Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)
They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3) Details

TitleHoly Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 4th, 2019
PublisherHarper Voyager
ISBN-139780008152406
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Magic

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3) Review

  • Mark Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    Out today in the USA!The draft blurb:In Holy class Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. The ice still advances, the Corridor still narrows, and the empire is under siege. Scithrowl have invaded in the east, Durns in the west. Everywhere the emperor’s armies are in retreat. It seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn the habit of a nun before war is on their doorstep.Abbess Glass has played the l Out today in the USA!The draft blurb:In Holy class Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. The ice still advances, the Corridor still narrows, and the empire is under siege. Scithrowl have invaded in the east, Durns in the west. Everywhere the emperor’s armies are in retreat. It seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn the habit of a nun before war is on their doorstep.Abbess Glass has played the long game all her life but with everyone reaching for the moon will her planning suffice to steer it in the right direction?War is coming and even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn this tide. The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming where she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle where her own demons will try to unmake her. A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.I am Nona Grey and if you come against me I will make a ruin of your life.Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC given to me by my amazingly kind friend - Alexa at Alexa Loves Books! “When they put us in that cage we never really came out of it again.” Good Lord, Mark Lawrence has truly created a once in a lifetime series that I will cherish forever. Holy Sister is the third and final book in a series that will go down in history as one of the brightest shining lights in SFF history. I very much implore you to read Bound after Grey Sister, but before Holy Sister because it really works as a much-need ARC given to me by my amazingly kind friend - Alexa at Alexa Loves Books! “When they put us in that cage we never really came out of it again.” Good Lord, Mark Lawrence has truly created a once in a lifetime series that I will cherish forever. Holy Sister is the third and final book in a series that will go down in history as one of the brightest shining lights in SFF history. I very much implore you to read Bound after Grey Sister, but before Holy Sister because it really works as a much-needed bridge short story. This book is told in two timeless; one, after the events of Grey Sister, and then three years later. But the interchanging of these two timelines, both in Nona’s perspective, was truly the perfect way to craft this tale. This series is all about a girl named Nona who we get to see grow up, but we meet her during her childhood when she hasn’t had the easiest of lives, and is currently in the gallows for attempted murder, but is saved and taken to a convent of nuns who all are able to harness magical abilities, and we quickly learn that Nona has some magical abilities herself. Yet now, in this last book, this convent, Sweet Mercy, and all the characters we have grown to love, have threats surrounding them and all their lives are on the line. My favorite part of this book? I have truly fallen in love with these magical assassin nuns and I’m honestly prepared to die for any and all of them. Truly, the found family in this book is just unparalleled by anything else. From the bonds of sisters, to the bonds of lovers, to the bonds of just women loving and accepting each other, regardless of the paths you have walked or are currently walking in life. All the side characters are some of the greatest of all time, but Apple and Kettle will never leave me or my heart. And Glass will forever and always be my queen. But Mark Lawrence truly gave me everything I wanted when he crafted Nona, and in this book especially when he made Nona attracted to multiple genders, most likely bisexual. But Nona is a pan goddess in my eyes, and no one can change my mind on this. Also, she will go down as one of my favorite characters of all-time. She’s come far, from learning that the word brave does mean to be strong, but it also means to be vulnerable and willing to let people in. Seeing her grow, with this group of girls, but also by herself, while being shaped by this cruel and unforgiving world, filled with even more cruel and unforgiving circumstances; it’s so beautiful I don’t even have words for it. “The fight matters. But in the end it is never truly won or lost, and victory lies in discovering that we are bigger than it is.” Watching Nona become the woman she is, and watching her walk this path, all the paths, I don’t even have words for it. I think this entire series is going to stand the test of time and go down as one of the best fantasies ever written. The story is just perfection, the characters are my favorite, the writing is so smart and so beautiful, the themes are life changing, and the entire story is completely unforgettable. If you haven’t picked up Red Sister yet, I’m begging you to give it a try. This trilogy is truly a masterpiece. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | TwitchThe quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Content and trigger warnings loss of a loved one, queer characters do die (most characters in this are/seem queer, so I don’t think it’s a bury your gays trope, but use caution still), violence, gore, torture, human trafficking, kidnapping, and war themes.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I love you, Nona!There’s me done then. Damn, I wish the book was longer. I didn’t want to cry today. Thank you for a great trilogy, Mr. Lawrence. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Ace—in exchange for an honest review.Holy Sister is an incredibly powerful and satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogy I’ve ever read.I won’t lie, a week ago I started rereading Red Sister mostly for the purpose of satisfying my completionist nature and eventually putting Book of the Ancestor into my “completed series I’ve read” list. However, the incredible of rereading Red Sister made me incoherently excited to continue with the series and here I am now. ARC provided by the publisher—Ace—in exchange for an honest review.Holy Sister is an incredibly powerful and satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogy I’ve ever read.I won’t lie, a week ago I started rereading Red Sister mostly for the purpose of satisfying my completionist nature and eventually putting Book of the Ancestor into my “completed series I’ve read” list. However, the incredible of rereading Red Sister made me incoherently excited to continue with the series and here I am now. I have binged read and reviewed the entire series within a week, and I can say with confidence that this series has become one of my favorite coming-of-age fantasy series of all time. “To sow knowing that you will not reap is an old kind of love, and love has always been the best key for unlocking the future.” Holy Sister is the third and last book in Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy. The ice is closing, the Corridor is narrowing, and the empire is under siege from all direction; dangers are everywhere and Nona Grey will have to exceed her own maximum capability in the upcoming final battle. In my opinion, this is by far Mark Lawrence’s best series and it's also his best work so far. I’m still amazed by how clever it all came together. We’ve always known that Abbess Glass is playing the long game since the first installment; it all came to fruition here. Just like Abbess Glass’s long game, we can only know what Lawrence’s saving for us by reading this outstanding installment to the end. The plot of the series is so cleverly planned and structured; connecting every single plot-thread all the way back to the prologue, interlude, and epilogue of Red Sister. Unlike Grey Sister, we’re back to having Nona as the sole POV to read here. The narrative is divided into two timelines:1. Continues immediately from where the last book left off.2. The present-day; three years after the end of Grey Sister. Nona is now in Holy Class and she has to choose which order she’ll become when she becomes a full sister.The story starts up slowly and it was well-paced. From the beginning, the buildup of the tension escalated non-stop until the pulse-pounding conclusion. The usage of the two timelines—both from Nona’s perspectives—was smartly executed; it was never confusing and it felt crucial in enhancing the compelling nature of the novel. The book was deftly written, extremely well-polished, and the storytelling style felt like watching a pendulum that swings from left to right continuously in order to create a smooth flow of emotional impact. I mean it, the second half evoked a variety of emotions; laughter, sadness, anger, and tension were there; making the climax sequences gripping and utterly hard to put down. The carnage, the thrill of battle, the blood-soaked war, the brutal magic unleashed, and the clash of weaponry were vividly written; it truly felt like I was there with Nona and her friends. “The fight matters. But in the end it is never truly won or lost, and victory lies in discovering that we are bigger than it is.” Before I close my review, I would like to say that the greatness within this series was achievable due to how well-written the characters were; their developments throughout the series was astounding. Nona Grey has officially become one of the greatest heroines I’ve ever read in a fantasy novel. She’s flawed, loyal, kind, and simply inspiring as a person. The present may be full of darkness; familiar landscape changed by war. The future may be bleak, but she never gives up. Her friendship with her friends remains her beacon of hope and I loved every moment of reading her journey with her friends. By involving and developing every single character brilliantly, it honestly feels bittersweet to me to have read the conclusion of this series; I'm sad to say goodbye to these characters, but I'm glad to have read this trilogy.Picture: Sister Cage by banishedshadowIf you’re reading this review, rest assured that the best of parts of the book are purposely excluded from this review; you simply have to read and experience them for yourself. Mark Lawrence has outdone himself with the creation of Holy Sister. I have mixed feelings on Lawrence’s previous trilogy, I wouldn’t have thought that Book of the Ancestor would become one of the greatest trilogies I’ve ever read but here it is; suffice to say that I recommend this series with all my heart. That's all from me. Series Review: Red Sister: 4.5/5 stars Grey Sister: 4/5 stars Holy Sister: 5/5 stars Book of the Ancestor: 13.5/15 stars Official release date: April 4, 2019 (UK) and April 9, 2019 (US)You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Spoiler free review! 