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Book Review: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1) by Mark Lawrence

Book Review: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1) by Mark Lawrence

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Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover illustration by: Jason Chan

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Book of the Ice (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 480 pages (UK Hardcover edition)

Published: 30th April 2020 by Harper Voyager (UK) & 21st April 2020 by Ace (US)


Great world-building and prose, but I have mixed feelings on the book.

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Book Review: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

Book Review: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)


The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Ace) in exchange for an honest review.

“Many babies have killed, but it is very rare that the victim is not their mother.”

So begins Mark Lawrence’s newest novel, The Girl and the Stars. As always, Lawrence knows how to captivate an audience and set the tone for the book all within the first sentence. We know immediately that Yaz of the Ictha, our perspective character, is an uncommon child. On the Ice, difference can be a death sentence. And not just because those differences often render their bearer vulnerable, but because children who are too different, broken in the eyes of their elders, end up being tossed into the Pit. And that is the end that Yaz envisions for herself with a hard clarity. But when the time comes for her to face the push that will send her into the abyss, things go differently that she had always imagined. What she fully expected to be the end of her story turned out to be its true beginning.

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The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Book of the Ice (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Science Fiction

Published:  21 April 2020 by HarperVoyager (UK) and by Ace (US)


A scintillating start to this new series!

Omens are difficult and open to interpretation but if the oracle that touches your newborn dies moments later, frothing at the mouth, it is hard even with a mother’s love to think it is a good sign. In such cases a second opinion is often sought.

If the old adage that you’re only as good as your last book holds true for authors, then it’s hardly a surprise that one of my most highly anticipated book releases of the year was The Girl and the Stars. Full disclosure, that’s a complete understatement. Mark Lawrence delivered an emphatically stunning and satisfying conclusion with Holy Sister, finishing off his The Book of the Ancestor (TBOTA) series in some style and simultaneously pushing my hype levels for his next project through the roof (although I am still not over some of the heartaches he caused me). I did not think I could be more excited. That was until I heard that his new book was set in the same world as that previous series. It’s safe to say that if I had access to a Delorean, I’d have read this quite a while ago.

*For those who have not yet read TBOTA series, you are welcome to read The Girl and the Stars first. You won’t be missing out on anything that will take away any understanding or enjoyment from this read.

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Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists.


If you’d like to see more stats about my reading year, click here.

The literary world was kind to me this year.  In 2019, I read over 115 books, and a ton of those have been 4 or 5 star reads. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to my top 20 books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads for the entire year. That being said, every single book on this list was a 4.5 or 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2019.

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists. Check out his portfolio, he’s brilliant.


Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2019)

Here we are, we’re reaching the end of 2019 very soon! This year, I’ve read and reviewed 115 books (96 traditionally published books + 19 indie books.)

It’s lower than the previous two years, but I must say that it’s been another incredible reading year for me. Putting the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year into consideration, I will be applying four rules into this list; doing this will help me give appreciation to more authors, and I’ll be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) rather than having only a few authors/books hoarding the list every year.

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Unless specified, the books listed here are published this year.
  • Number one spot aside, none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; it’s too difficult for me to rank them accordingly.

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2019! (Full reviews of these books can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


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Book Review: Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Book Review: Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Book of the Ancestor (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy

Published:  4th April 2019 by Harper Voyager (UK) and 9th April 2019 by Ace (US)


Incredibly satisfying, Holy Sister is a powerful conclusion to a remarkable trilogy that shines most brilliantly with its superb characterisation.

I am truly impressed with Mark Lawrence’s ability to write such realistic and relatable female characters, and to achieve that across such a wide range of age, backgrounds and personality of all the nuns and novices. I loved how he managed to make each and every one of them shine in different ways. To top it all off, it was the amazing portrayal of friendship, love and bonds between these characters that tied it all together in a most emotionally captivating narrative of sisterhood.

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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 Lists. His work is amazing, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been favored with it. Thank you so much, Felix!

So far, 2019 has been an incredible reading year for me. Between January 1st and June 30th I read right around 60 books, and have found a number of new favorites. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to ten books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads. That being said, every single book on this list was a 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link  in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of the past six months.

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One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)

One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

One Word Kill is my first experience with Lawrence’s science fiction and, while it didn’t resonate with my soul as deeply as his Book of the Ancestor, it was a solid, fun, fast-paced read that I very much enjoyed. Here we have a nerdy group of friends, similar in dynamic to the crew that has taken the world by storm in Netflix’s Stranger Things. This group finds themselves facing external strife through contact with a plot that could have come straight from the pages of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter. But just as harrowing is their internal turmoil as they learn that one of their number is currently in a battle for his life against the grimmest of foes: cancer.

In hospital they ask you to rate your discomfort on a scale of ten. I guess it’s the best they can come up with, but it fails to capture the nature of the beast. Pain can stay the same while you change around it. And, like a thumb of constant size, what it blocks out depends on how close it gets to you. At arm’s length a thumb obscures a small fragment of the day. Held close enough to your eye it can blind you to everything that matters, relegating the world to a periphery.

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Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

ARC provided by the publisher—Ace—in exchange for an honest review.

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Holy Sister is an incredibly powerful and satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogy I’ve ever read.

I won’t lie, a week ago I started rereading Red Sister mostly for the purpose of satisfying my completionist nature and eventually putting Book of the Ancestor into my “completed series I’ve read” list. However, the incredible of rereading Red Sister made me incoherently excited to continue with the series and here I am now. I have binged read and reviewed the entire series within a week, and I can say with confidence that this series has become one of my favorite coming-of-age fantasy series of all time.

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Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An action-packed sequel that offers relatable commentary about faith, corruption, authority, and family.

So far, this is the highest and the most positive rating I ever gave to Lawrence’s middle-book installment; I gave both King of Thorns and The Liar’s Key 2.5/5 stars. I am very pleased to say that I loved Grey Sister. Even though I loved Red Sister more, Grey Sister was another great volume for the series and depending on how I feel about the third and final volume, Book of the Ancestor could actually end up becoming one of my favorite trilogies.

“The understanding that power corrupts is an idea older than the language we repeat in. All of us in positions that afford authority over others are susceptible, be we high priests, prime instigators, even abbesses.”

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