Overview (No Spoilers):
After the cliffhanger that Lawrence leaves the reader with at the end of The Girl and the Stars I couldn’t wait to pick up the sequel, eager to find out what was in store for Yaz and hopefully have some Black Rock secrets revealed.
The Girl and the Mountain is a tale of two books. The first half of this book takes place in the Black Rock, and is chock full of revelations and action-packed sequences. Confident I was nearing the end of this novel based on the rather intense situation Yaz finds herself, I was surprised at the realization I was actually only half way through. A prolonged ice trek significantly slows the pace throughout the second half of this book, but brings these characters to their breaking points, both physically and mentally. Islands of salvation, in the form of long lost technology, offer respite from the unabating cold and wind for both Yaz and the reader. These forgotten havens provide a place for the crew to recharge while simultaneously yielding the secrets of The Missing. While the second half of this novel is notably different from the series thus far, it served to set the stage for the last installment of the series by fleshing out the supporting cast, as well as embarking on deep soul searching for Yaz as she reassesses her engrained Ictha ways.
With the core group scattered in the aftermath of The Girl and the Stars, Lawrence introduces two new perspectives to open more facets of the mysterious Black Rock. Moreover, gaining access to Quell and Thurin serves to add depth to Yaz’s two love interests with their motivations, fears, and ambitions becoming transparent. After a mid-book apogee worthy of its own book, the story mostly contracts back to Yaz. This abrupt change, as discussed above, feels appropriate as Yaz sets out on a new grueling journey of reflection and survival where the incessant cold seems to leak through the pages.
The end of The Girl and the Mountain packs in so many long anticipated events that I didn’t want the journey to end. Yaz finally receives a respite from the cold and is poised to exponentially expand the literary world when Lawrence unveils a plot twist that cracks foundations that had been building since The Girl and the Stars.
Overall, despite reading like two different novels, I genuinely enjoyed the story Yaz finds herself immersed in, with The Girl and the Mountain maintaining a breakneck pace through the first half, before settling into the uncomfortable cold for a journey of rapid growth, both in personal and world expansion.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What did the Ictha and other tribes think of some of The Broken returning? What about Zeen and Yaz’s parents?
- It was painful to read about Erris and Zox slowly losing power in the cold. Will there be other areas for Erris to recharge? Will Maliaya’s people want to experiment on Erris?
- The scene where Regulator Kazik gouges out his eyes to become a new vessel for The Hidden God was so very cringy. I’d thought Eular was dead, how did he show up in the Greenbelt? Will Yaz be able to save Taproot or her friends?
- Maya’s death was brutal and devastating for the group. She was definitely missed as a character, but her death was obviously building with the setup of who was going to pass through the hole next. Kao’s death was a lot more shocking because it came out of nowhere and violated rules that we had thought were established.
- I totally called Theus being alive in Zox! What will he do now that Yaz is captured by Eular?
- I loved the random scene where Yaz, Thurin, and Taproot were hijacked by the cities while they were using the portal. It raised so many questions. I kept viewing the cities as massive titans. How can Seus be stopped?
- Will Hetta show up again or was she killed in the water? I loved learning more about her, which moved her beyond a mindless killing machine, to a character deserving of our empathy.
- I have not read The Book of the Ancestor trilogy yet (next on my list before I finish this series) so I will make the assumption I missed many connections between that series and Maliaya.
- Who were the three witches that Thurin met in the Black Rock? They obviously harken back to the three Fates, but where do they come from in the context of this story and what role do they play?
- Speaking of the Fates, Theus mentioned that his parents took him to a witch for a prophecy, which rings familiar with the prologue. Is Theus the baby in the prologue?
- What are the other applications of the Haze Gates?