🗡🗡🗡🗡🗡 ****OUT NOW****When writing about a book that’s the third and final in a trilogy, there’s only so much that can be said without edging into spoiler territory. So this review, if it can be called that, is done with the lightest touch, hopefully just conveying some sense of the range of feelings the books evoked in me.More than almost any other series I’ve read, the three novels which form the Book of the Ancestor feel like one continuous story. Perhaps this is a reflect Spoiler free review! 🗡🗡🗡🗡🗡 ****OUT NOW****When writing about a book that’s the third and final in a trilogy, there’s only so much that can be said without edging into spoiler territory. So this review, if it can be called that, is done with the lightest touch, hopefully just conveying some sense of the range of feelings the books evoked in me.More than almost any other series I’ve read, the three novels which form the Book of the Ancestor feel like one continuous story. Perhaps this is a reflection of the way the oft quoted opening line ‘it is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size’ links the prologue in a surprising way to the trilogy’s finale. It’s only at the end that you can truly see the shape of it; the beauty of story made circular. If not for the considerations of time and space, the books would be best read straight through. For all those who haven’t started this series yet, and I recommend you get right on that, give yourself some time to experience the wholeness of it. From the finish, the artificial boundaries made by the division into three seem somewhat arbitrary and while the first two books conclude with explosive and brutally fun high action set pieces, they don’t necessarily serve to illuminate the really significant junctures of the story. Or at least, not all of them. This is a character driven narrative and Nona's journey, her growth, is a continuous thing. There’s an equality of significance given to all types of moments, the smaller, private ones having as much impact for Nona as the ones she faces blade in hand. Each builds upon the other so that the world altering choices she makes at the end of Holy Sister can only be understood in terms of the entirety of her experience. Our assumptions about her path, directed in part by the tricksy author and in part by what we ‘know’ about fantasy writing, lead us to believe in what seems like an inevitable conclusion, yet those expectations are repeatedly demolished. The lessons she’s learned aren’t the ones you think. And that means she never ceases to surprise.The pacing in this book follows a similar structure to Grey Sister. It starts out in an interesting but measured fashion, so much that you wonder if it’s going to be like this all the way through, then it’s all whatthehellyoucantdothatohmygod The End. Once it hits a certain part, be prepared to go all the way. You won’t be putting the book down, that’s for sure. It epitomises the reading experience i’ve had throughout the series, an essential contradiction of which I can’t help be aware. Namely, that the action scenes are so good, and I mean ridiculously good, that I’m constantly jonesing to get to them as soon and as often as possible, but that none of those moments would be anywhere near as affecting or effective if I didn’t care as much about the characters, a depth of feeling built in the slower moments. The space utilised on what may initially seem like trivialities, Nona’s schooling/training for example, is where relationships develop in to the type of bonds that will save the world. Nona’s foundations are her friendships, the love and loyalty that bind her to other people. It might take time to show that to the reader but the payoff is huge. The close focus shapes the whole story. This is a book that dares to put things offstage, battles detailed only when literally they turn up on Nona’s doorstep. How many other authors would put a whole war in the background? Most of what the reader knows is through Nona and if she’s not there to see it, only so much can be told. As in Grey Sister, there’s some scope for alternate viewpoints, through Kettle for example (as an aside, I love Kettle, she’s the best character in the series. Come at me), but there’s this brilliant dichotomy between a comprehensive, multilayered world that clearly and vibrantly exists and the limited slice we get to see. In the dual timeline of this book it allows scope for playing with what’s known by various characters, deepening the layers of the intricate, high-stakes plots, and heightening tension via misdirection and the withholding of knowledge. Only when seen from the end, when the circle is completed, can we discern how the long game played by Abbess Glass fits together. Only then can we see who Nona really is. And none of it will turn out as you imagined.An exceptional series and by far my favourite of Mark Lawrence’s work. It has that something that sets it apart. It has the deft, unexpected characterisation, the perfect turn of phrase, the killer hook we’ve seen before in his other series, but this has a magic all of its own. I can’t explain it and I’m not going to try. I cheered and I cried. Then I cried some more. I was surprised, amused, and devastated. The author snuck in some stuff that I can’t even talk about because its spoilery, but damn I didn’t see that coming. As for a happy ending? Well, you know who wrote it, right??? That’s all I’m saying. Make sure this is on your 2019 reading list. Highly recommended.
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  • Mayticks
    January 1, 1970
  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher. While I am thankful for the gift, the giving of it had no impact on this review. All views below are completely my own.Holy Sister keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page. It’s an incredibly smart conclusion to a standout, action-packed series, with heartbreak and triumph mingled on nearly every page. I can’t remember the last time I felt so satisfied upon finishing a You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher. While I am thankful for the gift, the giving of it had no impact on this review. All views below are completely my own.Holy Sister keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page. It’s an incredibly smart conclusion to a standout, action-packed series, with heartbreak and triumph mingled on nearly every page. I can’t remember the last time I felt so satisfied upon finishing a book. “Some lessons must be written in scars.”In this book we’ve finally come full circle, experiencing the stunning introduction to Red Sister in real time. The novices we’ve come to know and love over the course of this trilogy are now nearly grown, forced to prematurely take their vows in the face of war-laced apocalypse. As the moon weakens and ice encroaches from the north and the south, the only land left to fight over is the small Corridor of yet unfrozen terrain around circling the middle of Abeth. And there just isn’t room for everyone.“North and south the ice squeezed and all the nations of the Corridor bled.”“A million words won’t push the ice back, not even the breadth of a finger. But one word will break a heart, two will mend it, and three will lay the highest low.”Grey Sister presented us with a tale from two perspectives. In Holy Sister we are again seeing things entirely through Nona’s eyes, but are alternating time frames, hopping between present day and three years ago, as we see what happened in the immediate aftermath of Grey Sister’s climax. As we progress, we see how and why Nona makes the decisions she does, and what kind of impact that has on those around her. Nona’s character development over the course of this series is mind-blowing. She’s one of the bravest, coldest, most loving characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She’s a calculating badass who throws herself into danger with almost no fear of what might befall her, but she will go to any lengths necessary to protect those she loves even as she uses them. And those she loves are numerous. I would have never thought when I first met her in Red Sister that Nona would have one of the biggest hearts in fiction, but she undoubtably does. I can say without qualm that she’s my favorite heroine in the fantasy genre.“I must caution you. Nona Grey could tear this street open to the bedrock to see you dead, and level the houses all around us. She could blast you with such force that the amulets your gold has purchased would burn and fall to dust. And before I could take a single step to stop her you would all be smoking offal amid the ruin… You should know that I would do everything in my power to bring her to the emperor’s justice after such an outburst. But it would be scant consolation to your corpses.”As much as I love Nona, I feel that the true hero of this series is Abbess Glass. The way she sees the world and its most probable futures is insane, but her ability to recruit others to serve as her knowing and willing pawns is even more astounding. She is everything I love about characters such as Gandalf and Dumbledore and McGonagall all mingled into one person. I’m just so blown away by her. I am also incredibly impressed by the development the author gave to many of the other nuns, especially the likes of Pan, Wheel, and Tallow. What Lawrence was able to do here was show that any female, whether aged or youthful, regardless of talent or skill level or interests, has the capacity to be a hero of epic proportions. I have never read another book or series with so many strong, well-developed, completely epic female characters, let alone but a male author. I applaud Lawrence so much for this amazing cast of nuns and novices. “…the application of knowledge could unlock doors that her flaw-blades couldn’t so much as scratch, and it could bring down those so mighty that no feat of arms would stay their hand.”