Review: Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence

Rating: ★★★★★


he searing conclusion of the thrilling epic fantasy trilogy that saw a young girl trained by an arcane order of nuns grow into the fiercest of warriors…

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat. 

Nona Grey faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that she and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep. 

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her. 

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.


YUGE thanks to the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

What can I really say that is going to make you read this book? You either enjoy Lawrence’s books or you OMFG THIS MAN CAN DO NO WRONG. SERIOUSLY, WHEN DOES HIS NEXT BOOK COME OUT BECAUSE I AM GOING TO PREORDER IT RIGHT NOW – LOVE his books. I can safely say that I am in the latter because I know that every time I open up one of his novels, I am in for a treat that has beautifully crafted prose, entrancingly expansive yet claustrophobic world-building, a unique and impressive magic system, and characters that not only kick ass and take names, but do so with flair.

Holy Sister nips at the heels of Grey Sister, and since it has been a year since we last journeyed round the ice with Nona, Mark has kindly given us a bit of a recap at the beginning. It is always a nice touch when authors do this as not all of us have time to re-read the first 2+ books in a series to remember exactly all that has happened.

We are given two (2) timelines this time around: the first being the present where Nona is in Holy Class and has to make the difficult decision of which order she will become; the second being three (3) years in the past and taking place moments after the ending of Grey Sister. Mark expertly crafts both of these timelines together to make for seamless transitions between chapters. The end of each chapter feels like its own mini cliffhanger, only to be satisfied immediately within the next few words.

While the author has a knack for writing well thought out and descriptive fight scenes, his ability to build up a battle for the ages in just a few short chapters is simply stunning. But what I am really chuffed about, and have to agree with my co-reviewer Griffin on, is the creation of the ship-hearts and the artificial moon. The entirety of the planet warring over control of these ancient items in order to negate the fast-paced movement of the ice and ensure their survival.

Guys and gals… I really cannot say more about how Mark’s writing has affected me since I first began reading his works. Anytime his name is attached to something, I have to have it. I may not be the first to read or review it, heck, probably not even the first to talk about it, but I know that I can bite into his writing, chew slowly to savor the words as they gush out, and know that I will be pleasantly full by the time it is over.

This trilogy, like the Broken Empire (and when I finally get to reading it, more than likely The Red Queen’s War), will be one I come back to over and over again. I can imagine there are so many things I have missed, but just the prose alone is enough to have me clamoring for more.

7 Comments Add yours




  2. Paul's Picks says:

    Excellent review! Another series I have to get reading soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David says:

      Thanks, Paul! Yes you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, this is your review now! Well, it appears I agree with Griffin AND you on this book too! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad you loved this one too!! And I really agree about how wonderful the prose is! Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David says:

      Thank you!!!


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