Review: The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

The Girl and the Stars

Book of the Ice #1

Mark Lawrence

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.

Publisher: Ace

Published: April 21st 2020

Grief, Death, Child Death, Loss of a Loved One, Beheading, Blood Depiction, Mention of Mutilation

“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.” 

Was this a cover buy? Yes. Has it been sitting on my shelf for… too long? Also yes.

I rate this book trepidatiously and will keep this review short because I truly believe this just wasn’t for me. I had seen a few reviews warning me that reading his first series The Book of the Ancestor would help immerse me into this world, so I think I would recommend that. However, I’m not saying this world wasn’t intriguing– it genuinely was. The tribes, the sacrifices, the fierce icy setting, what we learn going on into the story– at its core, this is a survival story. It’s a story on family and finding yourself and it helps that this truly is an interesting setting.

“Throw any single life away as if it holds no meaning and how will your own life be valued thereafter?” 

However, I will mention I was a bit confused. This isn’t just a fantasy, it has sci-fi elements as well, which caught me off guard. And considering our main character was also in a confused state in what she was seeing… I don’t think it helped… which then leaves me even more conflicted.

I will say, for an adult book, this gave younger vibes. Which isn’t a bad thing! I’ll keep reiterating that this was a well written book with very pretty prose, but I can see this appealing to both younger and older audiences– the versatility is there.

This book started out decently paced. We jump right into the action and our first child being thrown into the pit, deemed unworthy and we get a sense of who our main character Yaz is– loyal, brave, a bit brash in action, the information was seamlessly given to us.

Even the side characters were lovable and had the potential to be fleshed out. And I say potential because we get a piece of them… and then that’s it. I believe it was around the 50% mark that I found myself skim reading. I didn’t get much information on the magic system or the conflicts. And I understand this is a series, but at the same time I feel like more could have been given.

Listen, will I be continuing the series? No. But, it was a solid read. I just realize that I probably wasn’t the audience for this. And that’s okay.

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