Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Girl and the Moon by Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ice #3
Published by Ace on April 26, 2021
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On the planet Abeth, a narrow Corridor of green land is surrounded on all sides by ice plains where only the strong survive. Ice triber Yaz has completed a perilous journey and arrived at the Corridor, and it exceeds and overwhelms all of her expectations. Everything seems different but some constants remain: her old enemies are still two steps ahead, bent on her destruction. She makes her way to the Convent of Sweet Mercy, where nuns train young girls who show the old gifts, but like the Corridor itself the convent is packed with peril and opportunity. Yaz has much to learn from the nuns—if they don’t decide to execute her.
The fate of everyone squeezed between the Corridor’s vast walls, and ultimately the fate of those laboring to survive out on ice itself, hangs from the moon, and the battle to save the moon centers on the Ark of the Missing, buried beneath the emperor’s palace. Everyone wants Yaz to be the key that will open the Ark – the one the wise have sought for generations. But sometimes wanting isn’t enough.
Some books and series are predictable and draw the reader into their comfort while other books carry the reader along with the force and unpredictability of a ride on a white water river. The Book of the Ice series has been that for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had no doubt that following up that stunning cliffhanger in the previous book, I should prepare to have another breathtaking, nail-biting rush of a grand finale read.
The Girl and the Moon is the third and final installment of the Book of the Ice trilogy that must be read in order.
I have spotted the connection to the Book of the Ancestor trilogy which published just prior to this series and is currently my only prior experience with the author’s books. Both take place on the planet Abeth and worldbuilding is shared. I have since learned from long-time Mark Lawrence fans I was chatting with that in truth, there are also connections to two other previous series that took place on earth and that Girl and the Moon ties in strongly to wrap up threads for all four series. Let me reiterate that one can read this current series without the others or read some of the others and do fine, but, I take it, that getting the inter-connection of all the series is the ultimate experience. I see that I need to do a backlist read in my future.
Yaz, Quina, Thurin, Erris, and Mali have arrived in the Corridor only to be confronted by the evil lies of Eular who has them set to be executed in the first, heart-stopping scene. He has taken the box and has plans to join the powerful opposition that will endanger all on Abeth. He must be stopped. They are floundering in the new environment of the green-belt Corridor and are out of their league with the society and politics there as well as the tech and magic. Yaz must use all she has learned and is learning to unpack the mysterious Arc and fend off Seus at the same time. The middle third of the book is this band getting the knowledge and experience they need to do this. Sacrifice, tough-fought situations, strengthening friendships, and a march to that incredible end left me reeling even days later.
Like with the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, I was taken by the complexity of the Abeth world, the four magics, the dire nature of the conflict, twisting plot, but most of all, by the camaraderie of the band of those setting out to do what is right. I wasn’t particularly taken by Yaz for the longest time, but put her in that group of friends and they are amazing as a whole.
I want to chatter about the connections that finally made perfect sense and blew me away, but… spoilers. I will say the action and suspense is hard hitting and made my heart race, the reveals did the same. I had emotional moments that swung from loss and sadness to the rush of hard won victory and hope.
I didn’t want it to end even while I raced to the pages to get that end. I am having a hard time coming down off this book and know it has made my best of the year list. As to suggested readers, this will appeal to fantasy and sci-fi fans because the world crosses both genres. Don’t hesitate to grab up this trilogy and expect to binge once you get to the first cliffhanger (and it won’t be the last) and want to keep reading.
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