Thursday, 14 June 2018

Review: Red Sister, by Mark Lawrence

I nabbed this during a discount for just 99p, having previously enjoyed the author’s Broken Empire trilogy. It’s first entry in a new series, the Book of the Ancestor, set in a different post-Apocalyptic world.

It took me a fair while to read, not due to being badly written or anything, I just incurred some moderate pestilence which, at times, stopped me from reading.

The book follows the difficult and bloody childhood of Nona, who ends up in a convent where, alongside spirituality, the novices are also taught delights such as combat skills and how to poison people.

She’s rescued into the nunnery by Abbess Glass, who saves her from hanging for crossing a powerful nobleman (who thoroughly deserved it). Whether or not the convent will prove sufficient protection from said noble family’s wrath remains to be seen, but it’s certainly safer than not being there.

Alongside Nona are a number of friends/rivals, my favourite being Hessa, a lame girl nicknamed Hop Along who is perhaps Nona’s truest friend. Besides the novices there are several sisters of importance, and I enjoyed the Poisoner quite a lot, due to her mixture of mischief and toxins. Giving girls a truth serum then asking them who they have a crush on was entertaining.

The classroom politics and scheming blends nicely with wider conspiracies aimed at disrupting life in the nunnery, with Nona sometimes struggling to know who to trust. In terms of writing style, it’s easy to read and quite moreish. It’s not a soft book but it’s not as brutal as Prince of Thorns either.

In the middle there could perhaps have been a touch more pace. Shan’t spoil the ending, of course, but I liked the late twists and the conclusion of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed Red Sister a lot, and definitely felt invested in the story’s end. I’ll probably buy Grey Sister (the sequel) when it’s on sale, as the current Kindle price is £9.99. Which is more than the listed (currently unreleased) paperback, and barely less than the hardback.


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