Title: Holy Sister.
Series: Book of the Ancestor #3.
Writer(s): Mark Lawrence.
Publisher: Berkley – Ace Books.
Release Date: April 9th 2019.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Previously on the Book of the Ancestor:
Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence
Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence
It’s always a weird feeling to find yourself at the end of a path that seemed neverending and filled with multiple destinations to stop at and to savour the most intimate details within sight. The approaching horizon that signals the approaching finale which will ultimately wrap up everything you’ve learned about the world in which it swims is both a sight of boundless pleasure and inexorable dread. It is both satisfying and devastating to know that there possibly won’t be any more of your favourite characters, setting, and magic system. With Red Sister, Mark Lawrence embarked on his third epic fantasy trilogy and allowed me to acquaint myself to the man’s prodigious penmanship for the first time ever. While he is already working on his next series with the Impossible Times trilogy, Holy Sister marks the end of his Book of the Ancestor trilogy. While some might wonder if it is everything a fan would want for the third and final book, I went in knowing that the odds that Mark Lawrence would disappoint me would be closer to zero.
What is Holy Sister about? The story picks up where Grey Sister ends and delivers a dual narrative with a three-year gap between both storylines. While the ice advances and the Corridor narrows, the Empire is under siege but Nona still continues her training in order to become a full sister and thus choose what path she is to take on for the remainder of her life. With various actors looking to take control of certain relics that could complete a prophecy, the story brilliantly builds up the suspense that envelops the world and delivers the ultimate finale that fans have been waiting for years. As Nona and her friends try to fulfill their respective dreams and promises, Abbess Glass continues to play the long game and it is one that will not disappoint. With Holy Sister, Mark Lawrence offers readers the chance to find out how it will all pan out for the sisters at the Covent of Sweet Mercy.
If there’s one thing you can trust to be done right by Mark Lawrence, it’s the characterization in his stories. Throughout the Book of the Ancestor, Nona’s character grows notably as a fighter and a person. In Holy Sister, there’s a focus on the acceptance of a person’s flaws as being integral to their being instead of seeing them as impurities that need to be expunged from a person. The contrast between a person who acknowledges and lives with these flaws and a person who looks to be cleansed of these defects of a personality is what leads the protagonist to discover herself through new lenses and grow as a person. Furthermore, her character is portrayed as a fighter who uses her anger as a fuel to her stunning combat skills but she quickly learns that there is more to a strategic plan than the overwhelming power of emotions in order to make exemplary decisions during sticky situations. Nona’s character remains one that is developed splendidly and discretely as she matures into a character that will invite all the sisters to be proud of her.
While Nona’s character might be central to the plot, the cast within this series remains just as intriguing and refined. In fact, the dynamics between all the characters is impeccable, especially when everyone has lived through accomplishments and tragedies that have molded them into the person they are today. The bond between Nona and her friends is one that remains wonderful especially when friendship is at the heart of this trilogy and Nona’s priorities. One particular relationship that is built up in Holy sister is between Nona and Zole, and it is one that is undeniably exciting with the latter’s tendency to be serious and subtly caring, while also beyond enigmatic. The story also allows the reader to fully grasp the complex relationship between sisters but also the bond between the sisters and their students that has grown so much over the years. After all, they have overcome so many challenges to hone their skills but also their minds despite the lack of faith of many in others. There is no doubt that this finale delivers on all fronts and that the final act is as action-packed and perfect as you’d ever imagined it. Expect everything to be wrapped up in a pretty package, tying all loose ends in a neat knot to gaze and admire.
Holy Sister is a beautifully- and brilliantly-crafted finale forged in friendship and adversity that draws to a conclusion a tale of self-actualization.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!