Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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“It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.”

— Mark Lawrence, Red Sister

    Dear Mr. Lawrence—can I call you Mark? I’ve heard a lot about you and the books you’ve written. The Broken Empire trilogy as well as the Red Queen’s War trilogy have known nothing but praise. It’s hard for someone to look away from something that shine’s like a diamond on a sunny day, even if it’s miles away. While I’m itching to dive right into them, I also managed to get my hands on your latest masterpiece. Yes, I must say it is a masterpiece. I’m not one to boost the ego of people just because I can, but Red Sister is the beginning of something extraordinary. I might not have read everything you’ve written yet, but boy can you write. Your book has the power to steal a reader’s soul and compel it to follow a path filled with peace, patience and serenity. It brings readers to transcend time and space in order to live a whole new life through the eyes of a child. This isn’t just a story that offers you the choice to go somewhere far and beyond our imagination. This is a story that imposes you to welcome its world and all of its elegance. Walking into the worlds you write makes us glow with bliss and forget about our own stresses, problems and responsibilities. This is a story that makes you feel warm, invited and belonging to a convent. Mark, you’ve given us an epic fantasy story that will enthrall its readers to characters, settings and a lore that have never been done so meticulously, and with so much perfection. Red Sister is the next book that anyone and everyone should read.

    You’re going to wish you could go into the future and get your hands on the next two books in this series. Mark Lawrence builds his world with the utmost confidence and creativity. His mere craftiness paves the way for one of the most original and dazzling world out there. From the four major tribes to the different holy paths that a novice can aim for, Red Sister presents us with an impressive and impeccable narrative. Not only is it engaging, it completely immerses you and has you mesmerized by the prose. Cracking open this book is just the beginning of a reading experience like none other. Split into two sections, the story also uses flashforwards as a beautiful device to keep the suspense and intrigue high above your heads, yet still hidden in the unreachable shadows. In fact, at the beginning of each part, Mark Lawrence teases readers with a bloody and devastating future that seems to only promise tremendous agony, pain and chaos. The story also interweaves flashbacks within the narrative that throws us back in time in order to gain even more depth and insight into one of the most fascinating and genuine characters out there.

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    But who’s story is Red SisterFrom the moment you read her name, you’ll find your soul connected and inseparable with this child’s destiny. This is the story of none other than Nona Grey. Falsely accused of murder, Nona is bought by the Abbess of Sweet Mercy Convent to be raised as a Red Sister in the art of killing. Orphan, her future remains a grand mystery until her arrival at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. As she acquaints herself with other novices, the nuns and all their stories, Nona is thrown onto a path of self-refinement that will not only hone her skills, but also her blades. This convent will quickly draw you in and make you feel at home. If you rolled your eyes at the thought of nuns raising an orphan, leave it to Mark Lawrence to have you flailing in a desire to be raised under the same roof. These nuns are wiser beyond their years, much more deceptive than their plain habit would indicate and far more deadlier than a hyena in its natural habitat. Do not take these words lightly as these nuns will continue to impress you in ways you never thought possible. As the story unveils how they master their own respective arts, their interactions with all the novices and Nona make Red Sister such a beautiful piece of literature.

    Nona Grey is by far one of the most amazing female lead characters ever. She is exactly what you’d expect from someone who’s being sold and bought left and right in some of the most despicable areas of Abeth. Strong, yet flawed, she is not the type of character who will never fall down and will always see a happy ending to every problem she’ll encounter. She is one to fight for what she believes in and to never give up when the stakes are high. Nona is nine when her life spirals into a whole new universe she never would have thought she’d be embracing. She’s always discovering something new about the people around her, and even more about herself. It is this last part that keeps feeding the readers appetite for more stories, more action scenes and more plot twists. However, young as she is when the story begins, she’s an individual who strongly believes in friendships and keeping promises. She sees these bonds far more sacred than anything a religion could give a person. Through the relationships she builds with some of the other novices, you just can’t help but applaud at the authenticity in every single interaction you find in this tale. To make things even more exhilarating, Mark Lawrence integrates powerful enemies who seek Nona for various suspicious reasons. Things will only seem to culminate into a mountain of danger and death as you progress through the first Book of the Ancestor.

