The Girl and the Moon

Given the cliffhanger ending of The Girl and the Mountain, I had no choice but to jump right into Mark Lawrence's The Girl and the Moon as soon as I could download the digital galley. As you know, in the second volume the author kicked us in the balls with revelations that all of his series were related. In the past, without such confirmation, though there were lots of clues and no small amount of coincidences, these could have all been easter eggs. But this time Lawrence spilled the beans and made it official. Made me want to reread everything just so I could see all that I've missed over the years. Sadly, I don't have time to do that. But one day I will. I have to now. There's no helping that.

Given that we now know that everything is connected, one way or the other, and with theories regarding just how everything fits together, The Girl and the Moon needed to deliver on various fronts in order to be what all Mark Lawrence fans wanted it to be. So let me set your mind at ease by confirming that it is that and then some!

Since this is one of the first reviews out there, I will keep everything spoiler-free. Not that I usually spoil anything. So if you wanted to discover whether or not those two Reddit write-ups from last year were on the money or just loony theories, you will have to read and find out for yourself.

Here's the blurb:

The green world exceeds and overwhelms all of Yaz’s expectations. Everything seems different but some constants remain: her old enemies are still two steps ahead, bent on her destruction.

The Corridor abounds with undreamed of plenty and with unsuspected danger. To stand a chance against the eyeless priest, Eular, and the god-like city-mind, Seus, Yaz will need to learn fast and make new friends.

The Convent of Sweet Mercy, like the Corridor itself, is packed with peril and opportunity. Yaz needs the nuns’ help – but first they want to execute her.

The fate of everyone squeezed between the Corridor’s vast walls, and ultimately the fate of those labouring to survive out on ice itself, hangs from the moon, and the battle to save the moon centres on the Ark of the Missing, buried beneath the emperor’s palace. Everyone wants Yaz to be the key that will open the Ark – the one the wise have sought for generations. But sometimes wanting isn’t enough.

This third volume begins right where its predecessor ended and Lawrence wastes no time in getting back on track. As was the case with The Girl and the Mountain, the aftermath of the cliffhanger ending gets resolved rather quickly. And even though you'd expect the pace never to be an issue in a final installment, the rhythm does lag for a while as the author sets everything up for the endgame. I felt that a little too much time was spent by the characters marveling at the wonders of the Corridor, things like trees, furniture, etc. It had to be done, of course, what with Yaz and the others coming from the ice where such things are either legends or have never been seen at all. Yet it was a bit overdone, in my humble opinion. Up until about the halfway point of the novel. Then the roller-coaster goes down and Lawrence takes us for a ride that will leave us breathless and begging for more. Don't expect the author to answer all our questions, for there won't be this big Perry Mason scene in which everything gets explained. I figure that I may have missed some nuances here and there. But Lawrence does provide some answers and gives us a few tantalizing hints of more to come. More than enough to keep us happy and foaming at the mouth for possible future books and series. Even if he isn't planning to explore such tales just yet.

In terms of characterization, I believe that The Girl and the Moon is the author's best effort thus far. There is something about Yaz, Quina, Thurin, Erris, Mali, and their plight that makes you care deeply and keeps you at the edge of your seat. Theus, Taproot, and new additions to the supporting cast like Sister Owl, Abbess Claw, and other sisters and novices from the Sweet Mercy Convent elevate this one to another level. For my money, this was the best cast ever assembled for a Mark Lawrence work. There are some poignant scenes that hit you like a punch in the gut, while others will warm your heart. These protagonists will stay with you long after you've reached the last page.

The Girl and the Moon is the culmination of the Book of the Ice trilogy. And as such, it's a terrific conclusion to a superior series. But it's so much more than that. It's also the culmination of Mark Lawrence's entire body of work, and that's what makes this one so special. Though it doesn't provide all the answers and it raises its fair share of new questions, this third installment is the novel that ties the Broken Empire, The Red Queen's War, the Book of the Ancestor, the Impossible Times, and the Book of the Ice series together in ways that will shock you.

Some authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and R. Scott Bakker set out to write dense and ambitious sagas, multilayered and continents-spanning epics filled with countless characters, and so vast in scope and vision that at times can be mind-blowing. Others, like Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Jacqueline Carey, and now Mark Lawrence, write shorter series and stand-alones that build on one another, slowly but surely creating worlds and protagonists that echo with as much depth as the universes of these aforementioned renowned worldbuilders. I've often complained that Lawrence played his cards too close to his chest when it came to worldbuilding, but the sneaky bastard really pulled the rug from under me. The funny thing about all this is that it wasn't truly planned to be this way. The author told me that planning is a hard concept to pin now. It has many incarnations, layers, and resolutions. Lawrence never sat down and wrote a detailed master plan spanning multiple trilogies. But he does have ideas, themes, etc, that he orbits about. Whatever the case may be, planned or not, in the end it brings those five series to a thrilling and fascinating conclusion.

Can Yaz and her friends and allies thwart Seus' plans of gaining control of the moon? Who is Theus and will he succeed in his endeavor? Who are the Missing and where have they gone? All these questions and plenty more will be answered in this novel.

The Girl and the Moon deserves the highest possible recommendation. I doubt you'll read a better book this year.

The final verdict: 9/10

For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

0 commentaires: