The Girl and the Mountain (Book of the Ice #2) by Mark Lawrence

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Let the long game commence

Girl1Two things I have consistently mentioned in my reviews for books by Mark Lawrence.  Firstly, his style of writing is a joy to read and, secondly, he is masterful when it comes to the long game.

That being said, The Girl and the Stars, although I enjoyed it, was not my favourite of his work, although the prose was delicious and we were introduced to a bunch of new characters struggling to survive.  When I say it wasn’t my favourite, of course, I should point out it was still a 4 star read for me so don’t be distracted by my pointing that out.  Unfortunately Mr Lawrence has found himself up on a high pedestal, it’s a precarious place and all I can say is that with great success comes great expectations.

Now, before I start this review I would mention that this being a second book in series this review will undoubtedly contain unintentional spoilers.  I would also  suggest that if you’re intending to read this you should start with the first book in series as opposed to crashing in, in fact I think it might even be helpful to read Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor series (okay, it’s not essential that you do so but I certainly got a kick out of the conclusion to this one that was definitely served better by being familiar with that series).

Very helpfully the author provides a refresher before the book begins which I really appreciated. The Girl and the Mountain then picks up almost immediately where The Girl and the Stars left off.  Yaz has escaped the Pit of the Missing but is nonetheless in dire straits in fact you could reasonably suggest that a fitting catchphrase for this book (nay the series) might be ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’.  The friends that accompanied her have a much more perilous journey but eventually all the characters find themselves trapped inside the home of the priests, the Black Rock – which undoubtedly, and rightly, has an ominous ring. Now this portion of the book contains plenty to grip readers.  None of which I’m going to describe.  I would advise you to harden your heart because along with some shocking revelations for the characters there is also a little heartbreak along the way.  So, we discover that much of the way of life on the ice is founded on deception and lies, we already discovered some of that in book 1 but the start of TGatM reinforces it further and also reveals a much bigger conspiracy.

Yaz and a number of companions then undertake a perilous journey in search of the ‘fabled’ green land they’ve heard about.  This section of the story really concentrates on the characters.  Well, don’t get me wrong, there is hardship, danger and action but for me this really cements some of the friendships and helps to show the characters in a different light. Yaz is perhaps most in her comfort zone (if you can describe such conditions as comfortable) and even she loses her way a little as their journey progresses.  This journey is hard to say the least.

The story then takes a most extraordinary leap of imagination which even now is making my head spin.  To be honest I really don’t want to give anything away but it’s at times like this that I have an overwhelming desire to work my way back through some of the author’s other series.  Basically there’s a fusion of sci fi and fantasy here that starts to make me look at other things with curious eyes.  Anyway, I can’t speculate about it because I’m going round in circles arguing with myself about what it all means and trying to figure it out. Watch this space – but don’t hold your breath.

And, undeniably I loved the way that this one concluded.  Yes, it is a cliffhanger but it’s the sort of ending that makes me really anxious to pick up the next book.

What worked really well for me was travelling further afield, uncovering deceptions, greater character development and the promise of future reveals.

In terms of criticisms.  I thought that there was a slight slowing down as Yaz and her friends traversed the ice, but it was only a very slight blip before the author threw in the next crisis.  To be fair I enjoyed this section of the story for the character development that it allowed.

Overall I enjoyed this one.  It’s a book that really takes things forward in a very interesting way and I look forward to seeing where the author takes us next.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 stars

 

 

Friday Face Off : Your Current Read

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

Hopefully this week’s theme should be fairly easy (although sometimes with newer books there aren’t always lots of cover to compare).  This week, and the book I’m currently reading, has two covers so this will be a face off.  The book in question is The Girl and the Mountain (Book of the Ice #2) by Mark Lawrence, and here are the two covers:

vs

Girl2

I find it really difficult to choose between these two tbh.  I like both of them for entirely different reasons.  I love the first one with the dark background and the font colour that really pops.  Then the character wrapped up in all those furs against the cold.  The second one is almost completely different in terms of overall feel with a much lighter tone and the character walking towards the rather foreboding mountain (whereas in the first cover she’s walking away from it – I had to take a second or third glance because the mountain in the first isn’t immediately obvious). I have veered between the two covers, and so perhaps my final choice is based more on familiarity but my favourite this week is:

Girl1

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

2021

April

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

Wondrous Words and Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Girl and the Mountain by Mark Lawrence

Every Wednesday I take part in Waiting on Wednesday, I’m also hoping to take part in a new meme being hosted by Elza Reads called Wondrous Words Wednesday.  I’ll be combining these into the same posts as they’re both short and sweet.  

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Girl and the Mountain (Book of the Ice #2) by Mark Lawrence.  I’ve been waiting for a description for this one so that I could showcase it.  Here goes:

On the planet 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 fate of the ice tribes. With their Hidden God, their magic and their iron, the priests’ rule has never been questioned. But when ice triber Yaz challenged their authority, she was torn away from the only life she had ever known, and forced to find a new path for herself.

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.

Expected Publication : April 2021

You can also check out the first chapter here.

Check out both covers here: do you have a favourite?

***

WWW

This meme was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion Blog and has now been adopted by Elza Reads

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.  

No rules just enjoy and for further info check out Elza Reads.

My word this week is:

Schadenfreude

Now, as this is my first week, I helpfully made a note of a couple of words that I fancied using and then very unhelpfully didn’t write down which book I read them from.  Yeah….  So, I’ve wracked my tiny little pea sized brain and I’m fairly certain I know where I picked this week’s nugget from.  So, definition:

Schadenfreude, noun
 
a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else

Here’s an interesting article about the secret joys of the word.

And here’s the book where I’m 99.8% certain I read this last week, for which my review is due on Thursday:

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift.  Description here.

Lastone

That’s it for this week.  If you’re taking part in both of these or either please don’t forget to link up.

 

 
 

December Countdown, Day 24 : Christmas Eve

December book meme (details here). Christmas Eve – One of your most anticipated books for 2021 :

Girl and the Mountain