Book Review · Books

Book Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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Photo / Goodreads

Synopsis:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

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

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

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

Review:

Fantasy is a genre I adore, but I’m not going to lie, I’m still a newbie when it comes to fantasy books. I still don’t quite understand the difference between the different types of fantasy, and  I haven’t ventured too far from Young Adult fantasy because, honestly, I’m scared.

I’m still in the beginning stages of diving into this genre and started out fairly easy a few years ago with Sarah J. Maas (my QUEEN). So when “Red Sister” by Mark Lawrence was pitched to me, and the synopsis sounded intriguing, I decided to give it a shot. I wanted to challenge myself and branch out a bit.

I came out of this book feeling accomplished that I had gotten through it (I’ve tried non-YA fantasy before, but could never finish an entire book), but more so relieved to be able to put it down.

Let me be upfront: I don’t think “Red Sister” is bad, and I know people who take in this type of fantasy without batting an eye will probably love it. I’m not one of those people. Maybe I will never be one of those people.

I liked the beginning and the end of the book a lot, there’s a lot of action and intrigue. Assassin nuns? Yes, please, thank you. Nona? A queen. Potential LGBTQ+ relationships? Amazing.

But the middle of the book was a marathon for me, and I often found myself skimming pages to get to the climax quicker. Like, I get it, they have lessons to attend to. They have to train. I get it.

After a while the lessons and the training and the set up became repetitive and was hard to push through. I was also a little confused at times. Maybe my brain isn’t ready for so many characters in a first book. Maybe that fact that I’m also in the midst of a “Harry Potter” binge read made me not care for the magic system and school in this story. Or maybe the only badass female assassin I need in my life is Celaena Sardothien.  I don’t know.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for this type of fantasy yet.

Though I had issues getting through this book, it is a good story. I think I was just the wrong reader.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars) – Okay.

This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

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