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10Apr

The best science fiction and fantasy – review roundup

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence; The Book of Koli by MR Carey; Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth; Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova; Looking Glass by Christina Henry

Mark Lawrence has produced more than a dozen novels in a decade, and The Girl and the Stars (Harper Voyager, £14.99) is one of the best. His previous series, The Book of the Ancestor, was set in the lush equatorial region of the planet Abeth. The Girl and the Stars explores that world’s harsh polar region, where the temperature is 40 below zero and the Ictha people eke out a precarious existence on inhospitable ice plains. Life is harsh, and the halt and lame – plus those who don’t conform – are sacrificed so that others might live. Sixteen-year-old Yaz and her younger brother find themselves cast out of the tribe at the Pit of the Missing, literally thrown into a hellish netherworld beneath the polar ice cap. What follows is not only a thrilling fight for survival among the sub-realm’s demons, monsters and lost tribes, but a revelatory coming of age story as Yaz learns the truth about her world and her place in it. The Girl and the Stars is a compelling picaresque that melds fantasy and science fiction to stirring effect.

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