Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies's Reviews > Red Sister

Red Sister by Mark  Lawrence
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it was amazing

I just reread this book again today in preparation for starting book 2, and it is just as good as the first time :)

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.
Man, what a hook.

This is classic Mark Lawrence in that it's extremely violent, unflinchingly bloody, and gives no fucks, which may be bad for anyone who isn't really fond of brutality involving children (seriously, the first chapter starts with No child truly believes they will be hanged Eeee! EEEEEE!!!) and, well, nuns, but you know me.



I don't know why I'm so excited about children dying, but let's leave the psychoanalysis for another time.

Remember Harry Potter? When little Harry joyfully leaves Privet Drive to enter a school full of magic and hopefully escare his miserably cousins. This book is kind of like that, only little Nona is 8 years old and is entering a very interesting convent to learn to kill, after having already killed someone at her young age.

They grow up so fast.

This book isn't one for wimps. The world development is very intricate, and there is a pretty big cast of characters. It helps that there is a guide at the beginning of the book. For example, there are four Tribes in this book, each of which has their own prized characteristics, and all of whom are sought after for their blood and the potency thereof. I can't describe the world building as anything other than freaking brilliant. It is highly complex and remarkably imagined.

Nona is our main character, an orphaned child sold for the potential of power in her blood; through some...complications, she ended up being almost hanged for murder until she is brought to Sweet Mercy's Convent for Young Girls. From then on, we have a school setting, again, like Harry Potter, but not. I love school settings, and this book did not disappoint me. We are immersed into a very, very close setting full of women and girls, and despite the odd setting, the familiar issues of school and of adolescent are still there; there is plenty of backstabbing, competition, friendship, and even romance (!) among the girls, as they train to be one of the four paths:

- Holy Sister: maintains the faith
- Red Sister: skilled in fighting and stuff
- Grey Sister: skilled in shadowy arts and sneaking around
- Holy Witch: some magical thingamajig

You'll be glad to know Lawrence is more articulate than me in explaining these.

The trouble with most bad-ass female assassin books is that they tend to wimp out. The girl will eventually turn out to:

1. Not really be an assassin at all
2. Develop some bullshit view that LOVE IS THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

That's not true in this book, which is a relief, given her age o_ô.

I enjoyed this book, as I've enjoyed all the other books by Mark Lawrence books I've read. His style remains consistent, and I love the way he writes.
Thorn stood without motion, for only when you are truly still can you be the centre. She stood without sound, for only silent can you listen. She stood without fear, for only the fearless can understand their peril.

Thorn waited. Fearless as flowers, bright, fragile, open to the sky. Brave, as only those who’ve already lost can be.
I really can't emphasize how much I love Lawrence's writing. It is intricate, dramatic, intensely lyrical. It makes combat and death seem like art of the highest order. If I haven't made it amply clear yet, I highly recommend this book.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for review.
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Reading Progress

September 28, 2016 – Shelved
September 28, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
March 22, 2017 – Started Reading
March 28, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)

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Mayim de Vries I missed your reviews. I am so looking forward to read this one, especially after the total failure of the Grave Mercy to tackle the theme of assassin nuns.


Mitriel Finally a great review of this book without any spoilers! Thank you!!


Mitriel EDIT: before certain other reviewers get cross with me - there were a few very nice spoiler-free reviews already, I've just come across more spoilery ones recently. I know there are readers who don't mind, in fact some are even looking to find out more on purpose before picking up a book, I just prefer them without spoilers myself.


Melanie I'm so happy you loved it! Amazing review, Khanh! <3


message 5: by H (new) - added it

H I've been waiting for this review ever since I saw you started the book! Any five from you is a must read! Can't wait to get my tiny little hands on a copy.


message 6: by Mei (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mei Great review Khanh! :)


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Agg i need to read it!!!!!


message 8: by Martyn (new) - added it

Martyn Stanley Sounds great! Nice review.


message 9: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Wonderful. Great review. Give me some badass women.


message 10: by Martyn (last edited Mar 29, 2017 07:13AM) (new) - added it

Martyn Stanley Laura wrote: "Wonderful. Great review. Give me some badass women."

I can't say if you'll like the books, but my fantasy series is chock full of badass women, all with different personalities and traits. First one is free too, so you can check it out and if you think it sucks all you've lost is some time! :)


message 11: by Hiroto (new) - added it

Hiroto !!!!
I LOVED the first book of the Broken Empire, but I was kinda doubtfull as to a girl being the MC of this one... Just because I had some bad and meh experience involving "badass female characters" (as you said, often, they're badass only because the author said so and that's it). I'm glad to see that's not the case here ! I really have to finish the broken empire and I'll try his other series soon enough.
Thank you for your review.


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Hiroto wrote: "!!!!
I LOVED the first book of the Broken Empire, but I was kinda doubtfull as to a girl being the MC of this one... Just because I had some bad and meh experience involving "badass female characte..."


Yeah, I feel you. I've read plenty of wimpy-ass girl assassins, too. All of Mark Lawrence's main character have been strong, and romance is never an issue in his books, so I had hopes for this one even before I started :)


message 13: by Kay Dee (new)

Kay Dee I don't know why I'm so excited about children dying, but let's leave the psychoanalysis for another time.

this made me LOL!!!
and then i was like hmmmm all my fave dystopia- lil kids/tweens/teens are killing folks.


message 14: by Martyn (new) - added it

Martyn Stanley Kay Dee wrote: "I don't know why I'm so excited about children dying, but let's leave the psychoanalysis for another time.

this made me LOL!!!
and then i was like hmmmm all my fave dystopia- lil kids/tweens/teens..."


