blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Girl & the Stars – Mark Lawrence*

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.

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.

My thoughts:

Mark Lawrence’s last trilogy – The Book of the Ancestor, was some of my favourite recent reads so when I was offered the chance to review his newest book, set on the same world as before, Abeth, I jumped at the chance and I was not disappointed.

Abeth is a dying world, covered in ice where few people can survive, and while the Book of the Ancestor series was set in the narrow band of unfrozen land, The Girl and the Stars is set high up on the ice, and below it.

A brilliant, pulse racing adventure set below ground in a decaying city built by ancient people, the Guardians, a very long time ago, where abandoned children scavenge for iron and glowing rocks, known as stars, for the cruel priests who threw them away due to their perceived defects.

Yaz is special, the regulator wanted to keep her, but she chose to enter this underworld, to find her brother. She learns a lot about herself too, her strength, and some of the secrets of her world.

Yaz is a fantastic protagonist, she reminded me a bit of Nona, from the Ancestor series, fierce, independent and loyal to those she cares about.

The writing was as good as expected, the plot clever and complex, developing the history of Abeth deeper, and there were a few little links to the previous series for the eagle eyed reader. But you could easily read this without having read anything else by the author.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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