There are a few stand out scenes, such as the scene with the candle or the first time Nona takes a few steps along the path, but the rest are just what you would expect from a magical academy story. The beginning and end of the book are awesome. It is here where they train future nuns within certain art forms and most importantly, where all revere the Ancestor. In addition to the antics at the convent, the nuns and novices travel elsewhere in this world should their studies find it befitting, such as training with other youths at The Academy. The skills they have acquired depend on which of the four legendary Abeth tribes these novices descended from.
Ok, I can see why some people might want to compare the convent to Hogwarts, but. These scenes brought me metaphorically back down to Earth where I had to put the book down for a second and re-analyse that these girls were that young going through what would make many grown men weak at the bladder. It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. She interests me enough to pique my curiosity in the sequel, but she falls into the same old badass female assassin mold that's become the norm in fantasy. The fabrication of the abnormal powers seems confusing at first but I believe this is intentional.
I mean, yes there are kids being trained in a 'school setting' to use different forms of magic, there are friendships and rivalries, and there is a prophecy about a Chosen One who will save the day. A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. If you like fresh, take-no-prisoners fantasy, this is for you. In Red Sister he has produced a novel that is as thought provoking as it is entertaining, and as poignant as it is ferocious. You can never be too cautious with those religious types. Keith from United States Really loved this book.
But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. I can't wait to read more of Nona's story - I have no idea where it's going but I'm desperate to find out. It's a fairly medium-length book, and it's on the shorter side for adult fantasy, and yet it felt so very long. Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way. Nona reminded me of Sonea from the Magician's Trilogy.
Some people think it was too boring and some loved it. I love the fact that this novel has no romantic relationships even though the main character is female. They were a brilliant touch that took the reading experience to a whole new level for me. As a reader, this left me unfulfilled. Perhaps a few adults have either, but they at least have learned some bitter lessons.
Because I have a feeling that it's going to be the one that takes this to whole new level. Young farm girl with magical talents that left her not sure of who she really is. Nona, a fiery but slightly damaged peasant with talents she doesn't truly understand then finds herself in the establishment where the Sisters of Sweet Mercy frequent. Her agency is taken away from her as she bounces around from village to slave master to fighters guild to death row before finally being taken in by the sisters of the Sweet Mercy convent, who immediately see the potential that Nona possesses and pledge to make the most of it. Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice.
Even on the gallows platform with the rope scratching at their wrists and the shadow of the noose upon their face they know that someone will step forward, a mother, a father returned from some long absence, a king dispensing justice. Our protagonist is a young girl who we are introduced to initially whilst she is awaiting execution via the gallows for killing a renowned pit-fighter. Nona is of course, in an educational environment and as she learns about the magic, possibilities, poisons and histories of the world, then we as readers learn it also. Our gaps in knowledge are filled as the tale progresses, with the necessary information as Nona learns herself; which equals heightened affinity to our protagonist because we are going through the same learning issues and symptoms. Nona was about to be hanged but she was saved by one of the sisters and carted off to the nun school. Throughout this narrative, we flaunt within the mind of and follow the actions of Nona. Nona is of course, in an educational environment and as she learns about the magic, possibilities, poisons and histories of the world, then we as readers learn it also.
Book of the Month Red Sister by Mark Lawrence is a new story in a new world by an author who is trying and succeeding in my opinion to stand out as one of the premier fantasy storytellers of the last few years. The trials and tribulations here, in some aspects, are similar to youth experienced by all young girls such as making friends, dealing with bullies and disliking teachers amongst other dramas. Terrific writing, outstanding nuanced characters, character development, wonderful world building, cohesive plotting and beautiful writing. At the moment, as stated, I would say they are on par, however; we have no idea of the full possibilities. This is no pretty, flowery tale, but one of vastly different people struggling to survive when a hostile government comes to power.
For precision, complexity and potential - the magics are potentially on par with the Warrens used in Malazan and Allomancy in Mistborn. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. Now don't get me wrong, there are some bloody killings in this book but we will get to the main stuff in the other books I do believe. I was born for killing — the gods made me to ruin.