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The Girl and the Stars

Book of the Ice, Book 1
Narrated by: Helen Duff
Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the critically acclaimed author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister comes a chilling new epic fantasy series.

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.

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

©2020 Mark Lawrence (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"An excellent writer." (Number one New York Times best-selling author George R.R. Martin)

"Dark, passionate, tense, with a female hero anyone could relate to - I was utterly fascinated! This is no pretty, flowery tale, but one of vastly different people struggling to survive when a hostile government comes to power." (Number one New York Times best-selling author Tamora Pierce)

"If you like dark you will love Mark Lawrence. And when the light breaks through and it all makes sense, the contrast is gorgeous." (Number one New York Times best-selling author Robin Hobb)

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loved it

Mark's amazing literary skill to gift us, though fiction, such deep human truths astounds me. The depth of character and the vulnerable truth of human nature delivered in this science fiction world is exquiste.
I can't wait for the next book

2 people found this helpful

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An excellent read

This new story arc in the world of his previous (and magnificent) Book of the Ancestors series is very promising. It’s a bit uneven in the way the plot moves, racing swiftly through some events and then slowing down for others, almost as if there could have been a two books here that have been edited down to one. Helen Duff is an excellent narrator and carried the book up a level.

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Great narrator

Helen duff does a great job narrating this book, as she did with the red sister series. This book was great, although almost a little too action packed, but still a sold book

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-05-2020

Slow and repetitive

The story stars well with an interesting culture based on the Ice. The world is from another series and so is the magic system, considering this it was disappointing to hear the same story line within the book over and over again. Searching for someone - find them - fight - repeat. The story doesn’t move on at all and most felt like filler. Very disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • James Pougher
  • 27-05-2020

Not Mark Lawrence's best work

I finished this out of a sense of obligation and a hope it might live up to the Red Queen trilogy, unfortunately i don't think it did and i wont be finishing this trilogy. The ending felt episodic and the protagonist wasn't as complicated or likeable as I was expecting from this author.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Atlas
  • 06-07-2020

Not as good as Red Sister

I will preface this review by saying that I LOVE LOVE LOVED Red Sister and the sequels. I adored them. I loved Nona Grey and her world and I was thrilled to step back into it. I wanted to once again live in Abeth and it's ever encroaching ice. And The Girl and the Stars started off strong but slowly devolved into something that I had to slog through.

Yaz is of the Ichta tribe who roam the coldest ice. Any child who cannot survive on the ice - including those who have one of the four bloods inside of them - are tossed into the Pit. Yaz knows she will not survive the regulator's inspection. She has seen that she is not as strong, not as fast, not as resolute against the ever invading chill of the ice as the rest of her tribe. And she is right. Down beneath the ice, Yaz discovers another world and questions everything she has ever believed.

So far, so good. I was enraptured, taken in by the story and the desire to know what happens next. But as the book went on, my interest waned. Predominantly because this book is way too long. I listened to the audiobook and it was 18 hours. Too long. This book could have lost at least a hundred pages. It is far too long for the fact that it essentially only has one setting and that there is never any down time: Yaz is constantly either in a fight or running from a fight. This book is 480 pages of:

Thinking about her brother
Trying to choose between two (three?) guys
Fighting
Thinking about how she's going to be in a fight

That gets old pretty fast. I'm not all that interested in picking up the next book. I'm still a big Mark Lawrence fan, but The Girl and the Stars just didn't impress me all that much.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-06-2020

Decent, but a step down from its predecessors

I'm a big fan of Mark Lawrence and loved Helen Duff's reading of the Red Sister trilogy, but this is rather less compelling. It's got a lot I like, including some great turns of phrase, but something about the pacing just didn't quite work for me. From about halfway through I found my attention wandering - too much action, not enough character development, maybe. The whole book is packed into a very short time (a couple of weeks I think), which might be why - Red Sister spanned years, allowing people, friendships, characters to change and mature. I'll still be there for the sequel, but I hope it feels less claustrophobic. Maybe I'll listen again and come back to this review...

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  • Loubytee
  • 20-06-2020

A frozen rabbit hole of Grimdark goodness

Mark Lawrence has fast become my favourite author. Yes, TGATS is grim and dark but never overwhelmingly so. It’s intriguing and whimsical, peppered with little gems of hidden stories within stories that effortlessly pull you along. Before you know it, you’re sinking deeper and deeper into this glorious twinkling whirlpool of fantasy, science, horror, beauty, quality one-liners and plain stunned silence. It’s just absolutely beautifully written. Feeling a bit bereft now I’ve finished it. Eagerly waiting for the sequel! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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  • Jack
  • 08-06-2020

A Bit Disappointing

I have enjoyed every one of Mark Lawrence's series and I had thought that he was getting better with every series he writes but this is a real dip in quality (this is written before any other books in the series so it might redeem itself later but at present it's his worst one).

The book was a slog and towards the end I was just waiting for the book to end. Yaz is sort of unlikable, unrelatable and uninteresting and her motivations seem a bit weird and her decisions seem to make little sense most of the time. I could see the ending coming quite a way off too.

I was also utterly fed up of the "fake-out" deaths that the author seems really fond of (i.e. where a character seems dead but, surprise, they're not). I find them to be a really cheap narrative device especially when utterly overused like in this book. It was annoying enough when he used it in his previous series but, in those cases, it was used sparingly.

I have liked Lawrence's work enough that I'll probably buy book 2 when it comes out in the hope it gets better but if you're new to Lawrence's work then try one of his other series of books first.

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  • Michael Loryman
  • 23-05-2020

New Heroes & Adventures

Outstanding story with characters to love & loathe as we follow the latest hero and allies imagined by Mark Lawrence in their adventures under the ice of Abath. Enough threads drawn from Nona’s world to maintain a degree of comfort and new twists to keep us hooked. Narrated brilliantly with a bewildering array of accents by Helen Duff. Highly recommended

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  • Cfc Caumartin
  • 19-05-2020

less than satisfying

I have an eerie sense of déjà vu.....I was not keen on Red Sister the first of the book of the ancestors trilogy by the same author. I find the universe created compelling and the story is ok , but goodness me the main character is incredibly silly and annoying. As in Red sister, the main character is gifted with super powers, but she is a very angry teen who constantly acts rashly and without much thought. repeatedly I keep thinking « what a stupid girl ». Quite frankly the lack of emotional depth and complexity in the characters pushes this novel into young adult literature territory. However, the universe is as compelling as ever and in Book of ancestors, the main character did some serious growing up and the annoying traits of the first volume gradually disappeared. Hopefully, this will follow a similar pattern because at this rate I cannot see myself following this though the end.

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  • purple paladin
  • 10-05-2020

Disappointing

Having really loved the Red Sister series I was looking forward to this. However although some of the same elements and really great imagery, it drags in places, is somewhat repetitive and is incredibly bleak. The relationships between the characters were a bit hollow and although I could understand the intent they just seemed a bit weak. Despite the cliffhanger ending, I won't be reading the next one.