Mark Lawrence, the Gemmell Award winning author, master wright of trilogies, curator of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, and all round nice person has another great book out. I would like to thank Harper Voyager and Mark Lawrence for sending me an advanced reader copy of The Girl and the Moon to be able to review it for Grimdark Magazine. I would also like to thank James Tivendale, of team GdM, for graciously letting me take up his mantle and review The Girl and the Moon for the site after he has so wonderfully reviewed the first two books of the trilogy.
Mark Lawrence is one of my auto-buy authors. I have never been disappointed with reading any of his works, so I went in to reading The Girl and the Moon expecting it to be a good use of my reading time. The final instalment of The Book of Ice exceeded my already high expectations. It is a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy and my favourite novel out of the three. Anyone who likes Lawrence’s writing will find The Girl and the Moon an enjoyable read. The first two novels of the series, The Girl and the Stars and The Girl and the Mountain are essential pre-reading before attempting to tackle The Girl and the Moon, but you do not need to have read any other of Lawrence’s work to fully enjoy this trio. Although fans of his will absolutely love spotting the ‘Easter eggs’ connecting parts of The Girl and the Moon to the wider Lawrence universe.
Before The Girl and the Moon properly begins Lawrence gives us a handy summary of ‘the story of far’ which covers the main characters and key plot points from the early two novels. This is a great memory refresher so you can jump straight in to the narrative of this novel without superfluous description or having had to complete a recent reread. After this very brief summary however, The Girl and the Moon takes off at a pace. The first chapter picks up almost immediately after the cliff hanger that Lawrence ended The Girl and the Mountain and boy is the first chapter good. It is a strong opening and Lawrence never lets up from then on. I found The Girl and the Stars and The Girl and the Mountain to be comparatively slower paced novels, and really enjoyed the heightened action and pressures that came with this new setting of The Corridor and the conclusion of Yaz’s journey.
The Girl and the Moon follows Yaz’s perspective and that of other key characters so there are some point of view shifts, but these flow well and never feel jarring or slow the novel down. The last one hundred or so pages of the novel were particularly gripping. The denouement was fantastically executed and not at all what I had predicted or expected. I know Mark Lawrence has previously said that he does not plot out his novels in great detail, so in my mind that makes The Girl and the Moon all the more awesome. Lawrence is nothing less than a genius.
The relationships of the key characters remain the heart of the series and the development of the four who travelled from the ice, Yaz, Quina, Thurin, and Erris, and their friendship was my favourite part of The Girl and the Moon. The new characters introduced in this novel are also a great addition to their cadre and I formed a strong attachment to them quickly. This is essential given the pace of the story but sometimes hard to do when characters arrive in the final part of a trilogy.
There are so many good things about The Girl and the Moon that is impossible to detail them without risking spoiling parts of the novel. It is a spectacular piece of writing and demonstrative of the consistently high standard readers have come to expect from Mark Lawrence. 5/5.