The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence


Book of the Year 2020 (see all)

Abeth, a frozen ice planet. Many years ago, a home to Nona and the sisters of the Sweet Mercy convent. Now home to nothing but wandering ice tribes, struggling to survive in the harshest conditions imaginable.

To survive is to sacrifice. Outliers must be culled. Whether you are weak and lag behind, or if you’re too big or strong and eat more than the average share, then you can no longer exist within the tribe. You are thrown away, torn from your home and family forever. Yaz, our teenage protagonist, finds herself in this position at the onset of the story, and we follow her journey down the rabbit hole into an unforgiving world of danger, mystery, magic, science fiction, politics, horror, and so much more.

To go into any more detail will spoil some of the fun, but I will mention that the story was impossible to categorize, as it created a genre all to its own. What to call it is up to you. Icepunk? Sure, why not. It’s not news that Lawrence continues to get better with every book. This is something we’ve known for years. But this is a different kind of story than what we’re used to from him. It has a drive to it, a pulse, a gearshift that kicks higher and higher.

Long-shrouded mysteries that were first hinted at in The Broken Empire and carried over through The Red Queen’s War and The Book of the Ancestor were finally being cracked open wide here, revealing that Lawrence has been low-key creating a shared universe of his work all along. What else could be in store for the future of the Yaz-mere? We can already access two different series in two different eras. Perhaps there’s a third era of time in which we can further expand on the lore of a mysterious race or two? But I’m getting way ahead of myself. This book is having that effect on me. It’s provoking wild theories and getting me very, very excited for what’s to come. It’s that kind of book.

Every chapter kept getting better and better. There were many questions I had during The Book of the Ancestor series that were addressed here. New abilities, new environments, new threats, new characters to love and hate, themes and questions carried over from Nona’s story, a ton of new mysteries to solve... it was plain to see how carefully the scenes were constructed, and it all flowed wonderfully. Almost every chapter had something breath-catching in it.

The Girl and the Stars is more than the start of a new series. It’s the culmination of some of the best ideas of Lawrence’s previous works while promising that amazing things are still to come. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next Icepunk book in the Yaz-mere.

ARC via HarperCollinsUK

The Girl and the Stars with be released on April 30, 2020. Pre-order it here.

Review by

All reviews for Mark Lawrence's The Book of the Ice series

The Girl and the Stars
The Book of the Ice #1

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 thrownOn the vastness of t [...]

More Mark Lawrence reviews

Red Sister

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. [...]

Grey Sister

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of S [...]


This is a 16,000 word short story, primarily featuring Nona, Ara, Kettle, Regol. It should be read between Grey Sister and Holy Sister. [...]

Holy Sister

Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN. [...]

Prince of Thorns

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies [...]

King of Thorns

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the [...]

Emperor of Thorns

The path to the throne is broken – only the broken can walk it. The world is cracked and time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days. These are the day [...]

One Word Kill

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.Nick [...]

Limited Wish

One choice. Two possible timelines. And a world hanging in the balance.It’s the summer of 1986 and reluctant prodigy Nick Hayes is a student at Cambridge Unive [...]

Dispel Illusion

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to [...]

Prince of Fools

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other. Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line t [...]

The Liar's Key

The Red Queen has set her players on the board… Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be ho [...]


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