Overview (No Spoilers):
I am in no way ready for my time in Abeth to be over. The Girl and the Moon is the final installment of The Book of Ice, but in many ways it feels like a conclusion for both this trilogy and The Book of the Ancestor as it satisfyingly ties together these overlapping stories.
As I mentioned above, The Girl and the Moon’s time frame directly overlaps Holy Sister, and ties in multiple situations and characters throughout that first trilogy. I read these two trilogies in what I would have to assume is a rather odd order for the majority of Lawrence fans, but I’m going to make the very biased (and narcissistic) suggestion that it is the best order regarding how I was introduced to Abeth. Of course I’ll cite my reasons as to why this order has its benefits, but please keep in mind that my recommendation is based on how I was introduced to Abeth from the ice, which made the first glimpse of the Corridor that much more surprising.
- The Girl and the Stars
- Due to starting out with The Girl and the Stars, my first introduction to Abeth was the unforgiving ice. With survival being a constant struggle, the Corridor seems like a far-fetched myth and with the story starting in such an isolated location, the potential was limitless for Lawrence to expand upon. That said, I didn’t have a clue that The Book of the Ancestor had already established the Corridor.
- The Girl and the Mountain
- In The Girl and the Mountain, Yaz and her friends start their trek across the vast ice in search of the Corridor. By not reading The Book of the Ancestor first, I knew as much about this world as Yaz, which meant that it was a mystery for all as to if they were relentlessly facing the bitter cold for a myth that didn’t exist. Ultimately, that first view of the Corridor was just as shocking and exciting for me as it was for them. Plus, I loved meeting Mali in her youth without any preconceived knowledge regarding how powerful she would grow to be and the role she would play in the future.
- Red Sister
- After a much welcomed and appreciated recommendation, I switched over to The Book of the Ancestor after the second novel of The Book of Ice trilogy where I learned more about the Corridor and its complicated politics, religion, and Sweet Mercy. The rest of the reading order follows as expected.
- Grey Sister
- Holy Sister
- The Girl and the Moon
So much that happens in The Girl and the Moon that it’s amazing that Lawrenece packs it all into one book, while still maintaining natural pacing and smooth transitions. The previous two The Book of Ice installments concluded with brilliant cliffhangers, with The Girl and the Moon picking right up with an equally suspenseful and dangerous sequence that will push Yaz and her crew to the limit. Talk about a beginning that will leave a reader aggressively flipping pages as escape seems nigh impossible.
The Ice Tribers’ wonderment at the plenty of the Corridor is so much fun to read, especially Quina’s over the top reactions. Multiple times, this story had me laughing out loud, usually at the hunska’s antics. As I was first introduced to Sweet Mercy through Nona’s eyes, I loved seeing the convent through fresh eyes, though I am thankful for Nona’s experiences as it gave me a deeper appreciation for trials such as the Blade-Path and the Path Tower.
The ending is surprisingly hopeful and optimistic for Lawrence, not that I’m complaining in any way, shape, or form. There are at least three other micro endings in The Girl and the Moon that have a more traditional ending, which Quina sums up perfectly by asking multiple times if this is really what winning is supposed to feel like. The true ending left so much potential for long-term hope that one couldn’t help but smile.
I feel like a reread for both of these trilogies will be in my future as the complexity and intricate interweaving of the stories leaves new revelations that emerge in increasing frequency as the story draws to a close. From an analytical perspective, the layering is incredibly fascinating and has me mulling over connections I might have missed. Lawrence even manages to link his The Broken Empire trilogy to Abeth in a way that will have the reader reassessing interactions in a new light.
Overall, The Girl and the Moon is a brilliant conclusion to two trilogies that I have positively loved with their powerful, strong female protagonists and detailed worldbuilding that effortlessly brings to life a dying planet and forgotten technologies with mutated motivations.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What does it mean for Prometheius’ people that the Hot Sea is not opening up?
- The water of the Glasswater sinkhole being used by and to flood the caverns of the Broken took a minute for me to link. Essentially the Thurin fought for survival against this water twice?
- Eular being killed by Hetta was rather anticlimactic, but also equal parts shocking and fitting. Will Agatta let Hetta go?
- What is Agatta’s end game or motivations?
- I’m surprised groton wasn’t used in some way during The Book of the Ancestor.
- Yaz completing the Blade-Path while drugged, blind folded, and having never done it before was insane.
- How did Krey and Jeccis become so loyal to Eular and Seus?
- Quina giving a sex talk to the whole dorm of young girls was positively hilarious.
- It made my heart so happy that Yaz ended up with Quell.
- What was the burning water fire that Prometheus brought Yaz. I’m glad we got a glimpse of Theus reunited with Prometheus. Early this book when Theus mentions he was a king and briefly an emperor, while also threatening the first technology he saw with a sword it was light a lightning bolt. Theus is Jorg?? Prometheus seemed too happy to be Jorg though.
- What happened with Sister Owl’s murder trial?
- Who has Theus inhabited over the years? Was he in Tarkax for The Book of the Ancestor?
- We met Nona and Ara at the end! What did they think of Yaz and her crew?
- I love that Clera is a descendant of Quina and Thurin!
- What happened to Thurn and Quina on their journey?
- I was really hoping that some of the people trapped eons ago by the time star would end up getting released. Just imagine their stories.
- What happened at the Academy when their shipheart never returned. And one of the shiphearts ended up at Sweet Mercy?
- Where was Erris in The Book of the Ancestor?
- The drowning scene was so very stressful! Ugh. What a way to start a book!