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Red Sister is the first book in Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy. This grimdark coming-of-age tale revolves around a young girl named Nona Grey. Nona is sent to a convent to be trained by a group of assassin nuns. Interested yet?
Nona has some magical powers that I won’t go into. These reviews are spoiler-lite. From early on Nona hints at some secrets from a very troubled past. I won’t go into that.
Mark Lawrence is a British-born Grimdark fantasy author. He is also the author of The Prince of Thorns from The Broken Empire series. His work is consistently excellent. Lawrence’s characters are well developed and interesting. He is active on social media and engages his fans.
Abeth, the world Red Sister is set in, is a wonderfully imagined place. A failing sun is causing a global ice age. A strip of land fifty miles wide called the Corridor is the only unfrozen land on the planet. It is populated with kingdoms that fight for the world’s limited resources.
Four creatures were the progenitors of the four magic powers of the world. Every child has a chance to inherit powers from one of those bloodlines. The powers of those bloodlines are pretty standard; strength, speed, will, but the way they manifest is pretty cool. I am a fan of interesting magic.
Red Sister has many of the troupes you would expect from a coming-of-age fantasy story. This isn’t Harry Potter. Nona is small, weak, and lonely. Every student in the Sweet Mercy convent is being trained to kill. Nona makes some friends, and some enemies, as she learns to battle her foes inside and out.
This is a well-written book and I highly recommend it. Red Sister contains a great deal of language and graphic violence.
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