“To sow knowing that you will not reap is an old kind of love, and love has always been the best key for unlocking the future.”I also want to take a moment to recognize Lawrence’s wonderful way with words. He paints lovely pictures with his sentences, and they are a pleasure to read. I would consider this series literary fantasy, as the writing is not only important but almost a character in its own right. Consider this sentence as an example: “The fighter was young, still in his early twenties perhaps, and his muscles crowded along his bones, the battle for space heaping them up in great, veined mounds.”I think that is a marvelous description, one I can clearly envision while also appreciating the way Lawrence built the sentence. Because that’s how I feel about Lawrence’s prose; it’s not written, but crafted. The quote below is one of the most important realizations of the book, in my opinion, and it’s such a beautiful sentiment that I had to share it here. I’ve removed all possible spoilers and tried to only include the most philosophical elements.“At Sweet Mercy they made a weapon of me. They honed every skill into a sharp edge. They put a sword in my hand, because there will always be foes who much be opposed, always violence that much be met with violence. But that is not the heart of Sweet Mercy. It was always the faith. Always the notion that all men and women are our brothers and sisters. And that faith doesn’t end with borders. It doesn’t care about heresies use to divide us, or whether you speak your prayers to a white star, or to the fields and forests and stones…Not as a weapon but as a tool. As a healer might used the knife, sometimes to cut, but ultimately to heal.”I can’t recommend this trilogy highly enough. Whether you’re a fantasy fan or not, this is a series well worth your time. It has so much to offer to so many, and I dearly hope that it acquires the audience and notoriety it deserves. I feel that Nona’s story offers many profound lessons that could bring our world healing and understanding of one another if we would all take its words to heart. There is tragedy in Holy Sister, and the mourning it brings, but there is also vitality and passion and selflessness. It’s a beautiful book that I can’t wait for the world to read.“Moons might rise and fall, empires wax and wane, even the stars come and go, but there are constants, too, and thought the story of our kind is ever-changing it is also always the same.”All above quotations were taken from an uncorrected proof, and are subject to change upon publication.
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  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    Growing up can be tough. One day you’re sneaking home past curfew from a sexy rendezvous with your partner, and the next day you’re being hunted across a frozen wasteland carrying a relic that’s trying to poison your mind. We can all relate. But just in case you can’t, then the concluding entry in Nona Grey’s story will bring you up to date. In Holy Sister, the third and final entry in his Book of the Ancestor series, Mark Lawrence has crafted a powerful and heartbreaking ending to Nona’s story. Growing up can be tough. One day you’re sneaking home past curfew from a sexy rendezvous with your partner, and the next day you’re being hunted across a frozen wasteland carrying a relic that’s trying to poison your mind. We can all relate. But just in case you can’t, then the concluding entry in Nona Grey’s story will bring you up to date. In Holy Sister, the third and final entry in his Book of the Ancestor series, Mark Lawrence has crafted a powerful and heartbreaking ending to Nona’s story. Like Lawrence’s earlier trilogies The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War, there exists a fine balance of tragedy and hope in a world on the eve of an apocalypse. The author excels at weaving compelling tales of humanity as it is pushed to the brink of extinction, and The Book of the Ancestor series is his strongest work to date.(Warning: I will be discussing events related to Red Sister and Grey Sister below. If you haven’t read them yet, turn back now.)One of the more interesting aspects of the story is its narrative structure. We spend much of the early part of the book jumping back and forth between two time periods. When we last left Nona and Zole and the rest of the survivors from Sherzal’s palace, they were being hunted for their stolen shipheart. We spend some chapters following up on those events and discover the true fallout of the Convent of Sweet Mercy’s actions. The second timeline jumps a few years forward, and we pick up with Nona and her small group of allies enacting a mysterious plan amidst an unstoppable Scithrowl invasion. I appreciated this novel approach to the story structure as opposed to breaking it into two halves with a time jump in the middle. Discovering the cryptic details of the plan while switching off to an action-fueled escape sequence pushed the story forward at a tremendous pace. The time jump also brings Nona into adulthood. Her age is still unknown, even to her, but she is likely pushing 19 or 20. Her burden of responsibility has expanded beyond just her circle of friends. She is feeling the weight of the world quite literally closing in on her. This serves as an accurate metaphor for achieving the early stages of adulthood: the world grows larger and smaller all at once. Although she has shown great leaps in maturity since her early days in the convent, Nona still struggles to make the right choices. She is the most powerful when she is fueled by anger, but those instances don’t always lead to the best decisions. The balance that Nona finds between the two is a testament to Lawrence’s ability to provide a strong characterization that feels real and relatable. We’ve all made rash, emotion-based decisions when we were young. With Nona, it just happens to be life-or-death situations more often than not. I’ll say little of the conclusion other than it being an incredibly emotional sendoff of characters that I’ve grown quite fond of. There are more than a few big surprises and an equal number of heartbreaks as both major and minor character arcs draw to a close. Overall, this is a brilliant series from one of the top names in speculative fiction, and will be on most “best of” lists by year’s end. Don’t miss it.
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  • Petros Triantafyllou
    January 1, 1970
    Six times.This book made me cry six times.One of them was two whole days after I finished the damn thing. It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Nona Grey, Lano Tacsis brought two armies and eight Noi-Guin, the deadliest assassins on the face of the earth. And of those eight Noi-Guin, one of them, the Singular himself, was rumored to be more deadly than the other seven together. Nona has two options. Fight, or run. But where can one run, whe Six times.This book made me cry six times.One of them was two whole days after I finished the damn thing. It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Nona Grey, Lano Tacsis brought two armies and eight Noi-Guin, the deadliest assassins on the face of the earth. And of those eight Noi-Guin, one of them, the Singular himself, was rumored to be more deadly than the other seven together. Nona has two options. Fight, or run. But where can one run, when the whole world is on fire? The never-ending march of ice has forced Queen Adoma to bring her undefeated army on the doorstep of the Empire, and not even the Moon itself could be a sufficient defense against her.Or could it? "The Book of the Ancestor says that for everything there is a season. This was a time to reap. A time for death. A time to die." I thought a lot about what I should say in this review. After all, you can only talk so many times about an author's prose, his talent in world-building and characterization, or how great a story-teller he is in general, and I've done that ten times in the past. This is my eleventh review for a Mark Lawrence novel, and I've run out of praise. I doubt anyone who hasn't read the first two books would read this review anyway, and those who have won't need me to tell them how great this series is, so I'll keep this one short and only talk about the story itself, without spoilers.You can summarize Holy Sister, or The Book of the Ancestor in general, in one Game of Thrones quote. "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention". Those who have read The Broken Empire know to expect a bittersweet ending in every Mark Lawrence story, and those who haven't, well.... let's just say you aren't as tough as you think you are. You WILL curse. You WILL mourn. You WILL cry. But the most important thing is that you won't see any violence for the sake of violence. Mark Lawrence never kills, maims, or brings the story of a character to an end simply to make a statement or bring stronger emotions out of the reader. It's just that every story should end at the right time and place, and he knows them better than anyone.Bittersweet ending aside, the whole book was a hell of a ride. The fast pace and the rising tempo that I've come to love in Mark's books kept me immersed in the story start to finish despite the back-and-forth chapters, through which Mark tells us two different stories at the same time - one in the past and one in the present, in the same way he did in The Broken Empire. And now that I mentioned The Broken Empire... Be aware of Easter eggs. I spotted two of them, but chances are there were more, hiding in plain sight for me to find on my second reading. Finally, although Holy Sister brings the story of several characters to an end, it leaves others open for Mark to come back in the future, so expect to see more of Abeth... and, well, maybe, just maybe, more of Nona Grey.