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    Everyone has their own secrets and their own story in Red Sister. Unveiling the unknown, like unsheathing a blade, leads these characters into events that no one will see coming. This is my first book by Mark Lawrence, and it is far from being my last. When you run into an author who’s writing is so lyrical and beautiful that you just can’t look away, you’ll find yourself in a state of absolute mercy. Mark Lawrence has the power to make action sequences look like a graceful ballet performances. He stretches seconds into ages and pulls you into a timeless state where every single instant feels immortal, infinite and exquisite. Lets just say that this book will stress your imagination and make you fancy one of the most fascinating worlds that has ever been written and leave you astonished before one of the most intriguing magic system in fantasy novels. The beauty that bleeds through these words is enough to keep me glued to my chair, even if Death were to stare me in the eye. Coupled with characters who have their own voices and authentic personalities, as well as a setting that is brought to life with its own traditions, history and dark secrets, Red Sister is a relentlessly fun and mesmerizing beginning to a trilogy.

Mark. If there’s anything you shouldn’t do, it’s to stop writing. You keep on doing what you do best. Blow our minds away.


THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA AND MARK LAWRENCE FOR SENDING ME AN ADVANCE COPY FOR REVIEW!

Are you interested in Red Sister?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★/

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52 thoughts on “Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

  1. Frank Frisson says:

    I can see that this book absolutely amazed you. I love it when books do that. In those moments, I wouldn’t trade being a reader with anything. A tremendously well-written review. As you told Mark to keep writing, I tell you to keep reading. Writers and readers, we are the Yin and Yang of a most beautiful circle of people.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

          Those two.. I’ve been trying hard to wait until they’ve completed their respective series but… the struggle is real. 😀 Mark Lawrence honestly should get more spotlights on his books. They could be BRILLIANT TV series too (even movies to some extent). I mean, I can totally see an episodic format for the Red Sister story. A movie would probably have to compress a lot of the “training” and stuff when I think about it.

          – Lashaan

          Liked by 1 person

          • Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek says:

            Yeah, definitely agree, Red Sister would be better as a TV series, there’s a lot going on in the book, I liked the amount spent on the training and a lot would need to be cut to make a film length. I think both his other trilogies would work either way though, perhaps a series for The Red Queen’s War might be best, The Broken Empire could definitely be made into films, especially the first book as it’s short in length, not sure how well it would do as it’d have to be an 18 rated film, and mature fantasy films don’t seem very popular, sadly.

            Ha, the struggle is definitely real with them both, I don’t mind waiting for the books and there’s so many other great fantasy series to read, but damn it’s been years and years.😂

            Liked by 2 people

  2. LizScanlon says:

    Brilliant review!
    I’ve yet to read Red Sister but after having read some of his earlier works I know full well how good Lawrence is with his writing… and I’m so glad you enjoyed this book… I hope you’ll go and get the Broken Empire trilogy as well… Jorg is ‘whoaaaa’ intense! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you so much Liz! You definitely have to get your hands on a copy of this one as soon as you can! I actually hunted down my copy of Prince of Thorns and Prince of Fools. They’re just waiting for me to crack them open and drool all over their awesomeness (okay… maybe not literally…). You really got my expectations super high when you said the Broken Empire trilogy is what fueled your love for literature! Can’t wait to see what Jorg is all about. 😛

