Review: Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

40953926Dun Dun DUUUNNNN. I’ve been anticipating this one for… well, since Grey Sister really. So, it was entirely surprising when an ARC of it showed up on my doorstep.

So many thanks to the author as well as Ace/Roc for the ARC!~

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

Moons might rise and fall, empires wax and wane, even the stars come and go, but there are constants too, and though the story of our kind is ever-changing it is also always the same.

Well, it all comes down to this.

Nona Grey and her sisters and friends at the convent of Sweet Mercy have learned all they can. The moon is falling, the Corridor of ice that its last focused energy has created is closing in on everyone that lives in this world. On top of that, war is coming to Abeth, and Nona and company are in a rush to do what they can to turn the tides, so to speak.

This was a pretty thrilling conclusion for this series. We’ve spent two books now seeing Nona come into her own, and snippets of the Sister Cage that she becomes. She has made friends at Sweet Mercy, and enemies, and at times it’s difficult to know who to trust and who not to. It’s also interesting to see how the paths that Abbess Glass has put Nona and her friends on are starting to make more and more sense as things finally start to come together.

We see this one from two different time frames for much of the novel. Much of it is told in the present day, where Nona and her friends are about to become full sisters in the convent, and which of the specializations they will choose. Red Sister is blades, Grey Sister is shadow-work, or Holy Sister, which is faith. Sister Cage could be any or all of these. She has skills in all of them. So which will she choose?

In the other time frame, which takes place three years previously, pretty much where Grey Sister left off. Nona and Zole are on the ice… on, under, in and around the ice… escaping from shenanigans. When I first started I worried a bit that this time shifting back and forth would get confusing, but it isn’t at all. It’s quite easy to tell them apart, obviously, but they flow well together, weaving around each other to tell the story in a veritable helix of sometimes-icy stabbing.

This was a really fast paced book, and I finished it in just short of two days, which is much better than I have been doing as of late. The last 1/4 of this book had me glued right to it with no chance of putting it down for anything.

So, all told, I thought this was a very well written and brilliantly plotted conclusion to the Book of the Ancestor series. I’m sad to see Nona go, as well as a few other characters (most notably Kettle, who is by far my favorite character in this whole story), but it was an ending that left me satisfied, while still leaving a bit of an opening for further exploration someday, perhaps. An easy 4.5/5 stars.

Also, I had a good chuckle at the Ark. Watch me! 😀


Thanks again to Mark Lawrence and Ace/Roc for the ARC.


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