Book Review: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Grey Sister 1

Synopsis: 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.

Author: Mark Lawrence

Title: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Date: 2018

Grey Sister 2

Red Sister

Previous reviews have given away that I’m a big Mark Lawrence fan: his dark humour, intense plotlines and fantastic characterisations won me over from the first book. There aren’t many authors who have a murderer, or someone with murderous intentions, as their main character and make you love them.

I was excited to start reading Grey Sister. I thoroughly enjoyed Red Sister – the magic, the characters and the plot – and was eagerly anticipating what was still in store for Nona and co.

When the first paragraph of the what-happened-in-book-one has won you over, you know you’re going to be in for a good read.  There’s no unnecessary recap, no explanations that haven’t earned their place, and it gives the book a fast pace from the start – you’re thrust back into the characters’ lives a few years after you left them. They know what they’ve been through in that time; you have to figure it out through snippets.

“Heard?” Zole turned. “Nothing but footsteps in the night. But it is enough to know you. You will make your move today. You would not strike against a friend, Nona Grey.”

It’s a refreshing way of writing that instantly holds your attention – you have to try and put the pieces together, so you keep reading not only to find out what will happen, but what has happened. It’s been a while since the writing style, more than any other elements, has caught my attention so quickly.

Nona is a few years older in this book, having just advanced in her classes at Sweet Mercy, learning what it takes to become a Sister and be the Shield she is destined to be. But past events have left their mark: Hessa’s death still goes unavenged and Nona has a new companion in the form of a devil living under her skin.

Despite being more advanced in her magic, Nona is still the same fantastic character from the first book. She’s strong, she’s powerful, and she also shows her vulnerabilities. There aren’t many protagonists I’ve read who admit so openly to their terror. She is still a young girl, after all, and human. She feels pain and doesn’t try and deny it. Instead, she uses it.

Grey Sister 3

The same secondary characters from the first book are still present: Ara, Darla and crew. Sister Kettle, however, is given the chance to shine in this book. She is a far more prominent character than previously and forms a bond – literally – with Nona. The strength of their friendship is refreshing compared to the dark tones of the book.

Abbess Glass is one manipulative lady who I would never want to cross! Without giving things away, events are never quite what they seem when she is involved.

A fast-paced, gritty and dark tale interwoven with love and friendship. These girls will literally do anything for each other, from facing impossibly odds to braving the darkness without knowing if return is possible. The magic is more complex in this one, but you’re drawn into the world within a couple of pages.

Grey Sister did not disappoint and I’m looking forward to seeing what is still in store for Nona and her friends.

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