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    OK so between your review and Lilly’s I have been convinced I need to add this book to the top of my to-read list and try and get my hands on it as soon as possible! I haven’t read any of Mark Lawrence’s other books but I’ve heard some great things about them so it’s not really a surprise that there are so many rave reviews for Red Sister already.
    Nona sounds like a great character to explore, and it sounds like there was a lot of development surrounding her in this story which is always great to have in first books. I love the idea of a school for assassins (it was one of the reasons I added Nevernight to my to-read list back before it was released) and I hope I end up enjoying this one as much as you did.
    Great review Lashaan! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      YAY! First or not, I believe Red Sister is going to be a pretty funny experience of what Mark Lawrence can write! Nona’s character is absolutely brilliant, and probably the best female lead I’ve read in literature so far! The school setting was so well done in this, it had me thinking of Hogwarts from the movies (cause… I haven’t read the books) and can finally see why people love these kinds of settings. I believe when I read the Harry Potter books I’m going to find a similar vibe to the whole school setting too. But man, a school of assassins? Trained by nuns? You just can’t beat that! I really do hope you’ll have fun reading this one when you get your hands on a copy. Thank you so much for reading my review, Beth!! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Well it sounds like if I’m going to start his work then Red Sister is the best of the best to start off with. Nona sounds amazing from the reviews I’ve read so far and actually the Hogwarts similarity is something I saw in another review as well. That made me want to pick up the book a little more as well. Assassins trained by nuns is definitely a unique setting for any book! 😀
        That’s all right, I’m really glad you enjoyed this one Lashaan! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Yes, yes, yes!!!! And double hell yes if I may! Nona is freaking amazing. I do not think I have respected and appreciated a female lead as well as her in such a long time. This was my first Mark Lawrence experience and sealed the deal. I immediately ran out and bought all of The Broken Empire trilogy haha. Loving this rave review 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      HELL YEH!!! She’s definitely the best female lead that I’ve read about. I mean… damn… no one has been this complex and amazing so far! As I’ve mentioned, this was my first experience of Mark Lawrence’s writing too! I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this a lot; I also ended up getting my hands on Prince of Thorns and Prince of Fools! Seriously, I can’t wait to see what other worlds the man can write and bring to life. 😛 Thank you so much for the kind words, Danielle!! 😉

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sophiethestark says:

    Oh my, this book looks amazing! I have never read anything by Lawrence but I sure want to now!
    The plot definitely reminds me of The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman, but with a female protagonist. Which is awesome!
    Great review, Lashaan 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you so much, Sophie! I’ve never read The Left Hand of God, but from what I read of its blurb, I can see why it had reminded you of it! You should definitely give Red Sister a shot. It is soooo worth it, and something tells me you’ll enjoy it! You don’t need to have tried the other series by Mark Lawrence, but once you try Red Sister out, you’ll want to go read them all! 😀 😀

      – Lashaan

      Like

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      That definitely brings a smile to my face! You should definitely give it a shot, I find it hard to imagine someone not enjoying this book! Kick-ass convent with nuns that train holy assassins? A bad-ass female lead who likes her weapons sharp, sharp, sharp? Yoooo, if you ever feel like trying an adult fantasy, this will be an interesting and entertaining pick! 😀 Thank you so much for reading too!!!

      – Lashaan

      Like

  6. Karina Pinella says:

    Wow, what a review. The story sounds similar to another orphan story. Although there might be similarities, the writing and presentation are what set some stories apart from one another, although I think Gregg Hurwitz is an engrossing writer. I am reading his first book called The Tower. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you Karina! If you ever find yourself craving for an adult fantasy story, you should definitely give Red Sister a shot. I would even recommend any of Mark Lawrence’s other series, but I have yet to read them (going to definitely rectify that in the near future). Gregg Hurwitz definitely sounds like a nice storyteller. Since the day you completed Orphan X, I can see you’ve been mesmerized by his writing! The Tower does sound like so much fun. I’m currently reading this book called Ragdoll and am really 100% engrossed by the level of intrigue. I’m really curious to see if the author is going to be able to maintain this till the end. 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      I’m personally really excited to try out the Broken Empire trilogy after reading Red Sister. If Mark Lawrence’s writing is consistent from one series to another, I feel like you’ll absolutely adore this one! You definitely have to try and get your hands on a copy ASAP! 😀 Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Adoptabookaus says:

    Lashaan! This review is amazing, I’ve had my eye on this because well I’ve heard its stabby and the name and cover really draw me in, but that little letter note you included at the top of your review to the author made me add it to my I need to read right now! Nona sounds like the kind of kickass character I’ll fall in love with 🙂

    Again amazing review !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Listen. Remember how you said people who scream about a book would make you want to check it out ASAP? Well… CASEY, YOU GOTTA CHECK OUT RED SISTER BY MARK LAWRENCE ASAP!!!! 😀 This was such a highly entertaining story, it’s to see someone hate what they get. Nona is absolutely amazing. She just easily climbs up the ladder for TOP KICKASS FEMALE CHARACTERS! 😛 Thank you so much for reading this though. I really, really appreciate it! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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