Hardcover: 469 pages
Audiobook: 19 hours and 21 minutes
*Originally reviewed on Booknest.eu*
Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Lawrence.
That is all.
Kidding, but not fully.
Compared to Mark’s other works (Broken Empire and Red Queen’s War trilogies), Red Sister stands completely on its own and casts its own shadow on the genre. Never have I been so infatuated with a character such as Nona Grey and more interested in a school’s teachings than with the Convent of Sweet Mercy. She is such a complex, yet simple character and you are on for the ride of your life with her story.
Much like the Harry Potter series (sorry, have to go there), the first book of the Red Sister trilogy takes place in a ‘school’ environment, along with teachers that are either loved or loathed, classmates who become friends or enemies, and lessons that are learned or ignored. But unlike Hogwarts, the students of Sweet Mercy are taught how to kill, and oft times ruthlessly. But before the killing begins, there must be a solid foundation of understanding the powers that are hidden and waiting to unfolded.
Though most of the novel takes place in the Convent, there is some world-building to be had, mostly through flashbacks and journeys. A map would’ve been useful but I’m sure we will get a better taste of the world in the sequel(s). There is also a magic system in place that takes a little time getting used to as it is complex yet fresh and riveting.
There is, in the act of destruction, a beauty which we try to deny, and a joy which we cannot. Children build to knock down, and though we may grow around it, that need runs in us, deeper than our blood.
Violence is the language of destruction, flesh so often the subject, fragile, easy to break beyond repair, precious: what else would we burn to make the world take note?
Your death has not been waiting for your arrival at the appointed hour: it has, for all the years of your life, been racing towards you with a fierce velocity of time’s arrow. It cannot be evaded, it cannot be bargained with, deflected or placated. All that is given to you is the choice: meet it with open eyes and peace in your heart, go gentle to your reward. Or burn bright, take up arms, and fight the bitch.
Quotes like this are why I love reading Mark’s novels.
It’s just, simply put, beautiful. His writing is exemplary, genius, and will have you constantly coming back for more. My favorite parts had to be the prologues and epilogue, as they give you just a subtle taste of what is to come. Mark’s a tease but I’ll deal with it while he continues to write wonderful novels.