Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher: Ace

Length: 469 pages

Date(s) Read: April 2-9, 2019

Date Published: April 2017

My rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭒⭒

Goodreads Synopsis:

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive… “


Review: I have… A lot of mixed feelings after putting this book down for the last time. For example, I can’t decide whether this is a hard 3-star rating, or if it’s more of a 3.5-ish.

Honestly, I do think reading this in Mass Market Paperback format might not have been the right move because I’m not sure whether my difficulties paying attention to the words on the page were because of the words themselves or because of the formatting of the text (All small and close together as MMPs are.) Truthfully I ordered the MMP on accident because I didn’t want the hardcover and didn’t realize there wasn’t a trade paperback from Ace for this book. (Which… questionable decision on their part, IMO, but I’m not a publisher nor do I work in the publishing industry, so I digress.) So I thought I would be receiving a trade paperback and what I got was a mass market which did disappoint me a little but that’s the fault of my own dumb bitch flaws.

That said, the book itself didn’t make me feel…. anything?

I liked the action, the gore, the magic system. I liked Nona, and I especially liked her friendships with Ara and Hessa. I didn’t like Clera, but not in the way that makes me think that was a fault of the writing or the book and I’m pretty sure it was a strength as some characters are meant to be unlikeable by design (as hard as that concept is for some readers to learn…)

And I do want to continue the series. I’m excited to read Grey Sister, but I think I’ll be getting a copy of the hardback from the library to avoid this confusion about whether my apathy is a fault of the book itself or the format I read it in.

However, even though there was a lot that I liked… there just wasn’t quite enough for me. I ended up skimming a lot of paragraphs, and I feel like I didn’t miss much in doing so, which means that a lot of the stuff I skimmed probably could have been cut. The writing style does get a little boring in certain parts. I mean how am I reading about a young girl murdering a man, and all these gory bloody descriptions, and yet my only thought is essentially a non-reaction and “Okay, then what?” I think it’s really just the voice that Mark Lawrence wrote this in that made it difficult for me to really feel connect.

I’m excited to read the next book. Then again, I was also excited to read this one, so I’ll try not to get my hopes too high.

2 thoughts on “Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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