The Girl and the Moon is the last installment of Mark Lawrence’s fantasy series Book of the Ice. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022, and I was not disappointed.
The sheer scope and size of Lawrence’s world is staggering. There are multiple series’ he’s created that branch off in this world, so do yourself a favor and go read them. The Book of the Ice is centered around - you guessed it, didn’t you - the ice plains bordering the Corridor, the only green land left in Abeth.
The Girl and the Moon picks up where book #2 left off. Yaz, Mali, Thurin, Erris, Quina, and Theus have arrived at Sweet Mercy Convent, where the series Book of the Ancestor took place. I was basically shaking, I was so excited. Of course, this is in a different time altogether, but being back with the nuns and the students was fun, and nostalgic. Yaz and Quina stay at Sweet Mercy to await trial for theft and murder (God, I hate Eular) while Thurin and Erris are sent on a mission with Mali, who is familiar with the Corridor. Yaz and Mali have a certain connection that allows them to access information and language from the other - so Yaz is able to communicate with the people of the Corridor, and Mali is able to communicate with Thurin and Erris.
From the start, The Girl and the Moon is fast-paced, and the reader feels like they are on the edge of their seat. It does slow down at times, but for the most part, it’s a race to the end. Yaz knows she has to open the Ark using her knowledge and talent manipulating “stars”. She must save the moon, or the whole world will disappear into a frozen wasteland.
What I absolutely love about Lawrence’s work, besides the stellar writing of course, is the seamless way in which worldbuilding, character development, and plot all interweave together, one not being sacrificed for the others. The ending is a breathtaking symphony, a master stroke from a genius, a “take a bow” moment when the conductor flourishes his baton and leaves the reader delighted and mesmerized.
From the first word to the last, The Girl and the Moon is a story that will stick with you. Yaz is a thoughtful heroine, without feeling the need to be a strong-female lead character trope. She’s just… a well-written character, whose story needs to be told. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to read her story, to cheer for her, to admire her.
5/5 stars. I’m sorry to see this series end, but like all good stories, it will linger long after I put it down.
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."