BOOK REVIEW | THE GIRL AND THE STARS BY MARK LAWRENCE & NARRATED BY HELEN DUFF

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Today I will be posting my review of Mark Lawrence’s ‘The Girl and the Stars’. Firstly, I would like to thank Harper Voyager/Harper Collins for approving of my NetGalley request of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about The Girl and the Stars:

  • Title: The Girls and the Stars
  • Author: Mark Lawrence
  • Series: Book of the Ice (Book One)
  • Published by Harper Collins UK
  • Pages: 480
  • Narration Length: 18 Hours 31 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. 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 not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

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

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Girl and the Stars:

  • YA;
  • Stunning prose;
  • Amazing world building rich in lore and filled with stunning landscapes; and
  • An imaginative and visual magic system.

On to the full review…

As usual when I have listened to a book through audio I shall start my review with a few comments as to that experience.

This audiobook is narrated by the super talented Helen Duff, I do believe she does most, if not all, of Mark’s books. She has such a lovely voice and, as with the others I have listened to, she is great for even a new listener of audiobooks.

I did knock the speed up of this audio a little but she still sounds great when doing this, she really brings the characters and world to life.

Her voice really reminds me Gemma Arterton, so if you like her voice you will LOVE Helen Duff.

Now, to the book itself…

Firstly, a little praise to the cover of this book, I really like the cover, it is such a lovely and neat cover with such emphasis on the beautiful artwork.

It would appear that Mark is brilliant at writing an absolutely cracking first line of a book! It instantly captivates you has you wondering what world we have just entered.

“Many babies have killed, but it is very rare that the victim is not their mother.”

In this book we follow Yas on her journey both atop the ice and below it, it is all done through her eyes with a single POV. While I did want more from the characters as a whole, Yas was enjoyable to read and showed often that she was loyal to those she cared about and willing to take risks. Yas’ journey is one of survival, in which she has to navigate an entirely new world to find her brother and save him.

“…it’s better to die trying for a life we can take for ourselves than to die fighting each other in the dark for an existence we were condemned to.”

This book doesn’t really stop, I didn’t feel like there was much down time in this book, the characters never stop moving but that is to be expected in a journey such as Yas’ so that isn’t a complaint!

The Girl and the Stars is such a beautifully written book in its entirety, Lawrence builds a stunning world despite the fact that is it essentially a frozen wasteland and really demonstrates the harshness of the environment that our characters are subjected too.

“Now though, with darkness and despair literally reaching out to engulf her, she knew how cruel and fragile a thing hope is, and how sharp the edges of new forged dreams can be once shattered.”

There is so much detail about the world you are in, its traditions and its history both known to its people and some history now lost to them.

“Even so, it held a beauty and a peace: black rock, ice in every shade of pearl between white and clarity, the marbled seams of stardust glowing in all the colours that can be broken from the light.”

This book focuses on themes such as finding ones self and accepting the realities of who you are, it focus’ on friendships and family too, so yanno it has one of my favourite tropes…the found family. I have such a soft spot for groups of unknowns who soon become a tight nit unit together.

I also quite enjoyed the magic of this frozen wasteland, it was really fun and paired with Lawrence’s wonderful prose and worldbuilding it also became a stunning one visually.

“There’s no such thing as magic. If a thing is part of the world, part of how it works, then it’s real and obeys laws just like gravity and electricity do.” 

One of my issues – and I say issues loosely because I can’t think of another way to say it – was the young adult nature of this book. I don’t have an issue with YA when I know I’m reading it, and I was of the opinion that this book would be more of an adult fantasy, but it isn’t…in my opinion at least. I would certainly tag this as YA, and no that has absolutely nothing to do with the age of the characters. It was more to do with the storytelling, its narrative if you will, despite being beautifully written it still felt YA through its characters, their interactions and the relationships they develop very quickly and deeply throughout this story.

The Girl and the Stars seems to fall victim to some of the common YA themes also, namely the instalove vibes going on in this book. I think Yas had at least three admirers and I am pretty sure there was definitely the beginnings of a love triangle.

The characters were a little surface level at times, I did enjoy reading them I did also want more, a greater depth to them all. Some more than others.

I really liked Erris, I think he was probably my favourite character and I found myself listening the much more intently when he was present.

I think my “issues” with the characters in this instalment will however be dealt with in book two, the characters have so much more to face and I think it will really bring more out about them.

While this book fell short in some areas it is a good first instalment with a really interesting and creative plot. It is a series I will continue as I am eager to find out what the world has planned for Yas and her companions.


As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale.

I think this book would fall into the BUY THE PAPERBACK.

  • This is an enjoyable book, and one in which I will read the next book of the series.
  • If the eBook was not the same price as the paperback I would probably rate this as a buy the ebook but that’s also because I listened to this via audiobook and really enjoyed the experience. This is a really costly eBook at £7.99. The paperback is actually £0.08 cheaper!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!

2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW | THE GIRL AND THE STARS BY MARK LAWRENCE & NARRATED BY HELEN DUFF

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