Skip to content

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence. Book review

Holy sister book cover showing a young woman holding a red, glowing orb

Nona Grey is coming of age and on the cusp of entering the order at the Convent of Sweet Mercy, as a nun. But with the ice continuing to advance, leaving a narrowing corridor in which all the races must fight for space, enemies are everywhere. Not only must Nona now take up her calling, but at the same time prepare to fight in a war where the outcome does not look hopeful for Nona and her friends.

It really is necessary to read the previous two volumes of this Book of the Ancestor trilogy before embarking on the adventure that is Holy Sister. Not so much because it gives a better sense of Nona Grey’s unforgiving and politically intricate world, but more because you will have missed out on some thrilling and engaging reading.

There is a wonderful consistency across this trilogy with regards to the quality of the plot, and immersion of the reader into Nona’s world, enabling an intense read made all the more thrilling because you really care about the characters within it.

The Book of the Ancestor trilogy is certainly a series which lends itself to a cinematic rendering as it zooms in and out to embrace both the epic scale of the planet of Abeth orbiting a dying red sun, and the intimacies of its inhabitants’ trials and tribulations.

The plotting is superb. No less due to the steady unfolding of the indomitable Abbess Glass’s incredible legacy, leading to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

The trilogy is worthy of being considered a classic because of its broad scope and ability to weave in the type of details which makes it all the richer with subsequent reading. Added to this the age of the main protagonist should firmly place the novels within the young adult category. But Mark Lawrence is the master of the type of writing which extends the reading age range right into main stream adult grim-dark fantasy.

Holy Sister was courtesy of HarperVoyager via NetGalley.