15.8.18

Double #Review: RED SISTER and GREY SISTER by Mark Lawrence

Today I have a double review for you of the first two books in a series,

RED SISTER and GREY SISTER by Mark Lawrence!

I absolutely loved this series so far and I can't wait to share my thoughts with you. Be sure to check back next year when I review the final book in the Book of the Ancestor series, HOLY SISTER. I am on the list to get a review copy so I cannot wait! So let's start at the beginning...

RED SISTER

Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestor #1
Source: Finished copy via Publisher
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary:
I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a finish copy from the publisher, but then bought a copy from Audible and listened to the audiobook. This in no way impacts my opinion.
I followed because I thought that if I turned back then I would keep turning back, turning away from every other fear, from every new thin, and that I would never leave that place to which my father had brought me. I would live, toil, grow old, and die, all within sight of my mother's hut, and the ice would remain forever a line glimpsed in the distance, and I wouldn't matter to the world nor would it matter to me.
- page 432
This was one of the best Adult fantasy books I've read in a very long time. I have so many positive things and thoughts about this one. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good magic system, badass nuns, and women who know being vulnerable can be strong as well.

Everything that Nona has suffered through has made her stronger - and recognize that there is always room to love and be loved. I liked her understanding that people can be your friend even if you never outright say it and that she is so loyal to people. Nona is strong, young woman who does everything she can to protect those she cares about. I liked that even though she is clearly strong and going to be a part of the prophecy, she still needs training and education to get her to exactly where she has to be. 

I loved seeing how these girls started by being somewhat enemies and then becoming friends. I think there were good dynamics between all the female characters in this one. There were interesting relationships and they were expertly explored in this without making the females into stereotypes or taking away their womanness, which is something I was a little concerned about since this is written by a man.

The magic system and the way the world building works is incredible. It was one of the most creative ones I've read in a while. I am excited to see how it grows in the rest of this series (since the next book is already out!!!).

If you are looking for a good fantasy read, this is the book for you! I highly recommend it if you are looking to transition from YA to Adult fantasy - or just enjoy Adult fantasy to begin with. You'll love Nona, the badass nuns, and that this has a lot of action!

GREY SISTER

Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestor #2
Source: Audiobook via Audible
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary:
In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.


There will be blood.
Purchase:
I really loved that this book had the same amount of action and had the characters face new challenges without making them too difficult or levelling the characters up too much. I thought this was a perfect middle novel in a series but I definitely don't want the series to end! I can't wait to pick up the rest of Mark Lawrence's books because if they are even half as good as this, I'm in for an amazing story.

I loved the way that this story started, with Lawrence giving us a recap of the last book so we could just move right along  to this one. I also liked the time jump. It felt natural without making us question too much. I think Nona really stepped up her game in this one without being Too Much.

A lot of middle books don't know how to take what was good about the first and make it into something similar but different for the second without losing the interest of the audience. This is not the case here. It was such a perfect bridge between the first book and what I expect the last to be. 

I think this is shaping up to be my new favourite fantasy series and I highly recommend it if you want to get into Adult Fantasy.

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