By: Mark Lawrence
I was really excited to read Red Sister but I have to be honest for a little while I didn’t think I’d even finish it. This is mainly the story of Nona- trouble seems to find her and she winds up in the Convent of Sweet Mercy a school of girls being trained to become Nuns/ Sisters/ Super Assassins which sounded so bloody cool I jumped on it!
In the end despite putting it down for a while and some confusion with the two names of the teachers as well as a time jump it came down to…
I really loved the characters. I loved Nona, Ara, Clera and pretty much all the girls. The school is fun. I’m a particular fan of Sister Apple the poison teacher who gets to (gleefully) do what Snape could only dream.
Snape: You get to poison the students?
Sister: Well how else will they learn about poisons?
Snape: I need to go talk to my Head Master.
(She’s not trying to kill them though.)
I liked the magic system and not all the classes were fun and Nona wasn’t great at everything. Though this did lead to a bit Nona has issues, Nona gets beat up or in trouble and somehow everything is good rinse and repeat cycle. She’s also got powerful enemies that only being in the school is keeping her from.
But most importantly Nona is a sweetheart. Yes, a brutal killer in training (and not so much training) Lawrence takes the time to create real ties between the girls and we can see how and why Nona values friendship as greatly as anything else. The world building is slow and confusing because for the most part were learning with Nona and the girls.
It seems odd perhaps to say that a book about killer children and a dying world could also be such a sweet book about friendship and sisterhood. So character won out and my issues aside Grey Sister is already on it’s way and I’m here for the end of the girl’s journey rooting for them.