Melanie's Reviews > Red Sister

Red Sister by Mark  Lawrence
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, fantasy, read-in-2017, favorites, magic

ARC provided by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.


“A book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one.”

This story surrounds a young girl, given away by her mother and village after a frightful night. Yet, even being given away, our young protagonist, Nona, proves that there will always be room in your heart to love. The children that are given away to be sold are worth as much as what is in their blood. There are four tribes in this world, and the purer the blood you have, or the more tribes you have in your blood, makes your worth incredibly more valuable.

“What good is holy if it watches my friend die –not because she did something wrong but because her blood wasn’t good enough?”

Four Tribes that the people in this world can descend from:
Gerant - Great size and strength.
Hunska - Quick speed.
Marjal - The ability to tap into lesser magic.
Quantal - The ability to walk the Path and work greater magic.

Nona is sold and has a lot of potential because of her blood, but after Nona is found guilty of a very violent crime, she is sentenced to death. That is, until she is stolen and taken to Sweet Mercy's Convent for young girls, because her blood and potential should not be wasted. Unfortunately, Nona is harboring secrets that are constantly making her question her worth, no matter what's in her blood.

“That’s my secret and my shame. I’m Nona Grey, war is in my veins, and the screams of my enemies are music to me.”

Four Classes in the Convent for the novices to learn as a group:
Red Class - Ages 9-12 typically.
Grey Class - Ages 13-14 typically.
Mystic Class - Ages 15-16 typically.
Holy Class - Ages 17-19 typically.

In ten years, Nona will be educated and taught everything she needs to know in the ways of blade and fist while becoming a Red Sister, but there are going to be many hurdles in her way. This book spans only three of those years, but we already get to see the political, power, and religious problems that will not be ignored or easily fought.

Four Paths for the novices to take once they become nuns:
Bride of the Ancestor, Holy Sister - Honors the Ancestors and keeps the faith.
Martial Sister, Red Sister - Warriors skilled in armed and unarmed combat.
Sister of Discretion, Grey Sister - Masters of stealth and potions with shadow work.
Mystic Sister, Holy Witch - Walks the Path and manipulates threads.

“The hardest lesson I ever learned was that every bad thing you see a friend do to someone else they will someday do to you.”

This story puts such a heavy emphasis on friendship and the importance of believing in others even when you've been hurt in the past. Friendship truly is the constant theme of this story, and how beautiful and cruel it can be. Trust is something we should never give willingly, but it can reap so many beautiful things if you choose to put your trust in the right person.

“Truth is an ax. Without judgment it’s swung in great circles, wounding everybody”

Four girls whose paths cross regardless of what they wanted:
Nona - Our sweet cinnamon roll protagonist.
Arabella - From royal blood.
Clera - Father/family in great financial trouble.
Zole - From the Ice Tribes and the ward of a very powerful woman.

No one is truly all good; everyone comes with failures and faults. Good people can do terrible things just as easily as bad people can perform righteous miracles. Believing in someone else can be a great treasure or a horrible curse, but believing the bad or the good of yourself can be catastrophic.

And the writing, oh the writing. This writing is slow and meticulous and meaningful. It's different and unique and reflective on things going on in today's world. It's mesmerizing and lyrical and completely unforgettable. I honestly feel like I could have highlighted this whole book! I will definitely be rereading some of these quotes for the rest of my life.

For me, this story has seeped its way into my body and embedded itself into my heart. I was unable to put it down, and I still am so invested in Nona's character. Nona is the best character I've read about in years. If there was a way for me to put myself into this story, I would and I would fight by her very side because I believe in her that much.

“A juggler once came to my village. He was my first friend.”

This is a story about a chosen one, but it is done in such a perfect way that you are left constantly questioning what is true and what is false. This isn't your typical chosen one cliché in the slightest. The prophecy in this book is unlike any other you've read, and the battle for the truth is such a treat to read about.

“It says that the Ark will open when the four tribes demand it with one voice.”

