Took me a while to get into it but I ended up enjoying it.
We start with Yaz living on the ice with her family and tribe. There is a ritual that all kids have to go through twice, where they are tested by a priest and if they are not deemed strong enough they are thrown into a pit in the ice to die. Yaz is convinced she will be found unworthy and when her worst fears are realized, she finds that down that hole there is a whole new world and it is far older than she can imagine.
I was very much looking forward to this book as I really enjoyed the Book of the Ancestor trilogy and wanted to know more about the tribes on the ice and the world of the Missing. I definitely got what I wanted. We find out a lot about the Missing and what the world was like before and what may have happened. We find out the hard choices that the tribes have to make to survive in a world that is on average around -80C, without taking wind into account. It’s a brutal world and that’s without taking into consideration the technology of the Missing, of which most is actively lethal.
Saying all that, though I enjoyed the book overall, I was frustrated with most of the read. I think the issue was the main character Yaz. Basically I just found her rather bland and boring and struggled with how every other character around her thought she was the best thing ever within a minute of meeting her or hated her because she was so good at everything. I read another review that said she is basically the Mary Sue of some Young Adult novels and I broadly agree with that. The events of the book take place over only a few days but she’s basically running the place in that time and has a group of people who would do anything for her. There is also a love triangle (well rectangle).
The pace was also non-stop. That’s not always a bad thing but I think a bit of time for Yaz to have settled and developed proper friendships would have helped with some of the issues I mention above. I think the whole arc with Pome could have been dropped without affecting the story too much and given the story a bit more time to breathe. This is the least enjoyable read of Mark Lawrence’s I’ve had so far but honestly even a ‘bad’ Mark Lawrence book is still pretty good. I’ll continue the series of course and looking forward to it actually as I believe it’s going to tie into the Book of the Ancestor series as well.
3.5 stars rounded down