I have wanted to read a Mark Lawrence book for a long time so when this new series popped up on NetGalley I jumped at the chance.
This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Harper Collins UK in return for an honest review. Thank you!
The Girl and The Stars
by Mark Lawrence
From the critically-acclaimed author of PRINCE OF THORNS and RED SISTER comes a chilling new epic fantasy series.
‘If you like dark you will love Mark Lawrence. And when the light breaks through and it all makes sense, the contrast is gorgeous’ ROBIN HOBB
Only when it’s darkest can you see the stars.
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.
- the world
- the magic
Loved it! My favourite part was how the world unfolded around the story. Yes, the characters were good too, but there were too many people interested in Yaz as if she was the only girl there. Also, I didn’t feel like I got to know the characters. I thought I did when I read the book, but then I sat don’t to write the review and I don’t know them. I have very little to say about them. I know stuff they do but I can’t describe their personality. I’m not sure why.
The story follows a Yaz as she travels with her clan to meet other clans. They live on the ice and its clear from the start its a very frozen and unkind world. The meeting between the clans is a ritual cleansing of weaker children for the greater good followed by a party. The priest will select out the weaker children from the rest and throw them into a hole in the ice. The reason being that these children will never survive on the ice and rather than torture them and watch them slowly fade away on the ice, a brutal end is the better option. It’s for the greater good. Yaz best friend Quill is clearly the love interest and want to share tent with her after the festival but Yaz is so sure she will be one of the weak ones she doesn’t let herself be happy or let him actually ask her. She has been expecting to get pushed in since last time she was here 4 years ago. But when Yaz younger brother gets pushed in instead she jumps in after. Even though the priest wanted her to come with them to Black Rock (their home/religious nest). Her powers are more powerful than anyone expected and she is stronger than them.
I love the story and the road it took. I was constantly reminded after she jumped, that this world is so much bigger and the scheme is so much grander than this first book/story. I could visualise there being a whole series from this world and I loved that. Several points in the story came unexpected and I didn’t understand Yaz decisions but quickly after her decision comes clear. It left me on my toes.
The world-building in this book is special to me. It’s amazing how the author has described a world which doesn’t contain much but as the story unfolds so does the world. There are layers to this world I didn’t even know I missed. I thought we were in a certain type of universe but turns out we were a lot closer to home (dramatic music; da-da-DAAAA!)
After Yaz jumps into the hole in the ice we discover a whole community of the Broken living under the ice, foraging for iron for the priests. This community live on the boundary between ice and rock and on the boundary to something bigger.
The magic in here is bedded on elemental magic but at the same time very original. It’s divided into groups but the groups themselves and their powers are fairly original. There are 4/5 different kinds. Some people can bend elements to their will. Some can bend shadows around themselves. or like Yaz see the road in the world which connects everything which also means she can control the start used as light below the ice. Something no one else can.
Yaz is strong, independent and has a plan that doesn’t always go to plan.
Quill is Yaz friend from the ice who wants Yaz and him to share tent after the Gathering. Quill makes a surprise visit later on in the book. He is quite protective and strong while also listens when Yaz tells him off.
Thorin is the strongest ice bender in the Broken and grows a friendship with Yaz. He is troubled as all ex-Tainted children are, or would be.
Maya is the shy one who turns out to be so much more 😉
Honourable mention goes to Erris! What a wonderful human being!!! I loved him!
Some on the side in a positive way, but for a very short period of time.
As expected for a well-seasoned author the writing is exceptional. No issues with grammar or sentence structure which tends to pop up in debut authors books.
Definitely reading more by Mark Lawrence! and continuing with this series. This book ends on a small cliff hanger and I want to know what happens after. I want to know if Yaz goes to find this other essence. And I loved Erris!
Have you read this? What did you think?