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 trilogy 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

Thanks to First To Read for the arc in return for a honest review. Many times arcs are books of a series. One can usually understand the world and events without reading the first book. I had planned on reading Red Sister later... I read the introduction of Grey Sister about what happened in the first book and read several chapters. Couldn't understand the relationships, the reason for double names, or the setting. I finally decided to get Red Sister and read it first. To me, it's bad world building when you can't setup an established world in a few paragraphs. Many long-running series about a group of characters do this. I read Red Sister. The second story starts at the convent 2 years later, Nona has a new friend, Keot and many more enemies. I realized Grey Sister's beginning chapters were a continuation from Red Sister. Ugh. From this point on, though, we have the Abbess and Kettle's POV. Yay! Abbess Glass thoughts as she waited for others to respond helped a lot with understanding the world and its politics. Kettle gives us a better appreciation for the magic in the world and its possibilities. She has the levelheadedness to survive. Her and Kettle gave us some needed adult sensibility and major world building. On the flip side, Keto was a great distraction, though violence is not world building. Patience was needed to reach the point she joined Kettle. After this, its a long blurred action scene. The best part was when Zole showed up. This is a character I could get behind. I liked her even more than Nona. Can't wait for the two to work together! Those who enjoyed Red Sister will love this expanded world!

The Ancestor trilogy is a lot different from Lawence's previous two trilogies, but both former fans and new readers are sure to enjoy this series, and this installment in general. I can't wait to get my hands on the third book in the series, because I enjoyed Grey Sister even more than I enjoyed Red Sister. The world building continues to be phenomenal, and Lawrence gives us information about Nona's world in tantalizing snippets. I also really enjoyed Nona's growth as a character in this book, and we got to learn a lot more about some other great characters as well, like sister Kettle. I would definitely recommend reading the first book in this series before picking up Grey Sister.

I haven't gotten the chance to read the first book in the series, but I was able to follow this one without feeling lost. Very well written. An amazing and intriguing world to read about. I can't wait to complete the trilogy.

Without reading the 1st book, this is an outstanding book. The world that was built is excellent, and complete. The book does have a little bit of everything. The next book is going to be really good.

This series keeps getting better and better! I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was eagerly awaiting this title. The more I read, the more excited I get about this series! Mark Lawrence is a master story-teller, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

