It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge
I really enjoyed RED SISTER, even though I don’t tend to go in for fantasy novels where the character spends large amounts of time training or studying. As such, I found the middle of the story a little slow. However, Mark Lawrence’s superb writing style more than makes up for this!
This novel follows the story of Nona, a girl ‘convicted of murder, guilty of worse’, who ends up training with the deadly nuns of ‘The Sisters of Mercy’. Along the way, Nona tries to hide a deadly secret about the past from her friends and the sisters of the order, while she hunts for the truth about who she really is.
The thing I loved the most about this book was the world building. This is a unique, gritty and beautifully drawn fantasy world – a land locked in an advancing ice-age under a dying sun, and a moon that will soon drop from the sky. The inhabitants have found ways to keep the ice back for the moment but they all know they live under the shadow of approaching doom. This knowledge colours their entire world. This was defnitely the most exciting element of RED SISTER for me, and I will pick up the sequel for this alone!
I also love the way Mark Lawrence writes, he has a lyrical, easy-to-read style that sucks you in.
The magic system and the Sisters of Mercy are credible and uniquely drawn, and I enjoyed Nona’s journey of discovery. The plot was good, with a few twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes, although as I mentioned earlier the long sections where we follow Nona during her training did slow the pace of the book (for me).
You’d think a story about a group of girls training to become killer nuns would place this novel in the YA category, but this novel most definitely is not Young Adult. Dark, edgy, violent, and compelling, RED SISTER is an absorbing read.