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  • Kaitlin
    January 1, 1970
    * I was sent this for free from the author in exchange for an honest review * I am so very glad that this final book was so brilliant, I have enjoyed all of the books in this series, but I would have to say that this is my favourite one and it's a superb ending to the series. I found it so easy to get back into the story and pick up where I left off, and I actually ended up binge-reading the entire book in one sitting! If that's not a sign of how engrossing it was I can't say what is!The story p * I was sent this for free from the author in exchange for an honest review * I am so very glad that this final book was so brilliant, I have enjoyed all of the books in this series, but I would have to say that this is my favourite one and it's a superb ending to the series. I found it so easy to get back into the story and pick up where I left off, and I actually ended up binge-reading the entire book in one sitting! If that's not a sign of how engrossing it was I can't say what is!The story picks up just after the ending of book #2 but we also see two timelines throughout the book. We have 'three years previous' and 'present day' and the 'three years previous' story is the continuation from the end of book #2. I really liked the mixture of these two timelines becuase it would reveal something to you but then you would have to see how this thing came to be and it was a constant mystery until it was revealed. I also found that there was a lot that happened that I didn't anticipate, and that's always really fun. Nona is our main character, but of course we focus on the events of the whole world and the growing concerns about war as the ice presses in. This book probably focuses in on more of the powers/training and shows the 'real-world' uses for it. We get to see Nona and her friends put to the test multiple times and they show off what it means to be a Holy Sister, Grey Sister (assassins) and Red Sister (warriors). Each of these paths is dependant upon the magic of the Path in it's own way, and the book of the ancestor, and we get to see how Nona and her friends have learned from the past and honed their skills.Another element I found fantastic was the relationships and bonds we see in this story. Nona has already formed many bonds and she is fiercely loyal, but seeing her keep her word and seeing the love and compassion she has for those who matter was wonderful. This story had a lot of heart, and it was a solidly good book becuase of that very human side. In the end, this was just fun, it's a solid story with some great moments and characters and I loved reading it. There was so much about the plot and world I wanted to know more about, but it worked really well as a series-ender, not leaving too much unanswered but leaving potential at the end. I definitely rate it and I would give it a solid 4.5*s overall :) Highly recommend the whole series :)
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  • Crazy4Books
    January 1, 1970
    Then why do I have to wait a year between each book!! (cries silently in the corner)
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I have spent the last year and a half waiting to read 2 series. This one and The Nevernight Chronicles. Honestly I'd love to see Nona and Mia team up! Back in 2017 I read Red Sister. What a freaking revelation. Not only a gal who kicks butt, "actually, the whole nunnery" but also a "for me" different take on the Epic fantasy trope. This trilogy not only opened my eyes to slightly different fantasy, but also led me to Grimdark. I'll admit that I now have a great fondness for Mr. Lawrence, and hav I have spent the last year and a half waiting to read 2 series. This one and The Nevernight Chronicles. Honestly I'd love to see Nona and Mia team up! Back in 2017 I read Red Sister. What a freaking revelation. Not only a gal who kicks butt, "actually, the whole nunnery" but also a "for me" different take on the Epic fantasy trope. This trilogy not only opened my eyes to slightly different fantasy, but also led me to Grimdark. I'll admit that I now have a great fondness for Mr. Lawrence, and have begun reading other books by him. B.T.W, Jorg is also a great and contrary character! I'm not someone who really review's books. I don't have the patience for it. What I do is just tell you how it made me feel. Imma telling y'all that my feels were all over the place! Mr. Lawrence has written something that few men can. Strong women. I'm not sure that some authors realize how important that is. I was born in 1963. I wish that we had stories like this back then. Nancy Drew? Um, nope. Strong female characters, who take no b.s. is a revelation. Quite honestly, I love it. Will I like Nuns after reading this book? Unless I see them throwing stars and wielding a blade, then that's a big no! Nuns scare the crap outta me. Not in the "I'm gonna kill.ya'" kind of way, but more like the "I'm definitely going to smack your hands with my ruler" kind of way! O.K. I may be slightly avoiding this review. I couldn't wait to read the trilogy, but once it was done I didn't want to say goodbye. This trilogy will be one of those that are on par with certain Stephen King, Robert Jordan and John Connolly books. Which means that I will be back! Two years from now I'll be missing these wonderful people, and I will have to read it again. For me, that really is the ultimate in storytelling. Do I miss these characters? Must I read the story again just to revisit and connect again with these people who fill my heart? Yes. Thanks, Mr. Lawrence! You and Nona made it into my favorite people list. I would.like to thank especially, Emma Pickard at Harper Collins, U.K. For some reason Harper Collins/U.S never approves me, but they do in the U.K? I'll take it! I adored this trilogy. My main regret is that it did end. Do I want to know how things end on this whacked out universe? Yes! I believe that Sister Cage can also play the long game, just as Abbess Glass did. That is something I'd like to read about! I did forget, and had to add this after I had finished my review, my main regret about this and ALL of Mark Lawrence's books is that there are no maps. As a lover of fantasy, I personally need maps. I have a huge bedroom, and all available surfaces, including the ceiling are covered with maps. The fact that there are NO maps is inconceivable to me. Please, Mr. Lawrence, invest in maps. I absolutely believe that maps in fantasy is what distinguishes the great from the average. Mark Lawrence is not average, and his books deserve awesome maps!
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  • Megan ❀
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Berkley Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.This defied every single expectation I had. I'm honestly in awe of how incredible this was. But before you pick up Holy Sister, I HIGHLY recommend you pick up Bound, a short story that takes place between the events of Grey Sister and Holy Sister. Not only is it a hell of a fun time, but it has some details that make the events of Holy Sister feel more well-rounded.After absolutely LOVING Red Sis ARC provided by Berkley Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.This defied every single expectation I had. I'm honestly in awe of how incredible this was. But before you pick up Holy Sister, I HIGHLY recommend you pick up Bound, a short story that takes place between the events of Grey Sister and Holy Sister. Not only is it a hell of a fun time, but it has some details that make the events of Holy Sister feel more well-rounded.After absolutely LOVING Red Sister and liking Grey Sister, Holy Sister is the best of both worlds. A large chunk of the book follows two timelines: one immediately following the events of Grey Sister and another that takes place three years later, in the present moment. I really enjoyed this method of story-telling in Mark Lawrence's The Broken Empire trilogy, and it's just as effective in this novel. The two timelines complement each other really well, each slowly revealing information that complicates your understanding of the events of the other timeline. But if juggling two timelines isn't your cup of tea, rest assured that everything settles into the present moment about halfway through the novel. From there, you just gotta buckle your seat belt and nestle in for the ride because WOW is it a journey.Holy Sister went in a direction I really didn't expect, and for that I love it all the more. Mark Lawrence sets up a lot of threads in the previous two novels, but never so obviously that he reveals his hand. I honestly had no idea what Holy Sister would look like, and its lack of predictability for me, someone who's usually pretty good at guessing what'll happen next, just made the whole story entirely more entertaining.The world-building really shines in this novel. If in previous novels the world has been a backdrop to Nona's adventures, in Holy Sister the history of Abeth and the magic that governs it actively shape her story. I really don't want to say too much and spoil the direction the story takes, but if you've been dying for more detail about the mysteries of this world, Holy Sister has some answers. I'm always really impressed and amazed by the intricacies of Lawrence's world-building, and this novel was no exception.Okay, can we just talk about the fact that Nona is a bisexual icon?? From book one, I felt the bi vibes resonate in my bones, and so reading "Bound" just about made my life (which is why you should go read it!!!). Even though the romantic elements in this novel are significantly toned down from "Bound," seeing Nona exist on the page as an explicitly and canonically bisexual character meant so much to me. As a bi woman, Nona Grey makes me feel seen.Also, shout out to that reference to the Broken Empire trilogy. I don't know if it's just a reference, or a subtle connection, or something even deeper than that, but I'm definitely bumping my reread of the Broken Empire trilogy up because I'm dying to know what it means.I think what best sums up my feelings for this book is this: Holy Sister had me on the verge of tears multiple times throughout reading, and I cried after I finished it. My love for these characters reached maximum height during this novel and seeing their fates, happy and not, was like taking a punch directly to the heart. I don't think my words are adequate enough to express how much I loved this conclusion to such a stunning trilogy.
