Red Sister, by Mark Lawrence

Let me start with a word of warning: Mark Lawrence's latest fantasy novel Red Sister is really, really violent. Scenes include (but are by no means limited to) the execution of a child, the torture of an older woman, and the fatal beating of an animal. There's a lot to admire about this book, but readers with delicate sensibilities should take heed.

As a child of nine, Nona Grey is already a convicted murderer. She is literally snatched from the gallows by the Abbess of the Convent of Sweet Mercy, a religious order that raises young girls with certain talents to become mystics and killers. The convent has no particular sense of Nona's gifts, but it soon becomes clear that they have found someone with a unique talent, even among an entire class of budding assassins.

In addition to all the murdering and torture, Red Sister features some of my favorite fantasy tropes: a school/training environment, political intrigue, and a “Chosen One” storyline that takes some actual twists and turns. As mentioned above, there is a lot of mega-grim material in this story, and I'm a total wuss about that sort of thing, so it's a testament to the excellence of Lawrence's storytelling, the grace of his writing style, and the strength of his characterization that I not only made it through this book, but am eager to read the next installment.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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