Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Grey Sister

Mark Lawrence

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she is sworn to, Nona Grey must find her own path despite the competing pulls of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

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The second novel in a brilliant fantasy series from the international bestselling author of Prince of Thorns.

Behind its walls, the Convent of Sweet Mercy has trained young girls to hone their skills for centuries. In Mystic Class, Novice Nona Grey has begun to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the convent, Nona must choose which order to dedicate herself to--and whether her path will lead to a life of prayer and service or one of the blade and the fist.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the designs of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a knife, and the vengeance of the empire's richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she is sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pulls of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain: there will be blood.

Advance Galley Reviews

All too often, fantasy worlds seem to be populated entirely by men. Though Mark Lawrence is a male author, he's set out to create something different, his universe populated almost entirely by women, with most men being supplementary characters at best. I adored Red Sister, the first in the series, and I was anxious to see if Grey Sister could hold up to the world he'd created, that intriguing mix of fantasy with just a hint of science fiction. I'm pleased to say that Grey Sister more than holds up, and unusually for a 'middle' book in a series, is actually better than the first. This isn't merely a book to fill the gap- this is a novel that stands on its own merit, further building the world and developing the character of Nona Grey, while also pushing the story towards the next eagerly awaited chapter. Nona continues to be an intriguing character, a girl who comes from nothing and discovers the powers deep within herself. What I like best about her as a protagonist is, perhaps, that Nona is not the Chosen One- that honor lies with another character. Though powerful in her own right, Nona sidesteps having that ultimate responsibility, and is somehow all the more intriguing for it. She is riddled with flaws, yet immensely likable, someone hard-edged but always learning and always working towards the future she wants. The world is spiked with violence, but it's violence shaped by women, defined by them. There are powerful men within, but they're not the core of the story. Lawrence focuses instead almost wholly on the feminine powers that be, and the novel is all the stronger for it. My only critique, and the only thing holding me back from a full five stars, is the hint of a romance towards the end that felt shoe-horned in, almost unnecessary to the story of Nona and the other Sisters as a whole. I'm sure it's something that will be expanded upon within the next book, but I almost wish it wasn't there. Alas, beggars can't be choosers, and honestly I can't say enough good things about this book. Thanks to First To Read for the book!

Probably should have read the first book to have a better understanding. Do not read this book alone or first! Overall, entertaining but may have made more sense if I had more information from the previous book.

Wow, I love this series! Mr. Lawrence you have done it again.  I highly recommend you start with Red Sister.  Gray Sister was a great follow up, I loved the strong female characters and friendships. We get more viewpoints this time around, which rounds out the story nicely.  A lot of my questions from  Red Sister were answered, while I got a host of new ones, starting with Keot(the little devil). I have recommended this series to all that will listen and will continue to do so!

I guess it's because I haven't read the first book, but I wasn't able to connect with the characters or care about them. The information from the author about the first book provided at the beginning was helpful. This is probably part of a very good series, but it's not a great standalone novel.

Five stars for this excellent piece of literature. The author is perfecting his craft. I find the characters irresistibly captivating. The setting is grim, yet he wrenches hope from fragments and a world that is falling apart. How? Friendship and the ties between close friends. There is betrayal, suffering, uncertainty, pain, and hope. The end was too abrupt. I am not ready to leave Nona’s world.

I first heard about Mark Lawrence last year when Red Sister was released. I have yet to read any of his other series, however, I enjoyed Red Sister (though I felt like it took a really long time to kick off) and I absolutely loved Grey Sister. The previous book was the foundations of the world building as well as getting to know the main characters while this book was a full on dive into the world. The 3 POV were great (I really enjoyed Glass' and Wheel's as it provided two new layers of the story beyond the world of novices), there were lots of unexpected twists and turns and I couldn't put it down from the time I started it and I can't wait to see where Nona's journey goes next.

I am not really sure that I can review this book and give it justice. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore Lawrence’s writing and he is one of my favorite authors. However, I feel like The Book of the Ancestor series is his opus. While I loved both, The Red Queen series and The Broken Empire series, I feel like The Book of the Ancestor takes all the best aspects of both of Lawrence’s previous series and combines them. And I honestly believe that this is the genius of Lawrence, nothing is what it seems with him. I read all of his books in order, The Broken Empire series, The Red Queen series and then The Book of the Ancestor, and not one of these was like the other. First series took me by surprise in its brutality, second in its humor and third in its humanity. Let me explain what I mean by humanity. Red Sister laid the foundations for an incredible story of Nona Grey, an orphaned girl who wants to belong. Her journey in book one is one of self-discovery, of learning to trust, of overcoming her insecurities. Lawrence lets us very close to Nona and her feelings in these books, unlike with his others, and in a way Nona is a reflection of the reader. She is at once a hero and an everyday person, her journey is an inspiration and a shoulder to lean onto. This is what I mean by humanity. This book is not all darkness, nor all humor – it is complexity. While book one was the groundwork for the story, book two is the world building. Grey Sister introduces the reader to the complex world of The Belt, the political structure of the society, different kingdoms and religions. For all of the information that the book contains, I must say that Lawrence never let the story lag at any point. Grey Sister is action packed, much more so than Red Sister. Nona, Sister Kettle and Sister Glass are in constant motion in the book, and each POV leaves off with a cliff hanger, which makes you never want to put it down, sleep or eat. I will not delve too much into the details as I want the readers to experience the book in their own time and on their own terms, but be prepared to be completely blown away. And trust nothing.


More to Explore

  • Red Sister
  • Prince of Thorns
  • King of Thorns
  • Emperor of Thorns

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