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

Published by HarperVoyager


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.

There’s a reason I recommend Mark Lawrence to everyone I know that enjoys fantasy – it ticks so many boxes and the world building is something special.

I’ve already read and loved The Book of the Ancestor trilogy and The Girl and the Stars is set in the same world, though I can’t tell exactly when in the timeline this features as there’s no cross over that I could spot.

Yaz is another strong female main character, her strength being in endurance and going against the flow where required. She’s from the strongest of the clans out on the ice of a frozen world, where any children with differences are launched into a ceremonial pit (this is Spartaaaaa, anyone?) but when she reaches the bottom, she finds a whole new world to navigate.

A lot of what she experiences was described fully in The Book of the Ancestor series, which puts the reader in a position of knowledge while Yaz is learning blindly about the world she never knew existed. If you haven’t already read the previous trilogy, it’s easy enough to follow without the background so you’re not missing out on anything essential to the plot.

While down there, being a Chosen One sort of girl, she forms strong bonds with some of the people she meets while making strong enemies. I really liked the background information about the others and their powers, which gives us a good idea of what to expect further down the line as well as some great insights into the past of Abeth and those who came before.

For a book that’s very reminiscent of Wendy and the Lost Boys, but with teenagers, there’s nothing more overtly sexual than admiring a boy’s cheekbones and some light fuzzy feelings and blushing. This is excellent if you like all action without any romance detracting from that, but it does seem strange that there are so few hormones in a clan of underground teens living without parental supervision.

The book focuses on the power of the stars and a deeper conspiracy that Yaz has so far only scratched the surface. I’m all in on this series and desperately awaiting the next instalment!

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