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  • Will.J.R. Gwynne
    January 1, 1970
    "It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size."This book was an incredible ending to a trilogy that I have truly loved. It finished in a brilliant culmination of events that was extremely satisfying and unexpected with the largest and most epic conflicts of the series so far taking place and the consequences of defeat exceeding those of before with their severity.Each and every great aspect of the previous two books in the series was present within thi "It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size."This book was an incredible ending to a trilogy that I have truly loved. It finished in a brilliant culmination of events that was extremely satisfying and unexpected with the largest and most epic conflicts of the series so far taking place and the consequences of defeat exceeding those of before with their severity.Each and every great aspect of the previous two books in the series was present within this, with the wonderful characters, intricate plot and fast pace continuing to the very last page.Holy Sister was split into two timelines, which was very well done as each one revealed the answers to questions presented in the other and efficiently informed me of the events which had passed in the period of time from the ending of Grey Sister to the present time of Holy Sister.I have never read a Mark Lawrence series before so I did not know what to expect of this book, but now I know. Brutal, heart wrenching and epic. That is one way to describe this finale. Characters I have grown to love succumbed to death in manners which were extremely emotional as Mark Lawrence once again showed that he is not worried about killing his characters.I was constantly tense whilst reading this as I fretted about the lives of my favourite characters and hoped for the deaths of those who had enacted so many wrongs upon the protagonists. I was not left disappointed with the latter.Holy Sister met my hopes and exceeded them as it delivered a great conclusion to one of my favourite trilogies that I have ever read. I will remember Nona Grey as one of my favourite fantasy characters for her combination of loyalty and genius.Thank you Mark Lawrence for a thoroughly enjoyable journey taken through the entirety of the series, I will definitely miss the characters and world you have created and know I will be thinking about them a lot during the next few weeks as I suffer from a book hangover.
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    Sincerest of thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!Mark Lawrence, you've done it. You've created a high-ish, dark-ish trilogy that not only was executed perfectly, but also helped restore my faith in the fantasy genre. I don't read a lot of fantasy, mostly because it's long-winded, overly descriptive, and just plain boring (at least in the past I've felt it so, mostly because my mood for fantasy had long-since died). But, over the pas Sincerest of thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!Mark Lawrence, you've done it. You've created a high-ish, dark-ish trilogy that not only was executed perfectly, but also helped restore my faith in the fantasy genre. I don't read a lot of fantasy, mostly because it's long-winded, overly descriptive, and just plain boring (at least in the past I've felt it so, mostly because my mood for fantasy had long-since died). But, over the past few years, the fantasy genre has started to rejoin my reading repertoire, mostly because of two big reason: Brandon Sanderson and Mark Lawrence. Sanderson's first Mistborn trilogy and the Stormlight Archives went a long way towards rekindling my love for the genre, but one author can't single-handedly carry the burden of the genre alone. So when Grey Sister (the second of the trilogy by Mark Lawrence) showed up in my Berkley newsletter, I took a look at Red Sister to see if it would be of interest. It had rave reviews among friends, so I accepted the Grey Sister ARC and got my copy of Red Sister so I could read it first. And boy, was I not disappointed!This trilogy is a roller coaster ride! We meet Nona when she's but a wee pup, and we watch her grow throughout the trilogy into a strong, confident, amazing woman, capable of changing the world. I don't want to say too much, because of spoilers, but the growth in this character alone is enough to impress, but the cast of secondary characters is fantastic as well.I HIGHLY recommend this trilogy. Can't wait to give Lawrence's other trilogies a try soon, but I'm sad to be finished with Nona and her friends. They were a pleasure to discover.
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  • Lukasz
    January 1, 1970
    The Book of Ancestor says that for everything there is a season. This was a time to reap. A time for death.  Men don’t cry. We clench teeth, block emotions and rationalize. And yet Holy Sister hit me hard. Really hard. It draws most arcs to a world-shattering conclusion only a few will survive.Feel warned and be prepared. Just don’t set Mark Lawrence’s house on fire as I’d love to read more books from him.I could, probably, and only when pressed, highlight flaws of the book, but I have no desir The Book of Ancestor says that for everything there is a season. This was a time to reap. A time for death.  Men don’t cry. We clench teeth, block emotions and rationalize. And yet Holy Sister hit me hard. Really hard. It draws most arcs to a world-shattering conclusion only a few will survive.Feel warned and be prepared. Just don’t set Mark Lawrence’s house on fire as I’d love to read more books from him.I could, probably, and only when pressed, highlight flaws of the book, but I have no desire to do so. If you’re emotionally involved in this story and care for characters, you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll laugh, feel terrified moments later and devastated near the end. If, on the other hand, you’re a cerebral reader who tends to overanalyze things, you may find final battle messy, and the use of artefacts questionable. Some of Abeth’s mysteries are solved, while others continue to torment my mind. We learn more about the Path, a mysterious and invisible line of energy that twists and turns through the universe. Nona’s Quantal traits allow her to tap directly into its power. Charged with its energies, her destructive powers become almost nuclear and the mayhem we witness in the last 30% of the book blew my mind.Lawrence’s writing style remains distinct, addictive and perfectly quotable. Book of the Ancestor series is one of the best things I read in recent years. The ending, while more bitter than sweet, was fitting. A must read.
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  • fatima♐
    January 1, 1970
    i'll going to cry myself to sleep and wake up only when if it stops hurtingalso, i need a second epilogue,,,,,,a more detailed and a lot longer second epiloguealso, if i ever get a cat, i'll name her after my fierce feral child nona greyrtc(ps- i hate you, mark lawrence....i'm going to get more of your books but i hate you)--------------------------------------------------------------------------i just now realized that there's a blurb!💖okay, i'm seriously not liking the tiny lil "lovers lost" p i'll going to cry myself to sleep and wake up only when if it stops hurtingalso, i need a second epilogue,,,,,,a more detailed and a lot longer second epiloguealso, if i ever get a cat, i'll name her after my fierce feral child nona greyrtc(ps- i hate you, mark lawrence....i'm going to get more of your books but i hate you)--------------------------------------------------------------------------i just now realized that there's a blurb!💖okay, i'm seriously not liking the tiny lil "lovers lost" part at the end, sounds hella ominous pls don't hurt apple and/or kettle, haven't my babies suffered enough already?! ;_; -------------------------------------so, if The trilogy was finished 8 months before Red Sister’s publication. (your words, Mr. Lawrence, not mine) then why do i have to wait for one more year to read this book??!!
