Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

9781101988886_GreySister_FCOmech.inddTitle: Grey Sister
Series: Book of the Ancestor #2
Author(s): Mark Lawrence
Publisher: Ace Books
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 3rd 2018
Pages: 432
Genre(s): Fantasy
ISBN13: 9781101988886

Previously in the Book of the Ancestors:

redsisterreview1


There is a lot to appreciate with Grey Sister. It is not only a testament to Mark Lawrence’s expertise in storytelling, but also a product of his complex and multilayered imagination. Drawing upon his exquisite writing skills and his natural ability to reel the reader into a world that only he could fancy, this sequel to Red Sister—a masterpiece in itself—turned out to be a formidable installment in the Book of the Ancestor series.

The events in Grey Sister take place almost two years after the devastating ending of Red Sister. Nona Grey continues her studies at the Convent of Sweet Mercy but struggles in mastering the new arts taught in Mystic Class. While she attempts to progress in her tread-weaving skills and to prove everyone that she is not to be taken lightly, she however finds herself at an impasse in achieving her full potential as vengeance continuously haunts her thoughts and corrupts her motives. Her dwelling in the grey area, where what she wants to do and what she should do are at an eternal clash, ultimately drives this young protagonist into understanding the world in which she lives in and the things she needs to do if she is ever to find solace in her new way of life.

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Like Red Sister, the story unfolds episodically whilst pieces of the puzzle are introduced discreetly in their own time and at their own pace. The political conspiracy that overlay the plot add to the suspense and promises a bigger picture through the point of view of Abbess Glass. Chapters dedicated to her predicament are rid with question marks, but her character successfully manages to anchor you into the mystery and seduce you with her wisdom, composure and sharp dialogue. I would be lying if I said that she wasn’t a favourite of mine. Her vision of life and apprehension of the whole Church and secular law makes her a character that you simply didn’t want to mess with. What she is planning in the long run is the root of the tease that will keep readers guessing until the end.

Friendship was a very recurrent and crucial theme in Nona’s development in Red Sister, and I can promise you that it continues strong in Grey Sister. Without having to spend time in building all the relationships that Nona developed in the Convent anymore, Mark Lawrence has his focus on their unbreakable bond and puts it in display as he effortlessly highlights what friendship is all about. To make things even more complex and intriguing, he also introduces us to a brand-new player who goes by the name of Keot. Friend or foe is difficult to determine, but boy is he something! His dynamic with Nona is hilarious and his relentless desire to shed blood makes him such a fun—and dangerous—character to have around.

greysisterquote2

Although action sequences were sparingly integrated during the first half of the story, they are still present and promises to remind you why Mark Lawrence is one of the best fantasy writers to this day. His way of slowing down time and making full use of Nona’s skills is unparalleled and remarkable. Drawn-out blood-filled sequences that always contemplates death are described with pure perfection but are also complimented with lightning-quick flaw-blade action sequences that only require you to blink for you to miss everything and then see bodies drop like flies the next instant. While straight-forward slashing and stabbing might always seem like the ideal solution to everything, it is the ingenuity of all the alternatives and variations to the art of stabbing contemplated by all the characters that makes every moment in this story so worthwhile.

Even if the story continues to explore beyond the convent’s limits in Grey Sister, the lessons that are learned are ones that will stay with everyone till their last breathing moment. New and old tricks alike, everything that was taught is cleverly put to use throughout the story and utilized in the most unexpected and ideal moments. However, Grey Sister isn’t just about always beating the odds and overcoming every obstacle that is thrown their way. Nona Grey will also have to learn that failure is just as big of a lesson and how she deals with it is what will push her into becoming an even better version of herself. Let it be known that how Mark Lawrence develops his characters is brilliant and truly demands a standing ovation.

It is safe to say that this second installment in the Book of the Ancestor was a massive success that doesn’t follow its predecessor’s footsteps but rather creates its own path to success. What the final book has in store for us is most likely going to be sublime and the wait is also probably going to kill me, but I’m already ready for Holy Sister and all of its glory.

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Thank you to Ace Books for sending me a copy for review!