5 epic stars FULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKS: https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/spoiler-free-review-grey-sister-book-of-the-ancestor-2/ Content Warning: gore, torture, loss of a child My Review... Grey Sister was on my highly anticipated list of sequels being released in 2018 after reading & loving Red Sister (My review here) to pieces last year. The main protagonist Nona still remains one of my all time favorite kick a** females I’ve come across on the page. If you’re primarily a YA Fantasy reader but have been curious & feeling the urge to dip your toes into the waters of adult fantasy then I’d say please start here! If you’ve been looking for more books featuring positive female friendships, please start here! & if you are a lover of school settings where magic & martial arts come together, please start here! If you’re looking for positive LGBTQIA+ representation in Fantasy, please start here! I was one of those readers intimidated by adult fantasy because of the vast world building & discovering Mark Lawrence will always be one of the best reader moments in my bookworm life. The complexities of the world building once again felt weightless when I picked up Grey Sister which speaks to the talent behind the pen. The inclusion (before the prologue) of a quick run-down of the major happenings in Red Sister is a wonderful courtesy to readers & so appreciated by this bookworm! Hunska: Speed (faster than your average human) Gerrant: Physically large & strong Marjal: ability to do magic on a smaller scale Quantal: ability to walk the path & more complex magic *Nona is a rare triple blood having Hunska, Marjal, and Quantal abilities Novices have 10 years to complete training & take orders as one of the four classes “Holy Sister (entirely religious duties), Grey Sister/Sister of Discretion (trained in assassination and stealth), Red Sister/Martial Sister (trained in combat), Holy Witch/Mystic Sister (trained to walk the path)” When we pick up, Nona has moved up to Mystic class (she’s completed both Red & Grey Class) and is on her way to becoming one of the illest Red Sisters alive. Sweet Mercy is still her home where she trains alongside friends and foes. Classes are way more intense & so are the rivalries but this time is a little different. Nona has a unwelcome companion that adds a bit of dark humor to the mix & I found myself laughing out loud at his “words of encouragement”???????one thing does remain the same, Nona may be fierce as hell but she is still willing to forgive those who have wronged her. Friendship is once again center stage & is one of the things I love most about this series. Nona has pretty much had to create her own family within Sweet Mercy, her sisters are all she has. We see the return of some favorites while they mourn the loss of others & cope with the betrayal of those they thought most loyal. For Nona, letting go of the past without answers to the questions haunting her every move is just not an option. This book sees Nona take action and go after those corrupt leaders in the Empire who are thirsty for more power. We also got to see more of our favorite teachers in action alongside Nona & crew. This time around there’s also more opposition from some of the teachers who’d rather Nona be released from her duties in Sweet Mercy. Nonetheless, Abbess Glass (reminds me a bit of Dumbledore hehe) is fair & just, taking a rather protective stance over Nona who she knows has no ties to the outside world. Revenge is a recurrent theme, Nona is out to get hers while also being sought out for her actions in Red Sister. Nona’s character development is perhaps one of the best aspects of this series. She’s no longer the 8 year old we met at the gallows in book 1, she’s matured into a teenager who is learning how to manage her demons. If you’ve been around my blog for a minute, it’s no secret I admire Nona and Grey Sister only amplified my love for this character. If she wasn’t dealing with her new Nemesis in Sweet Mercy (who btw made me want to jump through the book and back up my girl Nona), you could probably find her in the caves underneath Sweet Mercy with her friends, plotting her next moves. My favorite parts were seeing Nona both prep and actually go through the Shadow Trial, in Sweet Mercy these convent games determine your passage to the next class. The ingenuity she mustered up in the face of truly devious competition had me smiling from ear to ear rooting her on. The action sequences have a cinematic feel making it very easy to picture & get caught up in the moment. Lawrence takes us along on Nona’s journey through the ranks, her victories and failures are truly felt on the pages. The villains in this installment have been identified on the chess board but I have a feeling Lawrence has a few more tricks up his sleeve for the final installment in this trilogy, Holy Sister. The Book of the Ancestor is set to wrap up in 2019 with Holy Sister already completed ?? SUPER STOKED to see how it all ends & seeing Nona in all her Red Sister glory!

I was extremely happy to pick this up and not feel lost since I didn't read the first book. The characters are great, the world that Lawrence has created is solid and this is altogether enjoyable. I'll be patiently awaiting the third book!

Grey sister is the sequel to Red sister. I really loved Red sister so I was so excited to continue the series with Grey Sister, it’s so good even better than th first book in my opinion. This is the second book I’ve read from Mark Lawrence and he is such a good author; he really brings these characters and this whole world to life. I really enjoyed this one such a good fantasy story! I can’t tell you so much about the plot of this story because it’s the second book and I don’t want to spoil you so take my advice please read Red Sister and then read Grey Sister you won’t regret it. Thanks to First to Read for giving me a e-arc to read and review!

Five stars! Just as good as the first one. Can’t wait to see how Lawrence finishes this trilogy.

A lot of my comments about the first book carry on to this title. The characters are great, the friendships are still there with the genuine feel of school-age children, and I enjoyed about 3/4s of the book. The first half and the last quarter of the book kept my interest, but when Nona's role in the story turned (situation-based) passive and the focus went away from her to other characters, I found myself not wanting to pick the book back up. A lot of that time is spent waiting for Glass' plan to come to fruition, but instead of being intrigued and wanting to plunge forward, I felt bored. Also, while this book had the same Villains-to-Admire from book one, we have a new character who falls into the Villains-Who-Annoy category. Every time I saw her name elicited an eyeroll and groan. Like Joffrey, I'll enjoy her demise in book 3 (hopefully), but little else about her. Lastly, the interlude from book one has no echo in book two. I missed it, but I guess it had to disappear.

My Review: I am so glad I waited to read Red Sister until I was able to pick this one up right after. I found Grey Sister to be an easier read and it lacked some of the lulls that Red Sister had; there was constant development of the story line and characters. As I said with the review of Red Sister, I am not a fan of Chosen One tropes, while this series does have a chosen one trope, it is so twisted on its head, you never know who exactly the chosen one is, that I really enjoy that element of the story. I wasn't too sure about the addition of Keot but I ended up really enjoying the extra character. I also love how at the beginning of the book Lawrence gives a great breakdown of the previous book so even if you didn't read them back to back like I did, you can still get the relevant information to jump right back into the story; which I will be super thankful for when the next book comes out because there is no doubt I will want to jump right in!