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  • sofia (sam willows)
    January 1, 1970
    this is without a doubt one of the best books i’ve ever read. wow.
  • Marielle
    January 1, 1970
    I'd like to thank Mark Lawrence for sending me an early copy of Holy Sister in exchange for an honest review."I am Nona Grey and if you come against me I will make a ruin of your life"Well that about sums up the book... I truly loved this final installment of Book of the Ancestor, it made me smile and it made me cry. Again Mark Lawrence took me on a journey to Abeth and made me experience Nona's story. It's fast paced, unpredictable, action packed and so beautifully written!Holy Sister gave me a I'd like to thank Mark Lawrence for sending me an early copy of Holy Sister in exchange for an honest review."I am Nona Grey and if you come against me I will make a ruin of your life"Well that about sums up the book... I truly loved this final installment of Book of the Ancestor, it made me smile and it made me cry. Again Mark Lawrence took me on a journey to Abeth and made me experience Nona's story. It's fast paced, unpredictable, action packed and so beautifully written!Holy Sister gave me answers to all the questions I had ever since I read the first lines of Red Sister: "It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men."My love for Nona has grown in the way she has throughout the books. She is one of the most amazing and complete characters I've read and she certainly belongs among my favorites. She has flaws and knows about them (we share a few) but she has so much brilliant qualities as well; she has so much love for her friends and she is so loyal to them that nothing can stop her when they are in danger or being hurt.To me the other heroine of this series is definitly Abbess Glass. Another amazing character but I can't tell you why without spoiler so you'll just have to trust me on this... Before I stop my raving I have to mention the recap in the beginning of the book, I always appreciate a recap to let me connect with the story again. I wish they would be included in books more often!"The Book of the Ancestor says that for everything there is a season. This was a time to reap. A time for death. A time to die." Everyone who loves fantasy books, or just books really, should start this series and be prepared to be swept away...
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  • Holly (The Grimdragon)
    January 1, 1970
    "The sound of a battle can be described as a roar, and sometimes it truly is. When a thousand warriors charge, a roar precedes them and swallows up all other noise. But in between charge and counter-charge there is the screaming of those too wounded to hold their peace and not yet close enough to crossing the Path that they fall silent. There is the clash of weapons, most often on shields, for tight-packed conflict is an ugly, graceless thing and there are few parries made. There are the despera "The sound of a battle can be described as a roar, and sometimes it truly is. When a thousand warriors charge, a roar precedes them and swallows up all other noise. But in between charge and counter-charge there is the screaming of those too wounded to hold their peace and not yet close enough to crossing the Path that they fall silent. There is the clash of weapons, most often on shields, for tight-packed conflict is an ugly, graceless thing and there are few parries made. There are the desperate cries for aid and there is the sobbing of the lost."Well, goddamn ::cries into the sleeves of my sweater:: This is going to be a hard review to write because.. because of many reasons. The fact that it is the third and final book, for one. But mainly because I am just so fucking happy that this series exists! I truly love it so damn much! Often expressing the scope of your love is harder and I feel that may be the case with this review. I'll probably (hopefully) say a lot without saying too much of anything!To fully grasp the level of feels Holy Sister gave me when I closed the final page after finishing the book.. picture this: Me, curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth, sobbing about Nona and what an exceptional character she is. There you have it! That's the TL;DR version of this post.I adore how Mark Lawrence always provides a Story So Far for his books. It seriously delights me every time having that refresher! Especially since the wait for this final book has seemingly felt like a decade. Oof.The timeline of Holy Sister covers two different periods - present day and three years prior, which immediately follows the events in Grey Sister. The threads that Mark Lawrence weaves between these narratives is masterful. Everything just.. fits. The way the story unfolds is so clever and never felt convoluted. The Book of the Ancestor series is, at its most basic, a coming-of-age grimdark tale. But, oh. It is infinitely more than that. Poignant, immersive, gritty. The worldbuilding is expertly done, yet we barely glimpse how vast it actually is. There is a wealth of stories that could be told within this world, if Lawrence so chooses. I know I'm not the only one that would be insanely overjoyed to have more. I feel as though I'm not ready to leave, just yet. I've said it before and I'll continue to say it.. Nona is one of my favorite characters in ANYTHING. Books, movies, television. Which is saying a lot, because Nona Grey is a hero. She is a flawed, complex, BADASS WARRIOR.. but at her very core, she is a hero with a genuine heart that is surrounded by violence and death. I tend to gravitate towards the anti-heroes, the morally grey individuals. There are many layers to an anti-hero. They are just so damn fun to read (and write!) But the real world, the world we live in at this very moment? It's bleak as fuck as it is. And I'm finding it's okay to look for the heroes amid the darkness. Nona just completely encompasses this. She is a loyal friend, compassionate, intelligent. She is a hero that isn't cut from the traditional cloth. That is the underlying factor in what makes her such an enthusiastically wonderful character for me, personally. There is no one else quite like Nona Grey!With the conclusion of Holy Sister wrapping up the Book of the Ancestor series, it is now cemented in my top favorites of ever. EVERRR. Few series can compare to this for me. Mark Lawrence always slays, page after glorious page. He could write a grocery list and I would be like YES! OMFG THIS IS GENIUS! THE WAY HE OUTLINES THE FOOD REQUIRED IS UTTER PERFECTION! WE ARE TRULY IN THE MIDST OF A MASTERMIND! But for real. This is my 11th Mark Lawrence review and I'm running out of superlatives to describe just how brilliant of a writer he is! It's like watching this incredibly beautiful symphony, the way he orchestrates a story.Holy Sister was such a powerful ending to an inspiring series, which is, without a doubt, Lawrence's magnum opus."Some lessons must be written in scars.."Read it. Find yourself immersed within vivid worldbuilding. Have your emotions ravaged by the most gorgeous prose. Love these characters with your whole being.I cannot recommend a series higher!-Holly (Sister)(Massive thanks to Ace Books for sending me a copy to gush and flail over!)**The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**
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  • J.A. Ironside
    January 1, 1970
    I was invited to read and review this title by the publisher. Many thanks to Emma Pickard and Harper-Voyager for the ARC - you made my day, week, year...possibly lifetime! It's no secret that Holy Sister is one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. Mark Lawrence's books have been an automatic buy since I read Prince of Thorns. I'm pleased to report that Holy Sister does not disappoint, either as a book in its own right, or as the conclusion to an epic trilogy. This is the sort of female led f I was invited to read and review this title by the publisher. Many thanks to Emma Pickard and Harper-Voyager for the ARC - you made my day, week, year...possibly lifetime! It's no secret that Holy Sister is one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. Mark Lawrence's books have been an automatic buy since I read Prince of Thorns. I'm pleased to report that Holy Sister does not disappoint, either as a book in its own right, or as the conclusion to an epic trilogy. This is the sort of female led fantasy that I want to see more of. Once again, almost all the characters are female, which, if you spent your childhood, teens and twenties scraping around SFF for a female lead who wasn't an accessory/ girl in fridge/ sexy lamp or otherwise deprived of agency and actual character, is a breath of fresh air. It's never depicted as a political decision either - these are simply the best characters for telling the story. They are all well rounded, flawed and fully formed individuals who have their own agendas. Nona and her friends are very engaging, and Nona herself has grown as a person since Red Sister in a way that is believable and relatable. One of the things I like most about her competence and wisdom have grown proportionately to her hard work and struggling. Nona should be an anti hero but she's not because in the end she is motivated by loyalty and compassion. She acknowledges and conquers the less savoury aspects of her nature, accepting and harnessing them. In many ways this trilogy is the ultimate story of found family, and by the end the reader sees as Nona does, that every life is connected to hers and they all have value.The world building was superb. I would have expected nothing less tbh but I'll admit I was nervous about how likely it was to be wrapped up satisfactorily, when there was such a potentially huge issue to overcome. No details but it is a satisfactory ending with all important major and minor threads gathered up and tied off. Talking of threads, this has such a great magic system. Plausibly pseudo sciencey in some respects but still visually and logically able to stand up against magic systems in the best high fantasy.I mention this in every review of this series but as I've said before, Lawrence does an excellent job of portraying a 'convent girl' dynamic. (Speaking from experience). I'll expand on that with the statement that he does an excellent job of portraying female friendships with all the nuance, subtlety, pushes and pulls of a community of women living together in close quarters. (So other male writers may wish to take note - it absolutely can be done by you guys too. I can't imagine settling for less from you in future :) ) There's so much I could say about this book - I inhaled it in two days - but I would be venturing close to spoiler territory and it's better if you just read it. The action is excellent. The themes are strong, thought provoking and emotionally intelligent. And the way the sub plots fit the main plot, not just of this episode but the entire series, was perfect. I'm a little obsessed with structure so that made me very happy.I loved this book. It's the best in the series so far. I'm feeling bereft that it's over and I can't wait to reread them all. Dark fantasy at its finest and most cunning. Highly recommend.
