An Audit of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence!
Greetings fellow Geeks, Freaks, and Nerds! I stumbled upon this book while walking the many cool shelves at a local Barnes and Noble. I actually didn’t find it, it found me through the hands of a young lady who had just finished it. Now, I tend to take suggestions from the book store employees with a major grain of salt because they’re sometimes pushing a book because some else told them too, but the enthusiasm that she gave off was too much to pass on this one, and I’m glad I didn’t pass.
When you think of Nuns, you get a mental picture of some nice ladies wearing some sort of religious habit or robe right? Some sweet harmless little lady right? Well, these Nuns may wear religious habits, may look sweet and kind of the outside, may have dedicated their lives to a high power, but they’re deadlier than most highly trained warriors. Just one of these ladies could take on a Navy Seal Team and not only kill every single person the team, but come out of the brawl without a single scratch on her. Here’s the publisher’s summary……
“At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.
A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass’s care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies.
Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.
Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way.”
Ok, when you imagine little 8 year old Nona Grey, picture a combination of Black Widow from the Avengers, X-23 from Logan, and a very angry female Sith Lord and that kinda tackles the main character. This chick is all badass and just wants a solid friend to talk and hang with.
I can’t elaborate enough when I say that these young Nuns are deadly. When you start off a book with the first paragraph saying this……
“It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.”
Two hundred trained warriors to kill one Nun, and a teenager at that! That’s insane right? This opener hooked me like a fish and just drew me in. Oh my goodness, this book was intense and fun. This was like all the female dorms in Harry Potter were gathered up, taught magic, but were also taught how to be assassins from their first year while using magic, swords, and hand to hand combat.
This book has so many great aspects to the plot and story lines, I’ll admit that Lawrence’s writing style was different than what I’m use to reading and that it took me a couple chapters to really adjust to it, but when I did it was magical. His writings are very intense, with sophistication that makes it poetic in a way. This was also meant to be a Young Adult book, but I’m still trying to decide in my own mind if it really is due to the intensity of it all.
Our main character is Nona Grey, a petite little girl who was sold into slavery, but is recued by the head Nun from the convent of Sweet Mercy before the poor girl is to be hung for a crime she committed while trying to save a friend. This girl is very mature for her age in terms of how she thinks and survives mentally. Most of the story is told through Nona’s eyes with a few exceptions to other main characters which worked out really well.
There is a new “magic” system that Lawrence has developed which works really well here. I’m growing very fond it over your stereotypical magic in most fantasy books. It’s certainly not your traditional Harry Potter or Dungeons and Dragons type of magic. It has far greater consequences for over use or misuse than most stories you can read, which means it’s used far more sparingly.
The world building is extremely specific, but not overly descriptive to irritate or lose you. All of the character building is expertly done and enjoyable, and it’s not rushed either. The author draws you in enough so that you lose yourself emotionally in the book and it’s characters.
The fight scenes had the perfect amount of gore, they weren’t overly done. This is a must read for those of you who enjoy and good dramatic, bloody, and emotional fantasy book.
I don’t have any negative comments about the book at all. The writing style is different, but I adapted to it and loved it in the end.
Let me know what you all thought, leave a comment, let’s talk and get a discussion going!