Yeah, that made me laugh too. Though I'm sure getting excited about baby murdering is pretty unhealthy. We probably shouldn't laugh...

I suppose in Khanh's defence, it's probably more twisted to WRITE baby killing than to enjoy reading about it, though perhaps not by much! :P


message 15: by Kay Dee (new)

Kay Dee Martyn wrote: "Yeah, that made me laugh too. Though I'm sure getting excited about baby murdering is pretty unhealthy. We probably shouldn't laugh... "

well not baby killing these kids can walk and talk and yield weapons so not babies but definitely children.

i loved hunger Games so much i read like 50 other YA dystopia (i had to stop cuz i was getting confused since they are all so similar.) which i would have never picked up if not for Hunger Games. Ender's Game looked like some icky sci-fi startrek thingy from the cover so i totally bypassed it in my childhood. i was like ugh and then some 20 years later thanks to a book club i read something outside my norm and found i love it. This reminds me i need to catch up on Ender's Game. i mean why can't Card stop writing about that universe already? sigh.

i have discovered i really prefer female badass protagonists vs male in my scfi/military/dystopia/fantasy novels. this book was already on my TBR list for some reason..probably the female assassin thing. now with Khanh's review and examples of Lawrence's awesome writing, it has definitely moved up the list. but this will probably be a trilogy like his other series and i don't have much patience... i might need to wait until at least book 2 is on the horizon. we will see.


Dark Sith Lordette Jennymort ♔ Awesome review Khanh! I have missed them. =)


Ellen Gail Great review Khanh! This looks great. Would I have to read his Broken Empire trilogy first, or is this entirely separate?


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Ellen Gail wrote: "Great review Khanh! This looks great. Would I have to read his Broken Empire trilogy first, or is this entirely separate?"

This is an entirely new universe :)


Ellen Gail Khanh (the Grinch) wrote: "Ellen Gail wrote: "Great review Khanh! This looks great. Would I have to read his Broken Empire trilogy first, or is this entirely separate?"

This is an entirely new universe :)"


Awesome! I don't know which series I'll read first then, they both look too good.


message 20: by Martyn (new) - added it

Martyn Stanley Kay Dee wrote: "Martyn wrote: "Yeah, that made me laugh too. Though I'm sure getting excited about baby murdering is pretty unhealthy. We probably shouldn't laugh... "

well not baby killing these kids can walk an..."


I love badass female characters. Is it because the male badass is so overdone he's become a bit of a stereotype?


message 21: by Kay Dee (new)

Kay Dee Martyn wrote: "I love badass female characters. Is it because the male badass is so overdone he's become a bit of a stereotype? "

i don't know why.
in movies, i love my male action heroes. i mean, the expendables still make make me squee and clap every time another action hero comes on the screen. those movies are crappy but i love to watch them because EVERY action hero shows up. i mean, even the marital arts guys! i am smiling just thinking about it. so yeah i don't know why in books i prefer women as the leads.

i read the bourne trilogy and was like eh, shrug. the same with Jim Butcher's series with harry the wizard and James Dashner's the maze runner. the stories bored me. also tried John Ringo and some other sci-fi dude (Eric??) because i like David Weber's Honor Harrington series but nope. they lose my interest.


message 22: by Vyta (new) - added it

Vyta Quick question: does the main character stay 8 years old throught out the book? The story sounds epic but I'm not sure how much I'll like a child protagonist...


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Nope. She grows throughout the book


Samah.vk great review....i don't know if i open goodreads to find new books or simply to see if u have a review uploaded...


PrincessKonsvelaBananaHamek 5 starts by you ⊙︿⊙. this must be a gold mine, I must read ittttttttt


message 26: by Adeeb (new)

Adeeb He seems to have a thing with thorns lol. I am currently reading King of Thorns. It is a bit heavy, but so interesting. Jorg's character is so so cool!


Andrea I just finished this one, and my review envy is so strong right now. This was an excellent fantasy. I do prefer Nona and her friends to Gorg, to be honest. Here's hoping for the next book to be released real soon.


message 28: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Great review Khanh! I'm so looking forward to this!


Samah.vk Read this book solely on your review.... And I should say... THANK YOUUUUUUU


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears Okay, sold. Just one thing, how is this on diverse characters?


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears wrote: "Okay, sold. Just one thing, how is this on diverse characters?"

It's high fantasy so there are different "races" within the book with different characteristics


Kaerden Oh man I need to finally get to these! I´m so happy though you like them as well, cause we really seem to have the same likes when it comes to books and Mark Lawrence is just my favourite author. I can´t wait to start it.!


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies StephK wrote: "Oh man I need to finally get to these! I´m so happy though you like them as well, cause we really seem to have the same likes when it comes to books and Mark Lawrence is just my favourite author. I..."

If you like him, I'd recommend The Poppy War


message 34: by Avantika (new)

Avantika Sriram I basically just scroll through your four and five star list, all the books are so good! :D


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Avantika wrote: "I basically just scroll through your four and five star list, all the books are so good! :D"

Thanks! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did :)


message 36: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher Great review! I'm on my second read right now and enjoying it just as much as the first time!


message 37: by Pratyush (new)

Pratyush Raman I am a wimp


Dayna Janzen The audiobooks are brilliant as well! Heather does a great job giving voice to each character.


Anna A. I loved this so much...Does anyone know any other similar books/series?


message 40: by Joakim (new) - added it

Joakim Rollin Love the review!


message 42: by Ayesha (new) - added it

Ayesha Fuck. This is a damn good review. I have to check it out!


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