfied yet screaming for more!
First of all, that ending … wow! Those last few pages just kindled a fire in me that’s clamoring for the next book already! I’m have to absolutely constrain myself to not spoiler this review…it’s damn hard!
For those who’ve read Mark’s books before, the mastery over story telling would not come as a surprise. It continues in here.
This is actually a book of three parts.
The first part is the book picking off from the cliffhanger ending of Girl and the Stars and the initial segments move at a breakneck pace. We continue to follow Yaz in her endeavors to discover the fate of the rest of her group. Then we get past the dark workings of Black Rock and plot then expands organically as we get the see the other players come into the picture and making their moves.
Then as we shift into part two, the setting shifts and we get to journey along with the MCs through a bunch of perils and hazard wondering when Mark will pull the trigger to wrench our hearts. And there are lots of perils and hazards. Braving the harsh reaches of Ice of Abeth. followed by mechanical horrors and monsters of the iceland, this is a gripping race for survival and answers. The journey is harrowing and told realistically that you actually feel get the chills like being on the frozen tundra with them!
Finally we get to the third part and Marks’s ability to mix mythology, fantasy and science comes to the fore brilliantly. We get to see and learn more of the mysterious City Minds and the history of Abeth unravels bit by bit. Then BOOM [spoilery stuff happens] and we get to the climax which not only ties this series, but also the whole Abeth storyline together. Honestly the ending is just delicious to leave you fulfilled yet wanting for more.
If you had a gun to my head and I had to nitpick, it’d be that the book has slight pacing issues in the middle. The writing is crisp and we have a thrill of a ride, but it just felt a tad too long.
The book is predominantly told from Yaz’s perspective mixed with PoVs from Thurin and Quell. We see Yaz taking on the mantle of a leader and other lining up to follow her. Her struggles with use of her power lacking proper training are done well. As is the moral questions she gets to face being a leader and caring for her team. In hindsight, I’d have preferred a more from the point of view of the antagonists which would have rounded the perspective more.