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Monday, April 20, 2020

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence review





Order The Girl and The Stars over HERE(USA) or HERE (UK)



AUTHOR INFORMATION: Mark Lawrence is a research scientist working on artificial intelligence. He is a dual national with both British and American citizenship, and has held secret-level clearance with both governments. At one point, he was qualified to say, “This isn’t rocket science—oh wait, it actually is.” He is the author of the Broken Empire trilogy (Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, and Emperor of Thorns), the Red Queen’s War trilogy (Prince of Fools, The Liar’s Key, and The Wheel of Osheim) and the Book of the Ancestor series (Red Sister).

FORMAT/INFO: The Girl and the Stars is out in ebook and hardcover on April 21, 2020 in USA (ACE) and UK (HarperCollins). 

OVERVIEW: I have a simple routine that works every time. Mark Lawrence publishes something, I read it. A win-win situation for all involved.

The Girl and the Stars takes place in the world of Abeth known to readers from The Book of the Ancestor series but in both a different timeline and in a harsher region. The story’s protagonist, Yaz, differs from Nona, so don’t expect a simple rewrite of your favorite character. She’s a young Ichta woman who lives in the harsh frozen land.

When the Regulator throws her brother into the Pit of the Missing, she goes there after him and finds herself in a dire situation beneath the ice. As the story develops Yaz discovers her talent to manipulate the stars, artifacts of the past trapped in the ice walls. She meets new friends but also foes.

Colorful crew members, encounters with monsters, underground chases and escapes and betrayals keep the story engaging. The Girl and the Stars maintains a sense of foreboding throughout. It always feels like something is lurking just around the corner of the ice tunnel. The claustrophobic, icy landscapes and tunnels give way to a feeling of hopelessness and futility and yet young protagonists find the strength to fight. I loved this setting and the way it shaped characters.

It's worth noting that Lawrence is fleshing out his characters with fascinating precision, and giving every member of Yaz's supporting cast a chance to shine. Most of her new-found friends have magical powers inherent to their tribes/bloodlines and seeing them in action thrilled me. I won't reveal who does what and when but trust me when I say cool things happen.

As bleak and vicious as this book is, The Girl and the Stars is not without some dark humor. Well-placed banter and moments of levity balance the dreary tone and themes of the novel. Actually, I think many readers won't regard the novel as particularly bleak while reading it but I don't know how else to describe a world in which disabled children (or even children considered not good enough) are thrown away to die under the ice.

The writing is excellent, as you would expect from Mark Lawrence. His style is distinct and recognizable. Plus, I absolutely love it.

Conclusion: A Girl and the Stars has action, heart, a sense of humor, and an awesome premise. The cast of characters is memorable and diverse. The pacing falters briefly in the beginning but is otherwise breathtaking from start to finish. It’s the kind of fantasy I need more of.

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