Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Book Review | The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

The Girl and the Stars is the first book in the Book of the Ice fantasy series by Mark Lawrence.

The Girl and the Stars by 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.

Why did I read The Girl and the Stars?

Mark Lawrence is a big name in the fantasy genre. I have been wanting to read a few of his series for a while now so I decided to finally jumped in with his new series 'Book of the Ice'.

The Strengths

The world building in the beginning of The Girl and the Stars was SO GOOD. The setting was an icy landscape, and I quickly learned that children were getting thrown down a hole in the ice. I was completely captivated by the shift down below the ice and the world contained there.

The early scenes and the main character immediately drew me into wanting to know what was ultimately going to happen.

The Weaknesses

After such a strong beginning, The Girl and the Stars sagged in the middle for me. I'm a multi-book reader and other books were winning out over me picking this one back up. Once the world building wasn't so compelling, I wasn't as invested in the story.

By the end the action seemed exciting enough, but the characters weren't developed enough for me to have any kind of attachment to them or concern for their fates.

Final Thoughts

It turns out The Girl and the Stars was set in the same world as one of Lawrence's previous series Book of the Ancestor. After reading reviews and comments on my updates, I realized it would have been better to have read that series first. I think I would have understood the magic better, and I would have been more invested beyond the rich world building. I haven't decided yet if I will continue on with this series, but I would like to go back and read some of his previous series that I missed out on.

3/5 Stars

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. I'm having a similar experience. I had heard that it was fine to pick this up before reading the first series, but I feel like I'm missing something as well.

    1. It's unfortunate, but I do think we are missing something not being familiar with that world.

  2. I have to be in the right mood to start a series like this.

    1. I'm a mood reader, too. I think it was in a good time for me to read this one.

  3. "The setting was an icy landscape, and I quickly learned that children were getting thrown down a hole in the ice". This is enough to get me hooked haha. The character development though (or lack) does sound like a bummer. There has to be more than just good worldbuilding. I hope you enjoy the series if you continue on with it!

    1. I was so HOOKED! Haha. I think being more familiar with the books that came before this one would have helped.

  4. I've seen some reviews that have made me temper my expectations for this one. I think I will enjoy it, but thanks for the warnings about the lag in the middle!

    ~mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  5. I'm sorry this didn't work out -- the premise is definitely impressive, and would have been great if it hadn't sagged in the middle. Anything that has good worldbuilding is a huge tick from me too.

  6. I enjoyed reading your ppost


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