The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence – A Book Review

girl and the stars


Only when it’s darkest can you see the stars.

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.


Author: Mark Lawrence

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: 30/04/2020

Pages: 600

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ‘The Girl on the Ice’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon US



I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As a huge fan of Mark Lawrence’s ‘Book of the Ancestor’ trilogy and having loved his ‘Impossible Times’ trilogy, I fully expected to go into this and keep the love coming. Especially when you factor in that this is set in the same world (Abeth) as the Book of the Ancestor.

Sadly, that just didn’t happen and this book just kind of ended up falling somewhere between average and flat for me.

It wasn’t a bad book, I just never really felt engaged or excited by it. It has some great writing, as is typical with Lawrence, but I just never felt truly connected in any meaningful way to the characters or the story being told. 

It started off quite strong as we are introduced to the way the tribes live on the harsh landscape that is the ice fields of Abeth. We journey with Yaz and her tribe as they venture to the great pit in which a priest discards children seen as ‘broken’ or unfit to live on the ice. For the first thirty percent or so I was feeling it and then it just kind of went downhill for me.

After that point it got a bit strange and hard to believe. That could just be me as I have seen some really positive thoughts on the book (in fact I seem to be the only person tos core it less than 5 from what I can see … I am writing this at the start of April. So not a big sample size to go with just yet on scores), but I just struggled to care too much after it got a bit ‘out there’. This struggle continued on until it got nearer the end where, in all fairness, it does get way more exciting. My issue is that due to my lack of a connection with the characters/story I feel the excitement was only lukewarm for me where it would have been white hot for others.

One of my main issues was the main conflict through the novel. It just seemed petty and hard to take seriously. I’m aware they are children and those that are older grew up in a world without adults, so perhaps pettiness is to be expected. I also kind of disliked how every character couldn’t just be what they seemed. You’d be ambling along and then all of a sudden some previously barely spoken off or uninteresting character would suddenly become overwhelmingly important. That aspect of it just felt a bit forced. It kind of felt like too many plot reveals spoiled the ones that were perhaps more meaningful. Obviously, these characters will have great parts to play going forward, but for me it was just a little too much, a little too soon. 

I also felt like things came a little too easily to Yaz. Never done a thing before? Never even thought it could be attempted? Still don’t? Try it anyway and succeed straight away, seems to be the way forward.

If you have enjoyed the Book of the Ancestor and wish to know more about the world of Abeth, this book is certainly worth picking up as it delves into the deep history of the world in ways that you really wouldn’t have expected.

17 thoughts on “The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence – A Book Review

  1. Well I didn’t expect this! I was going to ask if it was possible that with everything going on right now you weren’t able to connect with the book- but as I read your review it seems like maybe it goes beyond that. I know I’ve been having a lot of trouble reading lately. I can’t get my mind to slow down enough lately to focus on reading. It sucks. Hope your next read is better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually finished this one a month or so back and have really enjoyed other reads since (am currently enjoying my most recent Netgalley read as we speak). I really wanted to like this more than I did as it is set on the same world as the Book of the Ancestor series. I just don’t know if my interest is there to carry on :/

      Hope you’re doing ok. I’ve seen how badly the US has been hit 😦


  2. Great review! I’m planning on checking this out soon, but your review has kind of prepared me to (maybe) not be blown away. It really might be hard to top the Book of the Ancestor series!


  3. Oof, sounds like a book definitely not for me 😉 Great review, though!
    I’m not a big fan of Lawrence, I must admit, though I feel I should read something more by him than just One Word Kill – any recs?


  4. I’ve always wanted to read Mark Lawrence and I decided to start with this book but your review…Thanks for this honest review. I want to end up as a fan of Mark Lawrence and I don’t think that will happen with this book. I’ll start with Book of the Ancestors instead. I have the first two books in that trilogy anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Book of the Ancestor is a great place to start.

      It is worth noting that my review is the minority. Most reviewers have rated it 4 or 5. This one just didn’t click with me.

      His Impossible Times series is fantastic.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I too had issues with this one and I hope that Mark Lawrence will find a way to make this trilogy much more interesting with the next books. And here I thought I would only LOVE his books. Guess they can’t all be perfect! Great review, sir. You’re not alone on this one. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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