It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge
A brilliant new series from the bestselling author of PRINCE OF THORNS.
“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.
Nona isn’t your typical hero, she isn’t an orphan but she doesn’t come from a happy home. After losing her Father her Mother abandon’s her and a nine-year old Nona ends up at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. This isn’t somewhere that normally takes in waifs and strays. There is a fee for girls to go here it’s somewhere the richer families of Abeth send their daughters, and the fee is not something Nona can pay, but the Abbess seems to have her own reasons for taking Nona in, reasons she isn’t sharing with anyone, especially not Nona.
Most novels which start when our hero is a child finish when our hero is an adult, we skip over them growing up and boom they do their heroic deed in their adult form. This is not the case here. Nona is a child hero. She is a child fighter, a child warrior. The oldest we see her is about 11/12 but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a childs book or even a young adult novel.
Nona, has moments where she shows her young age, and these moments are refreshing and made me giggle and remember that I was reading a story with someone who was young, who should be innocent, but wasn’t. Then she would jump straight back to being her grown self. Her life experiences have shaped her to being so much older than her years. She was tenacious and loyal but she had a terrible temper which risked getting her in trouble.
The convent and it’s training is harsh but not unfair. I never felt like the girls were being treated unfairly, that the Nuns were bullying them or that the girls were at risk. But they were toughening the girls up, making warriors out of them. The work they were doing had an end game and sometimes the girls may get hurt. In our world what they were doing would definitely seem cruel but they don’t live in our world and their world is cruel!
Nona isn’t afraid to stand up for what she deems is right, even if that means going up against powerful people. She is willing to fight for what she believes is right, and does to the detriment of her own safety. This leads to Nona’s final battle which is excruciating to read, I honestly didn’t see how she was going to make it through, even though I knew this was the beginning of a new series I couldn’t see a way out. Oh and I forgot to mention she has a Wolverine style power. Yeah! So, I ended up spending the last hundred pages or so with my breath held, toes clenched, and grinding my teeth, there was just so much tension. And no, I’m not going to tell you how it ended!
Red Sister is a stunning piece of literature. I was swept away by this novel, the intricately woven narrative which wastes no time starting at page one and keeping you entwined until the final word. I highly recommend this not only to fans of fantasy but to people looking for a novel that is going to dig deep into their soul and grasp their heart tight.
A huge thanks to Mark Lawrence and Harper Voyager for the eARC of this book in return for my honest review.
Book & Buy Links
Title: Red Sister
Series: Book of the Ancestor #1
Author: Mark Lawrence
Genre: Fantasy | Epic Fantasy | Grimdark
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: 6 April 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Audio
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | BookDepository | SpeedyHen