Every so often I go through Goodreads and make lists of books I want to read or authors I want to try. For a really long time, Mark Lawrence has been at the very top of that list. I have heard such good things about his Book of the Ancestor trilogy from pretty much everyone in the SFF community, and I even picked up physical copies of both Red Sister and Grey Sister a while back (but of course never got around to reading them).
When I heard Lawrence had a new series coming out, I absolutely knew it was the right time to finally pick up a book of his. His new series, The Book of the Ice, starts with the recently released The Girl and the Stars, and is connected to his Book of the Ancestor trilogy. However, you don’t have to have read or be be familiar with his previous series to enjoy this new book. Honestly, after picking this one up, I don’t know why I ever waited so long to start one of Lawrence’s books! The Girl and the Stars is totally living up to the hype, and it’s been a super fun fantasy read.
I went into this book completely blind; I had zero idea what the book was about when starting. For those of you who like to know what book you’re getting into, here’s the synopsis:
“East of the Black Rock, out on the ice, lies a hole down which broken children are thrown.
On the vastness of the ice there is no room for individuals. 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 different.
Torn from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her life with, Yaz has to carve a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of danger.
Beneath the ice, Yaz will learn that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined.
She will learn that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she will learn to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.
Only when it’s darkest can you see the stars.”
I have really enjoyed my time with this book so far! If you love large epic fantasies, this is definitely the book for you. This is only the first book in Mark Lawrence’s new Book of the Ice series, so there’s so much more look forward to.
Lawrence’s writing is dense and descriptive, but he is great at evoking the mood for the setting and the emotions of his characters. If you’re new here, then you might not know that I really, really, really love books with strong women leads. I had heard that Lawrence masterfully crafted great women characters in this Book of the Ancestor trilogy, so I had super high expectations for this new book. I can happily say that I haven’t been disappointed at all with the characters! The main character, Yas, is unique and strong, and I really love what Lawrence has done with her character.
What I love most about this book, though, is the setting. The Girl and the Stars is set in a super cold and icy land, and I could nearly feel the cold wind sweeping across the ice while reading. I’ve really enjoyed the setting, which took me a bit off guard. Something about reading a book set in the cold when it’s not cold at all outside is just so much fun. If you think this sounds like too much of a winter read, think again! Having been inside social-distancing for so many weeks now, I had nearly forgotten about the concept of weather, and this book has been a great reminder.
Although you definitely don’t need to read The Book of the Ancestor trilogy to enjoy this book, I do think I will actually start and finish that series before Book #2 of The Book of the Ice comes out. I’m just so glad to have finally, actually started a book by Mark Lawrence, and I highly recommend that you do too. I think The Girl and the Stars is a great place to start with his oeuvre, and it is such a good time, right now, to sink into this new series.
About the Author:
Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. His first trilogy, The Broken Empire, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy, and both The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim have won the Gemmell Legend award for best fantasy novel. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.
Thanks to Harper Voyager UK, Mark Lawrence, and Random Things Tours for letting me be a part of this blog tour and for providing me an arc of the book for review. Being a part of this blog tour is, honestly, a dream come true.