Nona Grey is back from the wilds. Again within the walls of the Convent of Sweet Mercy. But, her enemies are unrelenting. Among the novices who study with her are girls from families allied with Thuran Tacsis, who still seeks vengeance for the loss of his son to Nona's blades. It is with treachery, ambush, and guile these classmates work to do what their families could not do with main force. That, however, is just a minor inconvenience as Nona soon learns. Surprisingly, it is Abbess Glass who entwines her in a more profound game that threatens the Convent, the Emperor, and the Empire itself With the Inquisition on her heels Nona must again run for her life. In "Grey Sister" the author has given us a worthy sequel to his "Red Sister" fantasy. Rich in characters, haunting, vividly written, and filled with scenes that will sweep the reader from one page to the next like a category five storm, you will savor every word. For aficionados of violent fantasy, I strongly recommend "Grey Sister." My thanks to Penguin Random House for providing the advance reader's copy for this review.

First of all, if you haven't read Red Sister, you should do that now! It's a great book! I absolutely loved Red Sister and have been waiting since it first came out, about a year ago, to read the sequel! This book took me a little longer to read, but it was still awesome. Mark Lawrence is a great writer and has created such a unique and interesting world, full of ruthless nobles and killer nuns. What more could you ask for? I love Nona as much, if not more than I did in the last book! She is a total badass! I also really like Zole in this book. I like that the author put a refresher at the beginning of the book, in case readers had to wait a while between reading the first and second books, like I did. He said it is so that he "can avoid the awkwardness of having to have characters tell each other things they already know for your benefit." It was definitely nice to have a short refresher since it has been over a year since I read the first book. This book was just as good as I thought it would be and had just as much action, if not more than the first. It definitely didn't disappoint! I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I love this story! I now need to go and read the first one, to see how the story unfolds as Nona Grey develops. Even though I didn't read the first one, this is an easy read, easy to pick up and understand and enjoy the story as it evolves. One has to wonder how Nona survives, and much of this revolves around her relationships, her sisters in the sisterhood, the demon that lives inside her, and even her enemies. Great story.

I've been really looking forward to this book and Mark Lawrence doesn't disappoint. This tells the continuing story of Nona Grey as she furthers her education at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. Firstly, I really like the characters in this book. I think that Nona is given some good development opportunities and whereas in the first novel, her friends were all relatively one-dimensional, they have been fleshed out considerably here. Zole particularly is given far more to do and she is fast becoming the most interesting member of what is now an ensemble piece. Similarly, the world itself is more defined and we have more instances of political machination, which I think is a good way for the series to progress. There is undoubtedly a comparison to be made to Harry Potter on occasion, particularly in the classroom scenes and many of the organisational aspects of the convent, but Lawrence is definitely darker and more threatening. All in all, this is a very enjoyable world and this novel moves the story along very well. I will definitely look forward to the next offering.

I received an eARC copy of this book through the Penguin First to Read program. Then, since school was bogging down my pleasure-reading time, I used an Audible credit to buy the audiobook once it became available. This was a great idea, because I was able to really devote some good listening time to one of my most looked-forward-to books of the year. Ever since loving Red Sister so much, I've been itching to get back into Nona's world. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I found the early part very engaging, with some significant early surprises. It slowed down a bit through the middle, but then those last several chapters had me at the edge of my... earbuds. So now the next book is one of my most looked-forward-to books of next year.

Where do I even begin to describe how satisfied and happy I was after finishing Grey Sister. I have PTSD from other series because 85% of second books are never as good as the first. They become this necessary evil bridge you must cross in order to build upon the story and make your way to the good stuff that lies in book number 3. They are usally slow going, hard to finish and only towards the last few chapters does anything happen and then they end in cliff hangers and infuriate you. Its as if Mark Lawrence distincltly tried to stray away from this common "second book syndrome" and provided a great story full of all the things that made us fall in love with the first book and improved upon it. This book has all of my favorite things from a brilliant storyline, fully fleshed out characters, great friendships, a heroin that isn't lovestruck and pinning for some boy, and kick ass action scenes that don't shy away from blood. What I really love is that Nona Grey's character isn't put on a pedastal and painted as special and more superior than everyone around her. She is fantastic and very gifted but a lot of things wouldn't have been possible without the help she gets from her friends and mentors. She isn't the only special character and a lot of them have their own degree of bad-assness. Not enough books do this and instead heavily rely on the main character to be one in a million on the amazing scale while everyone else is average. If you haven't read Red Sister yet, please go do yourself a favor and get both so that you can seamlessly read them together. Grey Sister takes place not too far from where it left off. If its been too long since you've read the first book, have no fear- a brief recapping is given in the beginning of the book(WHICH IS FREAKING BRILLIANT!!). After reading both books, my love for this author has been set in stone and I hope there are many more books to come. I need more of this wonderfully creative world and my newfound favorite characters.

