1 May 2019

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: HOLY SISTER by Mark Lawrence // #Review + #interview for #SFFFridays

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays

introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestor #3
Source: Finished Copy from the Publisher
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: April 4, 2019

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD

Below is my review of RED SISTER!

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.
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!

Describe HOLY SISTER in 10 words or less.

Mark Lawrence:  Well ... uh ... did I mention that I'm not good under p-

How have you seen Nona grow over the series? What do you think the biggest impact of that growth has been?

Mark Lawrence:  She's certainly got a lot taller. I guess it's guaranteed when you follow a character from child to adult that they are going to grow in all dimensions. It's almost more interesting to see what manages to survive the transition rather than what they add. Nona's instinct has always been a somewhat impulsive and warlike one, especially when it comes to personal attacks, where "personal" grows to encompass anyone she cares about. So maybe the most interesting aspect concerns how much of the far sighted Abbess Glass rubs off on her. Will her nature prevail or her nurture?

What scene in the entire BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR series was your favourite to write?

Mark LawrenceA tough call. But I will probably go with one in Holy Sister that involves Sister Pan. It's one of the very few things about which I had thought "that can happen" back when starting Red Sister. I don't plan my books out, but I wanted Sister Pan to do this thing and held on for most of 3 books to do it.

Why was it so important to you to write such strong female characters as the lead to this series?

Mark LawrenceIt wasn't really. I always try to write "strong" characters – by which I mean interesting/compelling. And in this book they turned out to be female.

What can we expect from you next?

Mark LawrenceI've written a sci-fi(ish) trilogy, all three books of which are coming out this year. The first book, One Word Kill, comes out in May. It's described on the back as Ready Player One meets Stranger Things, and is set in 80s London, centering on a D&D group.

Currently I'm writing a trilogy (probably called Book of the Ice) which is set in the same world as the Book of the Ancestor trilogy. The first book, The Girl And The Stars, will be released next year.
Mark Lawrence was born in Champagne-Urbanan, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire comes the bestselling RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. The BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy, in an entirely new setting, commences with RED SISTER in 2017. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

Connect with the Author:

What are some of your favourite Adult SFF books?


  1. I've seen someone else talk about this series, and I added book 1 to my TBR after that. I haven't read any adult fantasy, but contemporary is my go-to genre anyways lol

  2. Can I just say that I love all your graphics and the planet divider?! I'm in love!!!


Thanks for commenting! I cherish each and every comment. If you leave me a link to your blog, I will do my best to comment back!