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★
Have you read it yet? Do you plan to?
What do you think about Grey Sister?
Share your thoughts with me!
Till next time,

lashaansignature

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53 comments

    • You were actually the first to react to my review of the first book, Red Sister, last year too! Glad that you’re interested in this series. I definitely plan on reading his previous two trilogies soon, and I think they’ll be just as amazing and worth checking out too. Thanks for reading, good sir! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great review!
    I haven’t actually read anything by this author, but i bought the Prince of Thorns trilogy, and i have the Red Sister on my TBR. I didn’t even remember adding it, hehe 😀
    Love the sound of the blood filled pages 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Norrie! I do remember that you got your hands on the trilogy during one of your epic hauls (you shared a picture of it all somewhere; tweeter or insta hahah)! This series is definitely worth checking out when you get the chance though. Everything is brilliant, and never short of lacking in the blood-spilling department! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Raven! I do hope you’ll have more fun with this one than you did with Red Sister! I remember it being slightly underwhelming for you! 😉

      Like

  • You write incredibly strong reviews. Even though I am not a regular reader in this genre, they always sound appealing. Seeing you cover themes and other analytical aspects of books is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Jay. All that coming from you! I am extremely honoured. Thank you so much for you kind words. If the mystery/thriller side of this fantasy was a lot stronger I would’ve have quickly recommended it to you to pick up as soon as possible too! But if you ever feel like you want to check out the fantasy world out a bit, this series would be a nice way to kick things off.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Awesome review, Lashaan! I really need to get my butt in gear and start this series. Every time I read a review I’m kicking myself! Oh if only I had about 10 more hours in each day😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Tammy! Knowing that I actually have a series that I’ve read before YOU is somewhat really satisfying though. 😀 😀 But I still need you to check this out ASAP!

      Like

  • I skimmed past some of your review because I haven’t read the first book yet and based on what I’ve seen being said about Red Sister this is a series I want to get around to at some point, but I am really glad you enjoyed this one Lashaan. 🙂 I think it’s great when a second book in a series takes the story and the characters to completely new places and it seems like that’s what’s happened in Grey Sister. I’ll keep my fingers crossed the third book is even better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries! It is spoiler-free, but I can understand your desire to get into this series as unspoiled as possible! You totally need to check out the awesomeness of Nona Grey. And I believe there’s plenty for you to enjoy with this series in particular. 😉 Thanks for reading/skimming/passing by, Beth! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I love reading your reviews, Lashaan! Even though I doubt I’ll ever pick up this series, you almost convinced me I need to stop everything I’m doing and pick it up. 😉 As you might recall, I don’t like graphic violence. I hear Lawrence presents it in spades. I love the idea of a fantasy book focused on friendship, too! I don’t find myself drawn to contemporary novels all that often, but sometimes I crave them because I know they will always feature friendships. We need more of this in our sci-fi and fantasy!

    The last picture really captures my eye. I appreciate how the covers are alternates of their title– Red Sister predominately features the color grey and vice versa. It makes me wonder what the cover of Holy Sister will look like!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay! Thanks for stopping by Jackie! It’s really great to hear from you again. 😀 😀 And also great to know that you haven’t disappeared from the face of our Earth! I do remember recommending this series, and I still would say that it isn’t grimdark fantasy (I’ve read way worse hahah), but still understand if you don’t want to risk it! And yes! Friendship is one thing that would easily get me hooked when done right. It’s one of my secret ingredients to a 5 star book to be honest. It’s brilliantly done in this one in particular and we really do need more friendship (and maybe less unnecessary romance!). 😀

      I’m actually really happy that you made a comment about the picture. I never know what people usually think about the ones I put and just assume that it doesn’t really bother anyone and they just skim over it real quick. This series has some of the best artwork on the cover too, and I love that it was this edition that we have access too (I’m not too fond of the UK version of Grey Sister, for example). I really can’t wait to see how Holy Sister will look too!!! 😮 And Nona will probably look even older and much more epic on it too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh. All the drama about my blog. I still have my fingers cross that it’s almost over. But I’ve been thinking that for 3 weeks now, soooo…. O_o

        Right! Once the series is fully published, I’ll definitely give this a go. I think it’s important for me to branch out and at least see if I’m capable of reading more than I was before. For example, there’s a lot of violence in The Wheel of Time, but it’s not graphically described, so I was fine. We shall see. 🙂

        Yes! These are BEAUTIFUL books. I hadn’t noticed that Nona has been aging between the two covers; you’re right! That’s a great touch. Often, I find that time passes and the characters never seem to age on covers. A great detail. I just checked out the UK covers, and again, you’re right– they aren’t as nice. Red Sister is okay; I like the abstract nature of it. But Grey Sister? Not so much. Cover art matters!