I have to admit I was both excited and scared to try Mark Lawrence out again after having read his "Prince of Thorns" which was rich in triggering content. I was very much relieved to find that The Ancestor series, while violent, was quite palatable. Mark Lawrence has built a fantastic world here where only a small fraction is habitable due to encroaching ice. He adds to this interesting and powerful characters, who via some ancestral blood line/genetics have amazing abilities. The main character Nona is a breath of fresh air as a heroine as she has her own shortcomings and dark side. In other words she feels fully fleshed-out and relatable, and will sometimes greatly upset you. Together all this comes together to be a wonderful book that is hard to put down.

Grey Sister is everything I was hoping it would be and more! Starting with the helpful recap of Red Sister, the book is a masterpiece of incredible characters, beautifully layered world-building, and an exciting continuation of the previous book. Mark Lawrence is a brilliant storyteller who has earned my deep admiration and is now on my top ten list of favorite authors. I cannot recommend this highly enough!

OMG it is like Mark Lawrence has been a reader of book in a series before and thought man I hate all this recapping and I totally forgot who dude#6 was. Well he saved me from any of those feelings by giving a super brief intro to remind you of all the important stuff you’d need to remember from the first book. You might be thinking nuns, well that sounds utterly boring and nice. You would be wrong, especially when they are specially trained assassins. Sure they learn about ‘The Ancestor’ their deity but for nuns in training they spend much more time learning how to kill a man with a toothpick than praying. Nona is wonderful in a stabby stabby kind of way. As someone who can kill you in a hundred ways she is really a pretty nice girl for the most part, just remember to be her friend and not her enemy. *** ”I love you as a sister, and when we die we will be together in the Ancestor, our blood mixed.” […] ”But I must warn you, sister, that a sickness runs in me, and if you fashion yourself my enemy I will make a ruin of your life, for I am born of war.” *** We fast forward to four years past Red Sister and Nona has grown. She is stronger, she has even more people she considers friends and has found a home at the covenant. She has also gained a devil under her skin but more on that later. But once again we have come to a fork in the road for Nona and everything in her life is about to change again. The best part of this book was that we get not only Nona’s PoV but one from Abbess Glass too. I have to say that in Red sister the two characters that I wanted to know more about were Glass and Zole so getting a PoV from Glass opened up my understanding of the story so much more. Zole is still a little bit of a mystery, but I like ‘The Chosen One’ more and more as the pages turn. But Abbess Glass is a wonder and even being in her head it was clear that the reader is still going to be surprised by the political machinations happening. Keot was my favorite new character. He is one of the missing and currently under the skin of little Nona. And Keot is no Jiminy Cricket, unless Jiminy started smoking bath salts. All Nona needs is someone urging her to kill…kill…kill. Still Keot gives the reader insight to the missing and some of the history to this world along with something for Nona to interact with. Another thing I really like about the entire series is that the sisters of the Ancestor really do rally around each other. I love how the bonds between almost all of the sisters are tied and just how far each would go for the others. Even the girls Nona’s age are building some extremely solid bonds. I love how each tries to lift the others higher, or pushes them to be better. *** I've been at this convent five years, Keot, and I've learned to believe in something more than myself. All this time Wheel has been banging on about the Ancestor, about all those who came before and have gone beyond. But the larger thing I believe in is what's here and now. Those novices are my friends and I would die for them. I would face a terror for them that I haven't the courage to stand against on my own behalf. *** With the revelations throughout the book it will be interesting to see just how this all plays out. Will we get more information about the arc’s and shiphearts. Like what they were and how the missing are a part of them. I want to understand the mirror that is the moon and if it can be used to save this dying planet or is it still doomed to fall. I for one am very excited to see where this story will lead us.

