A bit of background, Book of the Ice takes place in the same world as one of Mark Lawrences’ previous trilogies: Book of the Ancestor. I have read Book of the Ancestor as well as two other trilogies from Mark Lawrence: The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War.
Also, this is a full series review but I will be avoiding all spoilers for the latter books.
Synopsis for The Girl and the Stars
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 for The Girl and the Stars
Rating: 3/5 stars
I find that typically Mark Lawrence likes to build up the worldbuilding and set up the story a lot in book one, and this was quite similar. There is an initial inciting incident which does pull readers in but after that it’s a lot of general discovery with the single POV character, Yaz. At this point, I found Yaz to be quite flat as a character and honestly I almost considered not continuing on with the trilogy. However, in hindsight I am very happy I did continue, so I don’t want to discourage you from picking this trilogy up.
The redeeming quality of The Girl and the Stars and what kept me going is that Yaz stumbles upon a character that for those of us who have read The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War trilogies will be familiar with and that is: Elias Taproot. This opens up a can of worms and leads down the rabbit hole of who is Taproot and how does the world that Jorg and Snorri know become the world of Yaz and Nona or vice versa, what is the connection.
All four of these trilogies are post-apocalyptic fantasy, or sci-fantasy if you prefer, and they come in pairs. The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War are set in similar timelines and indeed the main characters even cross paths. In their world, there are remnants from The Builders and it’s clear to readers that these remnants are of modern technology. Then The Book of the Ancestor and The Book of the Ice are in the same world, and it is a world covered mostly in ice with a corridor about 100 miles wide around the middle of it.
Review for The Girl and the Mountain
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Girl and the Mountain improved from The Girl of the Stars in a couple important ways. Firstly, there are now multiple POV characters which greatly improves how the story is being told. Secondly, Yaz begins to really develop especially after leaving ice caves that she’d been in for most of book one. At the very beginning of book one we see Yaz go through an event signifying her entry into adulthood but throughout book one, it felt (realistically, so) that she was still getting the hang of responsibility and independence.
Review for The Girl and the Moon
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The conclusion to the trilogy was great and honestly, I’m not going to go too far into it. Learning about the links and connections though was so deeply satisfying. I learned that The Impossible Times trilogy also ties into the other four trilogies so now I’m going to need to read that too.
On top of the multi-POV that we had in book two, we also end up with multi-timelines in book three which makes things interesting. I do think there was a tiny touch of Mary Sue-ing going on with Yaz at the end (which basically just means they’re suddenly overpowered with not a lot of explanation). Part of this is due to the nature of who Yaz is, but the magic system for the world has revolved around four magical races that have been mixed over the years and magical abilities depend on an individual’s blood and all of a sudden finding and adding another one felt a little too easy. It was explained thoroughly but it still just didn’t sit right with me.
Overall, I would recommend picking this one up. With a caveat, I do think I enjoyed this one a lot more because I’ve read The Broken Empire, The Red Queen’s War and The Book of the Ancestor. Yaz was the weakest of the MC’s in any of these trilogies but she did grow into it and have great development over the course of three books. Also the audiobook was great, typically I have read Mark Lawrence’s books physically but I wanted to try out audio and it worked well.