Wednesday 23 May 2018

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Book Title: Grey Sister
Author: Mark Lawrence
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Review Copy from Netgalley

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Plot: In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.
All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.
As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.
And in all this only one thing is certain.
There will be blood.
I got a review copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Review of Red Sister can be found here. This is the sequel, and I will review without spoiling the first book.

What did I think?
"It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men."
That is the first line in Red Sister and the line that made me fall in love with Mark Lawrence's book. Just like in Red Sister his writing is beautiful, almost poetic. Every word is chosen meticulously.

The story continues to be dark, but it's also beautiful and filled with themes of friendship and loyalty and how to battle and overcome your inner demons. Grey Sister starts roughly two years after the final chapters of Red Sister.

Nona is a terrific character, well developed, hot-headed, filled with energy and wit. She's damaged, but fiery and passionate, and she fights for what she believes in. She's often unpredictable, but intelligent and one of my favourite fantasy protagonists despite her young age.

Red Sister mainly focused on Nona, here we also get to see the story from the point of view of Abbess Glass, who is the leader of the convent, and through the point of view of Sister Kettle. Throughout the book, the side characters feel more fleshed out than they were in Red Sister.

The world is complex and intriguing and Mark Lawrence expands the story behind it quite a bit. It's a dying world, ice is closing in on the people living there, from all sides and there's not much more than a corridor left. There's a lot of political intrigue in this, something I always enjoy in fantasy books.

I highly recommend Red and Grey Sister to all fantasy fans.


  1. I still need to read Red Sister, but I heard so many good things. Happy to hear you enjoyed this sequel too. Hope to get to it soon. Great review!

  2. I tried reading Prince of Thorns at one point, but couldn't really get into Lawrence's style. It was fine, but I didn't really have any motivation to continue. If you've read Prince of Thorns, how does this series compare so far?

    1. It's an entirely different style. Prince of Thorns you have to deal with Jorg, and I think if you're not on board with Jorg or don't like his voice, the series won't work. Read an excerpt on Amazon to see how different the prose/voice is. I really recommend it if you like the coming of age, young girl in a school being trained to become a deadly nun, premise at all.

    2. Great, thank you! Because I like the idea of these books, but hesitate when I see Lawrence's name.

  3. ohhh Book 1 was a DNF for me! SO I haven't started the ARC of Grey Sister. But now your review is making reconsider!

  4. I'm certainly seeing a lot about this series on quite a few blogs.

  5. It is vital that fantasy novels build a strong identity for both setting and characters. It sounds like the author's poetic language really helps conjure this world to maximum effect.