This was another stellar telling by Mark Lawrence! I highly recommend!

First off, I really love the whole storyline of this book I think is unique and I haven't read anything like it. Without giving away any spoilers I really did like the book and nova is badass along with some of her friends. I also like how she has to learn, train and be in her classes. I would recommend reading this book if you read the first one, then go and read this one.

The writing in this book is beautiful, but I did not realize it was the second in a series. I will be buying the first and starting at the beginning. This is not a good entry point.

Grey Sister was great!

My feelings are mixed. I enjoyed the story, the plot, the characters, and the overall direction. I did not enjoy how long it was and by that I mean it was wordy or dense. It felt like it took awhile for the story to go anywhere because there were just so many words trying to describe everything and part of me is still not sure if I understand how the system works. Anyways, Nona did a good job being the main focus and the characters around her really bring out the dynamics of everyone. Lawrence does a good job of making the scenarios and fights realistic (aka the good guys don't always win or survive)... which always makes parts sad. The Abbess was awesome in this book, she is one crafty mf'er. Oh, that brings me to may other didn't like, the name changes. I feel like I need a chart with me when the book goes between the Sisters and Mistress names so much. Did leave us with a bit of a cliff hanger, so looking forward to the growth of all the characters (hopefully...not sure who else I could read die).

In this book we follow Nona again as she trains at the convent of Sweet Mercy, but we also get the added perspective of Abbess Glass who has set some things in motion that might redeem the convent from the actions of the last book, or make it fall. Nonas about 15 years old and in the Grey Sister class now. Even though years have passed her enemies havent forgotten her. When the Emperors sister makes a move to start taking over the Empire the assassins sent to capture her finally get the chance they've been waiting for. Since I read so many books in a year I forgot more details of the first book Red Sister than I had realized and the recap at the beginning was helpful, but I didnt have all the info I wanted. I dont remember exactly what Clera did and some other details, but I was still able to follow the story well enough. After buddy reading a review copy of the first book Red Sister last year I was really excited to get my hands on the sequel. This is one of the rare adult fantasy series that I can really get immerse in. Most of them are too slow or the writing isnt very enjoyable for me, but that isnt the case with this series.  The writing was easy to get into without taking away from the fascinating world and unique magic system. Its so vaste and intricate without being difficult to understand. I liked how Nona isnt really the chosen one, but more like the sidekick in this series. Its such a nice change from the usual trope. Shes such a complexe character with believable flaws, but still easy to connect to. The way she came up with a solution for the Shade trial was great. I also thought Keot was a great addition to the story. He was just so funny even though he wasnt trying to be. I thought Nonas friend group was wonderful. Ara and Darla were some of my favorites. We just get so many great side characters in this series. I started to really feel for Zole in this book and every time she wasnt around I kept waiting for her to pop back up. I love how some enemies have become her friends and how some friends have become enemies. I also enjoyed Sister Apple and Kettles relationship. They're both fantastic characters. Not to mention Abbess Glass calculating mind was fascinating to read about. I was excited to see what she had planned.  When Nona gets advanced to Mystic class we meet Joeli a spoiled noble helping Nonas enemies. I had a feeling ever since Joeli was looking out the window at Nona while they talked about exploring the caves that Joeli was going to pull on her threads and encourage her to go explore the caves. I wonder why Nona wasn't expecting an attack like this. The end of that cave scene totally peaked my interest, but we never got a very good explanation as to what was hiding there. Theres still so many unanswered questions about the Missing and the Ancients I have no idea how it will all wrap up in the third book.

I was under the (incorrect) impression that this book was less dependent upon having read the first in the series," The Red Sister." My mistake. The book is well-written but is not a good entry point for the series. I am retreating to the first book, already purchased, and will post public reviews for it, and "The Grey Sister" after attaining a better grounding in Lawrence's complex and richly built world.

A worthy successor to the first in this trilogy. Lawrence's world-building is highly skilled, and in this book, he's expanded to include more of the fascinating political and religious structures he's put in place. The story picks up two years later. Nona and her fellow novices have matured, but they are still young and make the mistakes of the young even though they grow in power. We also get more perspectives--Kettle, Glass, even the enigmatic Zole--which deepens the reader experience. Trouble finds Nona and the covent and the reader is swept into a maelstrom of politics and power games that excites and delights. I can't wait for the next one!