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    All leaves must fall in time […] The lives we lived fall away from us, but something remains, something that is part of the tree.I’m not a fan of Mark Lawrence, however, this trilogy is one of the best. Is not an epic fantasy but a mix between a grim-dark coming-of-age story with tinges of sci-fi. I usually do not like the blend between the two genres, but somehow, Lawrence does a great job mingling them.Holy Sister is the final installment in this series and an excellent one. There are two time All leaves must fall in time […] The lives we lived fall away from us, but something remains, something that is part of the tree.I’m not a fan of Mark Lawrence, however, this trilogy is one of the best. Is not an epic fantasy but a mix between a grim-dark coming-of-age story with tinges of sci-fi. I usually do not like the blend between the two genres, but somehow, Lawrence does a great job mingling them.Holy Sister is the final installment in this series and an excellent one. There are two timelines in it: first picks up events from where Grey Sister stopped and the other three years later, when Nona must make her choice from the four orders of nuns.The war between Queen Adoma and the Emperor Crucical is at the door, the Corridor is narrower by the day and salvation resides in bringing the four shiphearts together to find and open the Ark and take control of the Moon. There are lots of twists, fierce and gruesome battles and quite a few surprises on the way, some of them mouth-gaping. Our heroines are as complex as in the other books, even more here, where all aces must be pulled out of the sleeves in order to survive.All in all, it was a hell of a ride and I think Nona made her way in the top 10 fantasy heroines of all times. People lie, Nona: they steal, they cheat, they’re unfaithful. People hurt you, they let you down. They sell you out.’ ‘It doesn’t mean I have to be like that.’No, she’s not. And you can’t but love her.>>> My thanks to HarperCollins UK/ HarperVoyager for offering me this ebook via NetGalley <<<---Review of Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1) 4*Review of Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2) 5*
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say? A masterful conclusion to a superb trilogy? It's definitely that, but I don't think it fully conveys how brilliant this series is and how amazing Nona Gray is now, three years older than we saw her in Grey Sister.The Empire is retreating against the forces of the Durns and the Scithrowl from either direction of the narrowing Corridor as the orbital mirror that the people of Abeth call their Moon slowly fails. Enemies of the Emperor have become reluctant allies, but the scheming c What can I say? A masterful conclusion to a superb trilogy? It's definitely that, but I don't think it fully conveys how brilliant this series is and how amazing Nona Gray is now, three years older than we saw her in Grey Sister.The Empire is retreating against the forces of the Durns and the Scithrowl from either direction of the narrowing Corridor as the orbital mirror that the people of Abeth call their Moon slowly fails. Enemies of the Emperor have become reluctant allies, but the scheming continues as people like Sherzal and the Tacsis family use the turmoil to gain power. Sweet Mercy Convent has undergone changes since the previous book and Nona and Ara are finally on the brink of becoming Sisters Cage and Thorn and playing out the framing events of the first book."It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size."Well, the Scithrowl are numberless and they're on the steps of Emperor with a whole lot of nuns in the way.These books have been heavy on the foreshadowing, and there is so much payoff here for setups from the previous books, but there are tragedies as well. It's all deeply satisfying and I strongly recommend this series.
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  • Mitriel
    January 1, 1970
    “A warning to the people,The good and the evil,This is war.To the soldier, the civilian,The martyr, the victim,This is war.It's the moment of truth, and the moment to lie,The moment to live and the moment to die,The moment to fight, the moment to fightTo fight, to fight, to fight!To the right, To the leftWe will fight to the death!To the edge of the earthIt's a brave new worldFrom the last to the firstTo the right, To the leftWe will fight to the death!To the edge of the earthIt's a brave new wo “A warning to the people,The good and the evil,This is war.To the soldier, the civilian,The martyr, the victim,This is war.It's the moment of truth, and the moment to lie,The moment to live and the moment to die,The moment to fight, the moment to fightTo fight, to fight, to fight!To the right, To the leftWe will fight to the death!To the edge of the earthIt's a brave new worldFrom the last to the firstTo the right, To the leftWe will fight to the death!To the edge of the earthIt's a brave new worldIt's a brave new world!A warning to the prophet,The liar, the honest,This is war.To the leader, the pariah,The victor, the messiah,This is war.It's the moment of truth, and the moment to lie,The moment to live and the moment to die,The moment to fight, the moment to fight,To fight, to fight, to fight!”30 Seconds to MarsUpdate: There isn't strictly speaking much about the book itself in here, but I wrote a few thoughts recently about beta-reading it. If you're curious about beta-reading you might find it interesting: https://mitriel.com/2018/04/17/a-few-...
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  • Holden Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    My only complaint is that there isnt more.More pages. More books in the series. More mysteries revealed.Another work of art by a Man whos books have changed me. This will stay with me for the rest of my days.
