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The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence. Book review

April 20, 2020

Book cover of the Girl and the Stars

Life is harsh out on the ice and because of that there is little tolerance for anyone who is different or who potentially can hold the tribe back. So it is, every so often, east of the Blackrock, children deemed to be broken are thrown down a hole by the priests, never to be seen again. Yaz is one of these broken children. So far she has been able to hide the traits that give her away, but this time she is no longer able to conceal them. Once at the bottom of the hole Yaz discovers a strange new world which will require her to draw on every ounce of mental and physical strength if she is to survive.

Having enjoyed the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, I was worried that by attempting to go into the same world again with a different character the story might be found lacking.

In this new book Yaz is not able to draw on the wisdom of elders as there is no supportive Abbess Glass or nuns to back her up. Instead she must rely on young people of about her own age, because the world under the ice is a place where few young people grow to adulthood. This time the young protagonist must feel her way through the right path using her instincts and reaching deep into her sense of self-worth. Not easy given all the perils of this down-below world, particularly as she must find the right way through to a suitable conclusion, but not at the cost the lives of those that she has come to consider so dear.

I had no need to worry about the quality of the story. As usual Mark Lawrence hits the mark with a style of writing which should attract not only a young adult audience, but adults alike. This is because he writes interesting protagonists with a complex psychological makeup and puts them in challenging scenarios which require every ounce of resourcefulness and courage they possess. Although exhibiting an enormous amount of maturity for the years, at the same time they still retain some childlike naivety. It is the tension between these that makes the writing so interesting, as well his excellent world building.

The world under the ice is indeed strange and oppressive, something Lawrence really brings home to the reader. This is not a book for someone who suffers from claustrophobia nor is in a constant state of anxiety of what’s around the next corner. The world of caverns where the light from above does not reach, is a place where the inhabitants don’t so much thrive as exist from day to day.

The story unfolds into the welding of new friendships, as Yaz forms new bonds and comes to learn not only her skills as a leader, but someone with a potential to tap into the powerful magic of her world.

Be prepared for plenty of twists and turns in the plot and that Yaz’s story appears to be going in some very intriguing directions. Bring on the next book.

The Girl and the Stars was courtesy of HarperVoyager.

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