Audio: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Posted September 15, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | | 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audio: Red Sister by Mark LawrenceRed Sister by Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestor #1
Narrator: Heather O'Neil
Published by Ace on April 4, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Length: 19 hours, 21 minutes
Source: Publisher
Audio | Goodreads
four-half-stars

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

 

             

 

I waited a long time to start Red Sister.  It’s fantasy which I never quite believe I will like. Fantasy can be dark, violent, even brutal with almost no humor. Audio is a way I slip myself into the story. I wanted to try this author. I’m so glad I did.

The world-building here is huge. It has the fantasy standard of feudal groups fighting for power. There is royalty and there are peasants. Our girl is a peasant. We follow Nona’s life from small child to older child, I guess. There is a religious aspect which I usually dislike but this felt more political, which religion often is political. The backdrop of all the places in Nona’s life is richly painted.  The magical system is unique and the details unfold somewhat throughout the story.

The characters are also huge. Nona struggles to grow and learn, never quite believing herself worthwhile. She has no one to trust or to rely upon for support. There are many supporting players which we have a sense of their integrity and goals but none are so complete as our storyteller Nona.  Some seem good or evil or varying places along that spectrum, but few feel trustworthy. I care about Nona and her cohorts.

I enjoyed Heather O’Neil’s narration very much. I did listen at 1.25 speed. Her voice felt true for Nona. She did an excellent job with different characters and genders, giving them each a touch of unique characterization. She brought forth the emotions in the characters and for me.

This is gritty and often brutal, somewhat normal in fantasy,. The unfairness of social castes is clear, as it always is. The build of knowledge and various people’s goals is steady, but not fast. I hurt for the burdens Nona took upon herself and others heaped on her. The steadfast nature of her choices is heart-wrenching. I support Nona and worry for her and cheer her successes.

This is the first in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy. I’ll be looking forward to Grey Sister projected for next April. With the title, I wondered if it was the perspective of another sister. But it is the continuation of Nona’s story with a view to another option based on her blood. So, WOW, I am going to have to read more by this author.

 

 

Listen to a clip here.

 

 

About Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence was born in Champagne-Urbanan, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire comes the bestselling RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. The BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy, in an entirely new setting, commences with RED SISTER in 2017.

Review Breakdown
Story (Plot)
four-stars
Writing
five-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Narration (Audio)
four-half-stars
Overall: four-half-stars
Anne
Follow Me

Anne

Reviewer at The Book Nympho
I can't really remember any time when I wasn't reading.I LOVE books and what they give me.It's an opportunity to learn new things, see new places,live different emotions in a "safe" way.It lets me live in a new world.

I read all types of books but my favorites are urban fantasy and romantic suspense.I like some romance and some action / adventure / mystery in everything.I like sex in my books but please, only between TWO people.Intimate conversation is equally important to the sex in a book.It lets me see the characters.The other thing I enjoy is humor.I'll be doing a feature monthly called Thrifty Thursday,which reviews books (ebooks)that have been available for free.

Friend me at Goodreads.
Anne
Follow Me

Latest posts by Anne (see all)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


What do you think