Friday, May 19, 2017

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)Red Sister by Mark  Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I said it from the first pages of the book and I am still saying it as I get to the end. Red Sister is this magnificent fantasy with seriously kick-butt fight scenes and awesome displays of magic that I was lucky enough to receive a copy of from the publisher via NetGalley. Mark Lawrence has outdone himself. I have his other books on my to be read pile but something struck me about this book that I could not wait. As soon as I had a gap in my calendar for reviews owed by specific dates I jumped into this book, feet, mind and heart first. No mistake, this book can be heart-wrenching. From the beginning of the book when the reader is introduced to Nona Grey the reader is heart sick at how she is taken from her village and moved to what must be nothing but slavery where children are trained from a very young age to fight in pits after having been bought and dragged across lands to be sold to different men who house children to make them fight.
Nona is one inch from death when she is moved to the convent of the Sweet Mercy. What is different about Sweet Mercy is that each of the novices are taught not only about the religion that is prevalent in this world, but, also the craft of being an assassin which comes in many forms. What draws the reader to the convent’s world is a cast of amazing characters, from the diverse personality and gifts of the sisters that are training the girls to each of the novices. In the middle of all the training is the promise that there is a “chosen one” in which rumors have floated across the land and it looks like she may have come to Sweet Mercy. This creates an additional rivalry as the students start vying for their roles not only in the school, but also in the world. Ara is brought to the convent under heavy guard to be protected because the emperor’s sister is known to have tried to have her taken from her family.
The convent is the one place where, like Nona, she can be safe. Nona comes to the convent under a cloud of suspicion and known to be from “peasants”. She is the youngest and smallest when she arrives and initially does not seem to take well to the others, especially after being abandoned by her village. Clera is the first person to take Nona under wing and the second person she calls friend which is of the utmost importance to Clera, so much so it resonates throughout their relationship and especially at the end of this first part of the story and leads me to my most favorite line in the book: “You choose your friends. If you’re going to worship dead people you didn’t choose, then perhaps the bonds of friendship shouldn’t be so easily broken. No?’ At the end of the day, most of us can say we didn’t choose our families, but, we did choose our friends which makes that choice of the utmost importance and something worth protecting. We have to wait until the next book to see how Clera chooses as she seems to always choose economic gain.

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