The Girl and the Moon – Mark Lawrence

“Yaz had walked on water her entire life, and now in this place where it fell molten from the skies they planned to drown her in the stuff.”

And finally, the end not just of the Book of the Ice trilogy, but a story begun in Red Sister that, according to the author, ties in with no fewer than 9 other books of his. I have some serious back-reading to do!

But, here we are, at the end of Yaz’s journey. It’s been momentous: from scraping a hard living on the ice to discovering a city and community beneath her feet; overturning centuries of abuse her people faced at the hands of the so-called priests; and fulfilling her dreams of seeing the semi-mythological green lands. This picks up immediately from the cliff-hanger ending of the previous instalment.

I absolutely squeed when we reached the Convent of Sweet Mercy in book 2, linking up fully with the Book of the Ancestor – but, eagle-eyed readers might have already sussed that this is set before the earlier series, by some 80 years. That new-old element joins several others requiring resolution here, not to mention finding a way to feel satisfyingly concluded given we’ve already had a big flash forward. There are enemies breathing down Yaz’s back – mortal and more/less so. There are ‘stars’ to create and use, too.

After finding the middle book, The Girl and the Mountain, a little busy and not quite as top-notch as I hoped, I am thoroughly pleased with how well this book ties up everything. But it’s not just connecting the remaining dots: there is plenty of unpredictability still to throw the reader before we reach the end. And throughout it all, first class writing, excellent characterisation and relationships, and world building that it still doesn’t feel like we’ve seen even half of.

The blend between fantasy and sci-fi is handled excellently as well, with the later perhaps getting a little more prominence than in previous books – as is fitting for explaining a lot of the story.

I still didn’t quite love The Book of the Ice in the same way that The Book of the Ancestor absolutely captured me: not because it’s a lessor work, but perhaps because it’s a little more of a slow-burn. I still could have spent another trilogy revelling in the world! But it was still excellent, and even better: an excellent excuse to go back to Nona’s story, and really see all of the clever connection more deeply. Yaz’s last words to Mali, for instance, have been uttered before. It’s glorious to see!

Recommendation for the series, the previous series, and to myself now for the other 5 (?) of Mark Lawrence’s series, too!

The Girl and the Moon book coverNetGalley eArc: 416 pages / 55 chapters
First published: 28th April 2022
Series: Book of the Ice book 3
Read from 23rd-28th April 2022

My rating: 9/10

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