  • Wol
    January 1, 1970
    Full review below. Thirsty for Sister Apple? I have you covered over at The Fantasy Inn.And so it’s time for me to say goodbye to Nona and Sweet Mercy. I held off reading Holy Sister for over a month after I received it, in the way we do when we want to both have our cake and eat it too. But was the having better than the eating?I haven’t quite decided.And by that, I don’t mean that Holy Sister was a disappointment (far from it), more that as much as I had anticipated the conclusion, I wasn’t qu Full review below. Thirsty for Sister Apple? I have you covered over at The Fantasy Inn.And so it’s time for me to say goodbye to Nona and Sweet Mercy. I held off reading Holy Sister for over a month after I received it, in the way we do when we want to both have our cake and eat it too. But was the having better than the eating?I haven’t quite decided.And by that, I don’t mean that Holy Sister was a disappointment (far from it), more that as much as I had anticipated the conclusion, I wasn’t quite ready for it to be over. And Lawrence novels, I have discovered, tend to be over quickly. They have a page-turning quality that means you blink and 50 pages have passed, like picking up a pack of cookies and munching your way through half of it without even noticing.This time we follow Nona through two timelines: one picks up where we left off at the end of Grey Sister, the nuns fleeing with a shipheart in tow. The other takes place three years later (each chapter is clearly marked with which timeline we’re in) in Nona’s present day. We spend some time jumping between these timelines, at first unsure of how everything connects, but one thing that they have in common is that the situation is desperate. The Scithrowl are pressing forward in overwhelming numbers, having apparently sent an army of sufficient size. The corridor continues to narrow. Nona and Zole must protect the shipheart at all costs, but what will the costs be? Inner demons boil to the surface and characters behave in questionable ways – but are their strings being pulled, and if so, who’s doing the pulling?Lawrence has woven mystery after mystery into this epic conclusion, and he does an admirable job of keeping us guessing. Reveals in one timeline tie into questions we have about the other, and back and forth we go until everything is laid bare. It’s a clever method of storytelling which allows for character development to be done quickly and efficiently while also keeping a tight focus on the plot. Lawrence is a master of conveying a sense of urgency, and the breakneck pacing combined with what appear to be insurmountable odds for our heroines mean that we’re given little breathing room. Nona has reached adulthood at last, but for all her hot-headed posturing and bravado she remains, at heart, an anxious girl who loves easily and fears abandonment. Whether this will prove to be an asset or her greatest weakness (or perhaps both?) is something we’ll discover within these pages. The lessons that Nona has learned from each of her teachers will come into play, and not just in the form of fighting skills: Sister Apple’s lessons in caution, Wheel’s unshakable faith, Abbess Glass and her aptitude for the long game… it’s a remarkable conclusion to a well constructed tale, in which all the seeds planted over the previous two books come to glorious fruition.The last third of the book is everything you would expect and yet at the same time, not at all what I anticipated. Without getting into too much detail, it was precisely as violent and bloody as it needed to be, and compounded with love, loss, and hope.Perhaps most fittingly, it is the kind of ending that kindles a sweet but painful ache in one’s chest, not unlike the memory of a loved one no longer with us.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/04/18/...And so another fantastic trilogy by Mark Lawrence has come to an end. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, though—there is something genuinely remarkable about The Book of the Ancestor, and not just because it felt like such a departure from the author’s previous trilogies. While this one might not be my favorite of his, nor do I think it’s as contentious or impactful as The Broken Empire or The Red Queen’s War, I do 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/04/18/...And so another fantastic trilogy by Mark Lawrence has come to an end. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, though—there is something genuinely remarkable about The Book of the Ancestor, and not just because it felt like such a departure from the author’s previous trilogies. While this one might not be my favorite of his, nor do I think it’s as contentious or impactful as The Broken Empire or The Red Queen’s War, I do think it’s the most accessible of Lawrence’s work. More importantly, it also shows that he has a wide range of talents and he’s forging ahead in his career with no fear of stagnation, which is great news for readers.Holy Sister continues the saga of Nona Grey, picking up from the end of Grey Sister which saw our protagonist and her fellow sisters and nuns from the Convent of Sweet Mercy barely escaping with their lives. It is told via two timelines, one in the present and one in the near past. The earlier one takes place three years earlier, following the harrowing flight from Sherzal’s palace. As you would recall, things ended quite intensely with Nona and Zole parting ways with the rest of the group to give them a fighting chance, while the two of them decided to set off onto the vast icefields of Abeth with their precious cargo.The timeline in the present, on the other hand, follows Nona as she attempts to master her studies and prepare for the final confrontation with Sherzal as the invading armies march ever closer to their home. And here’s where things get a little wild. Along with the keen sense of sand running out in the hourglass, Nona and her friends have nearly completed their training and are expected to choose a specialization to pursue. But for our protagonist, who has manifested multiple talents and is skilled in many of the convent’s teachings, how will she choose which path to walk? And will she have time to decide, before war comes to destroy them all?First, let’s get some of the awkwardness out of the way. I have never been a fan of dual timelines as literary device and I doubt I ever will, so I can’t say I was too thrilled when I realized Holy Sister was going this route. That said, it is hard to mind when it is done well, and if anyone can do it well, it is Mark Lawrence. For one, I was surprised to find that pacing wasn’t affected too aversely. I liked how the two timelines complemented one another, weaving back and forth like dancing partners completely in tune with each other’s thoughts and movements. When momentum in one timeline flagged, the other one will slip in and take over, re-energizing the narrative. In a way, the book actually felt like a cohesive whole despite the two alternating parts, indicating a massive amount of pre-planning and careful plotting.And of course, I loved how the book expanded on everything that came before. This trilogy has been an epic journey chronicling Nona’s life from a peasant girl to become a novice at Sweet Mercy. And now, it is time for her and her friends to graduate. It is a momentous affair and I’m glad Lawrence gave it the attention it deserved. In addition to her education, Nona has also come a long way in her personal growth, maturing physically and emotionally. Reading about her relationships with the nuns and her peers has always been the highlight of the series for me, and one of the best things about The Book of the Ancestor is the central focus on female friendships and bonding. This is not only limited to Nona’s relationships either; the story also develops the relationships of the other women and their dynamics with each other. And since this is the final book of the trilogy, a lot of these emotions surrounding our characters feel even more heartfelt and intense.In terms of criticisms, there’s nothing too negative I have to say. While I feel this series lacks some of the “weight” of the author’s previous trilogies, plus the fact the characters and writing style somewhat skews towards a slightly younger audience, The Book of the Ancestor is still a fantastic read and Holy Sister caps it off fantastically. Sure, our characters might act a little predictably at times and certain things might tie up a bit too nicely, but overall, rest assured the novel will answer many of your questions and provide the closure needed. Be sure to also pay attention for the climax and denouement, because things there moved very quickly!All in all, this another highly entertaining and satisfying trilogy from Mark Lawrence! Again, if you’ve read The Broken Empire and/or The Red Queen’s War and you’re curious about The Book of the Ancestor, just keep in mind that it’s quite different. If you enjoyed Red Sister and Grey Sister though, I am sure will also love Holy Sister.
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  •  Charlie - A Reading Machine
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful and staggering finale to one of the most remarkable series I’ve ever read - Review to come
  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    I don't usually write reviews, because I'm not good at it. But since I had the amazing opportunity to read this book in advance I feel I should say something.First of all, I won it in an internet contest so I wasn't required to write a review, but I love this series, so I want to share my excitement for this last chapter! This book follows two different timelines: while one starts exactly when Grey Sister left us, the main one is three years after those events, and it's only at the end that we g I don't usually write reviews, because I'm not good at it. But since I had the amazing opportunity to read this book in advance I feel I should say something.First of all, I won it in an internet contest so I wasn't required to write a review, but I love this series, so I want to share my excitement for this last chapter! This book follows two different timelines: while one starts exactly when Grey Sister left us, the main one is three years after those events, and it's only at the end that we get the whole picture. I really liked this structure and it kept me wondering about how some changes in the "present" timeline happened and what Nona knew that we didn't, so both parts of the story were really enthralling!And I loved how it reconnects with the prologues and epilogues of the previous books, that was nicely done!I don't want to say more, but I hope you'll love it as much as I did!
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  • Douglas Meeks
    January 1, 1970
    Well Amazon won't allow me to post this but HOLY SHIT! I spent 2 years waiting for this book and it started getting stressful about 150 pages from the end and never let up or gave you any clue as to what might happen until the end, then the author gives you a chapter and an epilogue to get your mind back intact.The REALLY great book/series are the ones that almost leave you in tears because you have been so deeply immersed in this world (I read the whole trilogy as a marathon) and you realize th Well Amazon won't allow me to post this but HOLY SHIT! I spent 2 years waiting for this book and it started getting stressful about 150 pages from the end and never let up or gave you any clue as to what might happen until the end, then the author gives you a chapter and an epilogue to get your mind back intact.The REALLY great book/series are the ones that almost leave you in tears because you have been so deeply immersed in this world (I read the whole trilogy as a marathon) and you realize that there is no more and I doubt he will revisit this story since he never has but I am going to miss these characters and watching their future play out.I consider his "The Broken Empire" one of the actual masterpieces I ever read but this comes damn close. 5 Stars and wish I could read about these people forever.
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