While Mark Lawrence provides a recap of the first novel in his Book of the Ancestor fantasy trilogy, do not be fooled into thinking you can easily enter the first book without having read the first. You do yourself a disservice in skipping _Red Sister_, in which we meet our female-lead cast of characters. The Convent of Sweet Mercy on the dying world of Abeth is sort of a Hogwarts for warrior nuns. When 8-year-old Nona Grey is brought to this religious institution on its wind-swept plateau, she must grow into her blood destiny -- which is indeed bloody. It's not called 'Red' Sister for nothing. The second in Lawrence's Book of the Ancestor, _Grey Sister_ picks up ~2 years after _Red Sister_, and takes us deeper on every level into the convent; into this fantasy world, its machinations, its political and geophysical climate, and its culture. This is an unusual middle book in that it is not merely a bridge from series foundation to culmination. _Grey Sister_ is stronger than its predecessor, due in large part to its strength of character development, its rich world building, and its elevated tension. Not to mention how well it's written. Another remarkable aspect is Lawrence's deft transitions with POV characters. The first half of _Grey Sister_ alternates between novice Nona Grey's perspective and that of middle-aged and far-seeing Abbess Glass. About halfway through, the added POV of Sister Kettle, a young, stealthy, and lethally trained sister enters the narrative. Lawrence reveals his mastery in the switching and blending of Nona and Kettle's perspectives, all while the desperate pace accelerates. I highly recommend this book -- and this series -- to fantasy fiction fans worldwide.

Although I have not read the first book in the series, I still enjoyed Grey Sister. It is well written and I look forward to rereading it once I read the first book.

A fantastic follow up to Red Sister. The stakes are raised as new areas of the world are explored, new characters are introduced, and the pace of action increases, culminating in a breathtaking third act leading to a bit of an abrupt ending, but one that left me aching to pick up the next book the second it’s released. Lawrence has an amazing knack for stranding his characters in seemingly impossible situations, but providing believable and internally-consistent ways for them to survive (most of them, anyway) and keep fighting. Every Lawrence book I’ve read has been better than the last, and this may be his best yet.

This is the first series by Mark Lawrence I have tried. Once a year I pick a new author to try and last year’s Red Sister was my intro into Lawrence’s realm. When I saw that Penguin’s first to read program had Grey Sister, the sequel and middle Book of the Ancestor, I knew I had to guarantee my ARC. I am so glad I did. Grey Sister takes place a couple of years after the events of Red Sister so you must read Book 1 before this to get the jist. The events and circumstances in this book had me flipping e-pages to late hours in the evening. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to take my time and relish in the glow of the story but my patience wore thin. I took a day off work so I could binge read and it was worth it. I highly recommend this work of art. The only exception being Keot. Not sure what he was doing here but I have a feeling a novella explaining the missing two years would explain Keot and is warranted. Bring on book 3, I’ll save a vacation day.

The long-awaited sequel to Red Sister, Grey Sister, delivers more than any reader could have expected. Grey Sister outshines its predecessor and continues to develop the cast of female characters in a wonderfully unique (and believable) manner. The Book of the Ancestor series is quickly turning into one of my favourite fantasy series.  The characters are so wonderful in this series; I am emotionally and mentally invested in the outcome of each character. The story is female-lead, which is rare in fantasy. The characters (female or male) are fully developed human beings, have real personalities and thoughts, and have real faults like, you know, people, which makes this series almost singular in the genre. Lawrence's world-building continues to be spectacular. We are exposed to much more of his world through the travels of several characters. The more he reveals about the world, the more the reader understands the need for grim, resilient, and harsh characters. The world is bleak, severe, and requires survivors to push themselves to extremes. It is a world where the stories cannot end until the moon falls. I hope to revisit this in other series and novels by Lawrence. The writing is skilled in every manner. Swift changes in perspective kept the action building and rolling forward without breaking it awkwardly into chapters or whole parts (looking at you Tolkien). There are moments of profound insight and moments of much needed comic relief. Lawrence is indeed a master of his craft.  Thank you to Mark Lawrence, Ace, and First to Read for the eARC of Grey Sister, which allowed me to provided an honest review. Keep 'em coming, please!

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.

 


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