Abeth is a land of ice, far as the eye can see. Yet standing in the middle is the Black Rock, and there are fables and stories of a crescent of green. Yaz has certainly heard the stories, and has even seen the green lands in a dream-like state. And she wants to go there.
The Girl and the Mountain picks up where The Girl and the Stars (review here) lets off. Yaz has made it out of the underground, from the city of the Broken, where demons lurk and monsters hunt. She has brought some friends with her… but they were separated. And she has been taken hostage by an ancient order of priests who keep the ice tribes under their thumb. Her friends are intent on rescuing her. But the Black Rock is more than what it seems.
Much like the city of the Broken, the Black Rock is full of dizzying corridors and houses ancient rooms full of secrets. Yaz and her friends must face, yet again, the mysteries of the unknown. And as Yaz’s understanding of her power grows, so does the danger. For there are those who would seek to use her to their own ends, and not just the priests. Where The Girl and the Stars introduced the idea of city-minds, and metal creatures, and a possible alien intelligence, The Girl and the Mountain expounds on these ideas. The reader has some questions answered. But it also raises more questions. What exactly are these city minds? To avoid spoilers - well, they are more than what they seem.
As usual, Lawrence’s ability to weave character development with plot with unique magic is almost unparalleled. Each character has a unique voice, with differing motivations. The magic, of course, is a bit different than the previous series set in this world, but with very similar ideas. Or maybe a better way to say it, is that the magic is the same with different aspects highlighted on the ice. And the plot? For a lowly being like myself, there were moments where I couldn’t quite follow what was going on, that’s how complicated it was. But the slow reveal makes the pay off well worth it.
Yaz remains a very solid main character. There are parts of her that make her one of the most unique characters I’ve ever come across. Her motives are pure, and she’s a strong, somewhat flawed, person. Her loyalty gets her into trouble. But then it gets her out of trouble, too. And the addition of a metal-made dog was one of my favorite things in this book. Who doesn’t love a furry (or in this case, not so furry) sidekick?
The themes of friendship, loyalty, and making hard choices will be familiar friends to fans of Lawrence’s work. No one does it better than he does.
4.5/5 stars for this stellar follow-up. I highly recommend this series, as well as the Book of the Ancestor series also set in this world.
"It's a dangerous game to try to rid yourself of weakness. You never know what else you might be losing in the deal."
Perhaps more than any other author I am currently invested in, books from Mark Lawrence seem to fall on a wide scale. At one end, there is Prince of Thorns, headed by the notorious Jorg Ancrath, one of the most divisive fantasy protagonists in recent years. I didn’t like it.
At the other end, there is Red Sister and Grey Sister, headed by the magnificent Nona Grey. Her character. Her story. Her world. I liked them a lot.
Prince of Fools has ended up more towards the direction of the former.