Title: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)
Author: Mark Lawrence
Pub. Date: April 3rd 2018
Publisher: Ace/Penguin Random House
Format: Physical finished copy from Publisher
Content Warning: gore, torture, loss of a child
*HUGE thanks to Ace and Mark Lawrence for the early finished copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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.
Grey Sister was on my highly anticipated list of sequels being released in 2018 after reading & loving Red Sister (my review here) to pieces last year. The main protagonist Nona still remains one of my all time favorite kick a** females I’ve come across on the page. If you’re primarily a YA Fantasy reader but have been curious & feeling the urge to dip your toes into the waters of adult fantasy then I’d say please start here! If you’ve been looking for more books featuring positive female friendships, please start here! & if you are a lover of school settings where magic & martial arts come together, please start here! If you’re looking for positive LGBTQIA+ representation in Fantasy, please start here! I was one of those readers intimidated by adult fantasy because of the vast world building & discovering Mark Lawrence will always be one of the best reader moments in my bookworm life. The complexities of the world building once again felt weightless when I picked up Grey Sister which speaks to the talent behind the pen. The inclusion (before the prologue) of a quick run-down of the major happenings in Red Sister is a wonderful courtesy to readers & so appreciated by this bookworm!
Hunska: Speed (faster than your average human)
Gerrant: Physically large & strong
Marjal: ability to do magic on a smaller scale
Quantal: ability to walk the path & more complex magic
*Nona is a rare triple blood having Hunska, Marjal, and Quantal abilities
Novices have 10 years to complete training & take orders as one of the four classes “Holy Sister (entirely religious duties), Grey Sister/Sister of Discretion (trained in assassination and stealth), Red Sister/Martial Sister (trained in combat), Holy Witch/Mystic Sister (trained to walk the path)”
When we pick up, Nona has moved up to Mystic class (she’s completed both Red & Grey Class) and is on her way to becoming one of the illest Red Sisters alive. Sweet Mercy is still her home where she trains alongside friends and foes. Classes are way more intense & so are the rivalries but this time is a little different. Nona has a unwelcome companion that adds a bit of dark humor to the mix & I found myself laughing out loud at his “words of encouragement”🤦🏻♀️one thing does remain the same, Nona may be fierce as hell but she is still willing to forgive those who have wronged her. Friendship is once again center stage & is one of the things I love most about this series. Nona has pretty much had to create her own family within Sweet Mercy, her sisters are all she has. We see the return of some favorites while they mourn the loss of others & cope with the betrayal of those they thought most loyal. For Nona, letting go of the past without answers to the questions haunting her every move is just not an option. This book sees Nona take action and go after those corrupt leaders in the Empire who are thirsty for more power.
We also got to see more of our favorite teachers in action alongside Nona & crew. This time around there’s also more opposition from some of the teachers who’d rather Nona be released from her duties in Sweet Mercy. Nonetheless, Abbess Glass (reminds me a bit of Dumbledore hehe) is fair & just, taking a rather protective stance over Nona who she knows has no ties to the outside world. Revenge is a recurrent theme, Nona is out to get hers while also being sought out for her actions in Red Sister. Nona’s character development is perhaps one of the best aspects of this series. She’s no longer the 8 year old we met at the gallows in book 1, she’s matured into a teenager who is learning how to manage her demons. If you’ve been around my blog for a minute, it’s no secret I admire Nona and Grey Sister only amplified my love for this character. If she wasn’t dealing with her new Nemesis in Sweet Mercy (who btw made me want to jump through the book and back up my girl Nona), you could probably find her in the caves underneath Sweet Mercy with her friends, plotting her next moves.
My favorite parts were seeing Nona both prep and actually go through the Shadow Trial, in Sweet Mercy these convent games determine your passage to the next class. The ingenuity she mustered up in the face of truly devious competition had me smiling from ear to ear rooting her on. The action sequences have a cinematic feel making it very easy to picture & get caught up in the moment. Lawrence takes us along on Nona’s journey through the ranks, her victories and failures are truly felt on the pages. The villains in this installment have been identified on the chess board but I have a feeling Lawrence has a few more tricks up his sleeve for the final installment in this trilogy, Holy Sister. The Book of the Ancestor is set to wrap up in 2019 with Holy Sister already completed 🤗 SUPER STOKED to see how it all ends & seeing Nona in all her Red Sister glory!
Buddy read with the wonderful Melanie from Meltotheany, seriously bookworms if you’re not following her you’re missing out on some of the BEST EPIC reviews & insight in the blogosphere & Goodreads 💜
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