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Review: The Girl and the Mountain by Mark Lawrence


On Abeth there is only the ice. And the Black Rock.
For generations the priests of the Black Rock have reached out from their mountain to steer the ice tribes’ fate. With their Hidden God, their magic and their iron, the priests’ rule has never been challenged.
But nobody has ever escaped the Pit of the Missing before.

Yaz has lost her friends and found her enemies. She has a mountain to climb and even if she can break the Hidden God’s power her dream of a green world lies impossibly far to the south across a vast emptiness of ice. Before the journey can even start she has to find out what happened to the ones she loves and save those that can be saved.

Abeth holds its secrets close, but the stars shine brighter for Yaz and she means to unlock the truth.

To touch the sky, be prepared to climb.

The US version of The Girl and the Mountain (hardback), pictured with a PaperandWord booksleeve (Palm)


It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the first book in the Book of the Ice trilogy (you can read my thoughts here), and I’ve been endlessly excited to pick up book two, especially after that cliffhanger ending. If you haven’t already read book one, what are you waiting for?! It’s fantasy at its finest, a truly unique world with an intriguing magic system and lots of bits that will make you shudder in horror. Book two absolutely doesn’t disappoint, and whilst the world Yaz is travelling through this time is fairly different to that of book one, it was everything I wanted it to be.

As if I wasn’t already excited enough to read The Girl and the Mountain, it begins in a way that every single fantasy series should, with a reminder of what’s happened so far! I think I must have messaged around 20 friends screaming about how it’s the best idea and we need to see more of it. I read the first book at the end of 2019, and the world’s really gone through some stuff since then, so I can’t express how much I appreciated the reminders of both the plot and the characters. Consider this my petition to all authors/publishers to do the same every time!

What I really loved about The Girl and the Ice was the way it made me feel, completely and totally claustrophobic and as though someone had also trapped me under the ice. I had a similar reaction to book two, although this time it just made me feel bloody cold whilst the gang travel across the bleak and barren ice. The clever mix of technology, magic and just the relentless desolate ice plains really sucks you in, as it feels totally original and keeps you on your toes. There is a constant sense of peril at all stages of the journey, you know pretty much from the word go not to get too attached to anyone, as anything could happen at any point.

Character wise there is some great development through the pages of this one. I think Thurin may well have shunted Yaz off the top spot for favourite character, and I always enjoyed reading from his perspective. I liked the mix of POV characters, and each had their own clear distinctive voice. Yaz remains the fierce female we already know and love, but she grows as a person and becomes more than that. It’s hard to talk specifically about any characters in more than general terms, as there are just so many twists and turns and it’s far better entered into blind. The constant in the book is that you just never know who to truly to trust, who’s carrying ulterior motives and who is actually a friend.

Of course it wouldn’t have felt right if this book didn’t leave off on a massive cliffhanger as well. Literally the last sentence packs the biggest punch in the book, and now I’m back to eagerly awaiting the next read! A super satisfying second book in the series that expands the world and the magic system wonderfully. Definitely pick up these books, and Mark’s other works, if you like your fantasy novels with a razor sharp edge!!

Thank you so much to Mark for my review copy (this is the US cover) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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