And I mean, ultimately this is a story about magical warrior nuns fighting a war from many different sides! How much more do I need to say to sell you?

Okay, let's talk for a minute about *holds breath and pauses for dramatic effect* SCHOOL SETTINGS! Most people, like me, in their mid to late twenties, grew up with Harry Potter which has bewitched all of us to absolutely love and devour books set in boarding school settings. All the different nuns, with all their different specialties, were so reminiscent of Harry Potter, too, that I couldn't help but become addicted to reading this. (Side note: Apple/Mistress Shade is everything I wish Snape was in a Potions Master, and she filled my heart with so much happiness.)

This story also beautifully features lesbians. In fact, I do not believe we even see a hetero relationship in this book. There are two nuns in this book, who are teachers and obviously together, which no one ever shames or questions, but treats the relationship how it should be treated: as normal. There is also a good discussion on being young and having feelings that you aren't sure are "correct" since the feelings are not of the 'norm" of society. One of the other younger girls in the Convent is discovering she is gay, and the transition of her realization is somewhat painful, but so very important. It is never stated that Nona is gay herself, but I truly feel like she is, and I am so excited for that development that could grow, you have no idea. Let the record state that all I want in my life are lesbians in my high fantasy novels and this portion of the story made me completely biased. Also, thank you Mark Lawrence for making a Convent, for only women and girls, have lesbians, because many other authors would have skipped the obvious and made everyone straight.

My one and only criticism: (view spoiler)

“Your death has not been waiting for your arrival at the appointed hour: it has, for all the years of your life, been racing towards you with the fierce velocity of time’s arrow. It cannot be evaded, it cannot be bargained with, deflected or placated.”

Overall and needless to say, I loved this. It was so immersive and so all-encompassing. I never wanted to put this book down, and all I want now is the second book. The characters are on a whole other level, the writing is nothing short of phenomenal, and the story is so very captivating and addicting. This book will easily make my "top books of 2017" list. Please, do yourself a favor and pick up this amazing book on April 4th, 2017.

“There is, in the act of destruction, a beauty which we try to deny, and a joy which we cannot. Children build to knock down, and though we may grow around it, that need runs in us, deeper than our blood.”

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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Quotes Melanie Liked

Mark  Lawrence
“A book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one. Treat them with respect.”
Mark Lawrence, Red Sister


Reading Progress

January 29, 2017 – Shelved
January 29, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 6, 2017 – Shelved as: arc
March 6, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 6, 2017 – Shelved as: read-in-2017
March 17, 2017 – Started Reading
March 18, 2017 –
page 147
31.34% "My Saturday night read! Also, everything about this book is perfect, so far.
"
March 22, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites
March 22, 2017 – Shelved as: magic
March 22, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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Jessica-❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥ Happy reading! :D


Melanie Jessica-❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥ wrote: "Happy reading! :D"
Thank you, Jess! So far it is beyond words amazing and enthralling! <3 xx


James Lafayette Tivendale Looking forward to hearing your views Mel :) x


Melanie James wrote: "Looking forward to hearing your views Mel :) x"

I'm at that weird state of a good book where one half of you wants to devour it as quickly as possible because it is so good, where the other half just wants to roll around on the bed and fangirl while trying to savor it! Haha! <3 xx


Melanie Maddie wrote: "Beautiful pic :D

Happy reading :D"


You're too kind, Maddie! Thank you! I hope you're having an amazing reading week, too! <3 xx


message 6: by Talía (new) - added it

Talía Great review, Melanie! Okay, so this book has like a ton of world info, but it sounds so intriguing!! I´m glad you enjoyed it because I have high hopes for this one. This is deff one I´m reading :)


Melanie Talía wrote: "Great review, Melanie! Okay, so this book has like a ton of world info, but it sounds so intriguing!! I´m glad you enjoyed it because I have high hopes for this one. This is deff one I´m reading :)"

Haha, yeah! The world-building is very vast and very unique, but so worth the learning curve! I tried to help with the notes I took, but I know it probably still comes across as pretty daunting! >.<

