I have a very special blog post for you all! To celebrate the launch of blockbuster Mark Lawrence’s new release THE GIRL AND THE STARS, I am part of a blog tour to promote the book, as well as give my own thoughts on the debut.
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.
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.
‘Dark, disturbing, horribly gripping’ THE TIMES
‘Dark and relentless, Prince of Thorns will pull you under and drown you in story. A two-in-themorning page turner. Absolutely stunning… jaw-dropping’ ROBIN HOBB
‘Excellent – on a par with George R.R. Martin’ CONN IGGULDEN ‘Lawrence’s poetic prose is amazing, far and away the best of the modern fantasy authors’ PETER V. BRETT
And now, we get to my thoughts on it, the part you guys are probably waiting for, huh? I sit here on a lazy weekend, trying to find the words to say. I’ve struggled writing a review for this book. I’m not sure why. The thoughts are in my head, on the back of my mind, but it’s trying to make them words that’s struggling.
Yet I write books. So I know I can do it, huh? I’ve read a good few of Mark’s books, but not as many as I’d like. I will say however, that The Girl and the Stars easily has to be my favourite so far.
The setting grabs you from the very beginning, and it’s written so well I can feel the chill rising from the pages. It is a damn cold setting, man, and it bleeds through your eyes as you read. I always hope for immersive reading in my books, and Mark does a really good job in this regard.
Our main character is Yaz, a sixteen-year-old member of the Itcha tribe. Any individuals who show weakness are deemed incompatiable into surviving in the harsh world. Brutal, but it has some logic. So they get thrown into the Pit to die. This really gets dark when Yaz, who is truly expecting to die, is found safe – only for her brother Zeen to be thrown in her place. Seeking ‘closure’ and the urge to find her brother over her own life, Yaz goes into the Pit after him. Instead of dying, she finds an underground world, full of danger and strangely…life as well. There is a whole culture beneath the ice.
The setting once again is stunning, and feels claustrophobic, magical and strange from start to end. It’s great because I’d describe this book as relatively quiet. There’s fights and conflict, as dark forces both human and supernatural threaten to break Yaz’s world apart, but the bones of the story are in Yaz and her quest to find her brother whole. She has to be one of the best characters I’ve read in a long time, and her tale kept me itching to read more until it was finished.
The worldbuilding is also exceptional. You know you’ve done a good job in your writing when readers can visualize everything about it, and this book hits top marks in that regard. I can feel the cold when I read, feel Yaz’s anger and pain, her rage. I feel fury for the other characters. Yaz is the star, but there is a strong cast to follow her. I really liked the Broken, and Maya’s little ball of death becomes a delight to read. I’ll just tease you with this, because it’s really better to just read into this blind.
Overall, The Girl and the Stars is a great debut into yet another awesome series by Mark Lawrence. It ends in a way that makes you want to thank him for a great book, and want to punch him for making you wait for the second book. I’ll stick with the former! I usually don’t follow a score basis, but I would give this book an easy 9/10. For Goodreads, I will mark it up to a 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this!