        Like

  • Excellent. Yet another glowing review for this book and this series. I am looking forward to the final book so I can dive in.

    On a blog note, I like the whole “picture” link to the previous review at the top. That looks spiffy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaah I see around on other peepz reviews of this series just contemplating the idea of reading it for yourself once all 3 books our out. 😀 I do hope the finale will wrap things up perfectly.

      Really appreciate the comment on that graphic. I don’t know if it even entices people to click on it, but it did seem like an interesting idea for trilogies (I can’t imagine if I did this for my comic book series for example; that would be like 5 little pictures stacked up together… maybe I should test it out to see if it’s visually appealing…).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I want to give Lawrence another chance. A chance to redeem himself in my eyes, that is.

        Good call on checking out if that many would be offputting or not. Would it work if it was at the end of the review? Not for trilogies, just longer series?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Was your first and only experience Prince of Thorns? Have you tried the Prince of Fools trilogy? 😱

          Yep, I’ll test things out next time I want to link up to previous reviews and see what it all looks like in previews.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Prince of Thorns so disgusted me that I wouldn’t even consider Lawrence for years. It wasn’t until I started seeing reviews for Red Sister and lots of people saying it wasn’t like PoT that I began to consider it.
            And it’s one more reason I’m waiting for the final book. I’m waiting to see if he pulls a douchebag move and does something despicable in the final book. I don’t trust him not to.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I believe the finale should have something shocking and memorable to offer fans, but will it be as dark as what PoT gave fans? Only time will tell. I am curious to see what Mark Lawrence is willing to do in order to get more attention and launch this series into maximum fame (more than PoT).

              Liked by 1 person

              • 😀
                Hence me just waiting. Even if I end up really liking this trilogy, I’m not going to bother with his other stuff. Jorge twisted something in my psyche so he’s inextricably linked to Lawrence…

                Liked by 1 person

  • What a well thought out, brilliantly written review! You’ve got me all kinds of intrigued. I don’t pick up fantasy too often, but this one sounds like it has it’s balance of world and character building so right. And it didn’t suffer from second book syndrome – the thing that means I only ever get half way through a series…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are too kind, Lydia! Thank you so much! ❤ It is indeed balanced in all the right ways. If you're intrigued in killer nuns and bad-ass female characters in a fantasy world with a nice magic system, this is 100% worth checking out. I've yet to really run into one those second book syndrome series (yay me!) and I can assure you that the way this sequel was done, it won't be a flop! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  • What a stunning review! I keep putting this off because I have so many distractions right now, and I feel Lawrence’s work deserves my full attention. I owe it to myself to give it that much! You brilliantly capture the sophistication of it all here. Sharing this one ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  • Your descriptions of the battle sequences are exquisite Lashaan! Excellent review… I totally get why you love and adore this series… funny I don’t get the sense that this is brutal… I loved when you talked about the book forging its own path… 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Dani! I can assure that the battle sequences are exactly as I described them. The author really has a nice grasp on the tempo and delivers it all in such an entertaining fashion. And really easy to visualize too! Oh.. but there are some REALLY brutal moments that hit you quick and hard before moving forward. 😀 Hahaha funny that you mention that “path” thing cause the whole “Path” thing is actually a very important magic system thing in this series. It was a play on word that only those who read the series would catch upon. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • Oh, Lashaan, what a stellar review. You definitely make me feel bad for not having picked up any of Mark’s titles in a while… something I need to rectify because as you say, and as any of his readers know, his writing and fantasy worlds are just something for a bookworm to live for!

    Liked by 1 person

  • It sounds like a brilliant sequel! And I absolutely loved friendship in Grey Sister- I’m so glad the focus on that is maintained here 😀 And Keot sounds like a cool addition to the cast. I’m even more excited for this now. Wonderful review!!

    Liked by 1 person

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