I hope you love it, Talía! I really think it will be a shining light for 2017's fantasy! <3 xx


Petrik Amazing review love!! thank you for taking the time to explain some stuff to me! :)


Eon ♒Windrunner♒  Brilliant review Melanie. I cannot wait to pick this one up, thank you. :D


message 10: by BAM (new) - added it

BAM The Bibliomaniac I want to read this so badly and I was reflected :-(


Melanie Petrik wrote: "Amazing review love!! thank you for taking the time to explain some stuff to me! :)"

Thank you, Petrik! <3 xx
And you are so welcome! I love talking book with you!


Melanie Eon ♒Windrunner♒ wrote: "Brilliant review Melanie. I cannot wait to pick this one up, thank you. :D"

Thank you, Eon! Your praise means so very much to me, seriously, thank you. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts when you pick it up! <3 xo


Melanie BAM wrote: "I want to read this so badly and I was reflected :-("

Awh, I'm sorry, love. I actually saw a surprisingly high amount of people on here, that I know would do amazing reviews, get denied this on Netgalley. Hopefully you get sent one anyway! :P xx


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Wonderful review sweetheart =) xo


Melanie Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ wrote: "Wonderful review sweetheart =) xo"

Thank you, Mel! You are the sweetest! <3 xx


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin You're most welcome =) xo ❤


message 17: by Stacy (last edited Mar 24, 2017 06:15AM) (new) - added it

Stacy This is yet another book I am now super excited about after reading your thoughts!!! Thanks for another great review! :)


message 18: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary This. Sounds. AMAZING <3


Melanie Stacy wrote: "This is yet another book I am now super excited about after reading your thoughts!!! Thanks for another great review! :)"

You're the sweetest, Stacy! It's so good, I'm still on a book hangover from this! <3 xx


Melanie Mary wrote: "This. Sounds. AMAZING <3"

It was, Mary! Oh my gosh! *fangirls forever*
(Also, I still need to make you a list of book! I haven't forgot! The end of March has just been crazy busy for me, love!)
<3 xx


SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ Fantastic review Melanie! = Dxx


Melanie SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ wrote: "Fantastic review Melanie! = Dxx"

Thank you, Sue! <3 xx


message 23: by Paula Bear (new)

Paula Bear This book sounds really fun, much like Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, but darker & possibly better???. Part of me is really interested, but I've read two other Mark Lawrence books and haven't liked either of them, mostly because I despised the MC. Have you read any of his other books? How did they compare? Did you feel like there was a difference in writing having a female protagonist versus male?


Melanie Maddie wrote: "Brilliant review, Melanie xx"

Thank you so much, Maddie! You are such a kind soul! <3 xx


Melanie Paula wrote: "This book sounds really fun, much like Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, but darker & possibly better???. Part of me is really interested, but I've read two other Mark Lawrence books and haven't liked ei..."

Paula, I've seen VERY many people compare this to Nevernight, saying if you love it then you will love this. I haven't read it, but I am very tempted now, because I loved this book so much.

I've also seen a lot of people saying they gave up on his other series, because of the unlikable protagonist, but I haven't read anything else by him! I'm so sorry!

Haha! I'm so not being helpful to you! BUT I do think it is worth a chance if you really enjoyed Nevernight, just because I keep seeing the comparisons very frequently!

Happy reading, love! <3 xx


Jessica-❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥ Fantastic review, Melanie!! :Dxxx


Melanie Jessica-❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥ wrote: "Fantastic review, Melanie!! :Dxxx"

Thank you, Jess!! <3 xx


message 28: by Natalie (new)

Natalie The Biblioholic Amazing review, Melanie! ♡


Melanie Natalie wrote: "Amazing review, Melanie! ♡"

Thanks, Natalie! <3 xo


Vote Little Win Big She wasn't given away. The Praists came and took her killing her mother in the process.


message 31: by Nick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick I just finished this and had to see your review. I agree with everything you said especially about Hessa death. I was so disappointed and sad about it


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