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Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)
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BotM Discussion - FANTASY > Red Sister / Overall Discussion / Spoilers

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message 1: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
I read this a month or so ago so good enough time to get the discussion going.

I really enjoyed the book, and a very different book to Marks previous stuff.
Really enjoyed Nona as a character and the magic / skills system based on traits linked to groups is really interesting


message 2: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
I loved this book so much! My review is up if anyone is interested.

I love reading about assassins and school type stories, so the two together was a pretty awesome combination.


message 3: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
I do like the school / training type of fantasy and this is up there with the better ones


message 4: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
This is my first Mark Lawrence book. I'm about half-way through. First, I'm amazed that they didn't Americanize all the spelling for that audience. How will we ever understand it?

I am a little confused: Everyone is supposed to be descended from these four tribes, yet the traits are uncommon ... ?

Is this supposed to be earth in the far future?


message 5: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
The convent system and nursery rhymes seem too earth-like to be a totally different world, so that's mainly why I'm wondering. I'm sure we'll learn more eventually.


Matthew (fogjuice) | 191 comments I am having such a hard time with this book. I'm only a few pages in and it's just not catching me. I've read other amazing books that had slow beginnings, so I'm hoping that's going to be the case here.

Audrey, shouldn't that be "Americanise"? :)


message 7: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
Interesting question on wether the world is a future earth, Marks other books are all set in a future Europe with massive sea level rise and its possible this is the same concept with a drop in temperature.


message 8: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Interesting question on wether the world is a future earth, Marks other books are all set in a future Europe with massive sea level rise and its possible this is the same concept with a drop in tem..."

Maybe we're actually reading something set in the same universe?

*looks around for Mark*


message 9: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wayland Smith | 2866 comments Mod
I'm betting not the same Earth, since there's the whole bit about the Missing came there in ships and ship hearts and all that. I liked the writing overall, and most of the characters.

We're on a roll with killer girls of late, with this, Girl With all the Gifts, and Nevernight.

What I didn't like was the apparent sci fi elements (I prefer my sci fi and fantasy separate) of things like the ship hearts, and the apparent space ships, and the focus moon sure sounds like a satellite of some kind. It's also weird there are no decent male characters.

I liked Nona and Ara. I saw what was coming with Clera early. I'm getting a little over the "super special school for magic/mutants/assassins" idea. Hessa deserved better


message 10: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
Matthew wrote: "Audrey, shouldn't that be "Americanise"? :) "
Ha! Not sure.

Maybe it's not earth but the people have an earth heritage. I'm liking it better than most girl-trained-as-assassin stories. That idea does seem to be everywhere.


message 11: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
Always possible . His other books gradually built the surrounding casts backgrounds


message 12: by Meera (last edited Jun 10, 2017 06:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meera | 58 comments This is my fifth Mark Lawrence book and I really liked it (gave it a 4) with some reservations. I saw Clera's duplicity a mile away and figured out that Hessa was going to somehow die. So Lawrence was disappointingly predictable. I was getting annoyed with Nona for not clearly seeing what kind of person Clera was despite numerous warnings too. Didn't like the epilogue either. I liked everything else about this book though.

I was also trying to figure out if this is the same world as his other series. Either it is or it was started by genetically modified humans who traveled to this world. That is my guess. What is confusing is that there are red sisters in his other series but either I completely forgot names of people/countries or this is another world. I hope he comes out with the next one soon.


Meera | 58 comments It is a great problem to have Vic! I am going back to Lawrence. His Prince of Fools didn't grab me the same way that his Broken Empire trilogy did so I hadn't continued. But now I am going to go back and give it another go. This book reminded me how much I like his writing.


~Dani~ I have only read the first two Jorg books and had problems with it. I loved the crap out of this book though.


message 15: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Dani wrote: "I have only read the first two Jorg books and had problems with it. I loved the crap out of this book though."

So glad to hear! I'm so happy this one is proving to work for so many of us :D


message 16: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
I think for Marks work its the move away from the cult status of his first series to something that can be much more widely appreciated .
Jorg was a harder to accept main character for many, hes a nasty bastard , Nona is a lot more likeable.


message 17: by Margo (new) - added it

Margo Just started listening to this today.


message 18: by Sean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sean (redbeard007) | 95 comments I'll be starting this in the next day or two. Gonna finish Illuminae first.


message 19: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
Just finished -- excellent writing; creative; nice big climax.

I think Nona felt the bond of "friend" was so binding that even betrayal could not sever it once it was declared. I got suspicious of Clera when she kept showing up with more money and the comment about how she's mean to everyone.

I also felt that Hessa deserved better treatment by the author, and that Zole's story (and Markus's and a few others) is incomplete. I expect more of that in the sequels.

How did none of the adults suspect Yisht? She was such an obvious villain. I was a little confused on Nona's not-poisoning. Was it caused by what's-his-name's demons?

I'm still debating on how to rate it; somewhere between 3 and 4 stars.


Carolyn  (ckarasch) I'm skipping the comments. I'm at page 146, so far, I'm enjoying the assassin school for girls.


message 21: by Margo (new) - added it

Margo I started this yeasterday and really enjoying it so far. I am on audio - can anyone tell me the name of the character on crutches? Sounds like Hessa. May be usful for a challenge.


message 22: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
It is Hessa.


message 23: by Margo (new) - added it

Margo Thank you Paul


Carolyn  (ckarasch) All done with this one. A bit slow for my pace. Nona was so viscous and naive at the same time. I liked all the action elements. However, I could do without Sister Wheel's nastiness and all the blade path attempts.

I saw the betrayal, for sure by the time Grey Class starts.

Hessa really deserved better. Also, did Apple save Kettle?


message 25: by Margo (new) - added it

Margo I was starting to get a bit bored around the 30% mark but the trial scene followed by Nona having to prove her capabilities as a shield really got my attention. Great writing :-)


Carolyn  (ckarasch) I believe Sherzal mentioned something about gathering or collecting children when she came to the convent and that's how she found Zole. I would assume that Zole is thread-bound to Sherzal or someone in her court.


message 27: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
I really liked how those corrupt guys got humbled in the trial. I don't think it says anywhere whether Kettle survived.


message 28: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 2000 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "I believe Sherzal mentioned something about gathering or collecting children when she came to the convent and that's how she found Zole. I would assume that Zole is thread-bound to Sherzal or someo..."

There was also the comment in her story where Armando was explaining everything and it said that the guy who was clever with his hands and good with threads said that all threads point to Nona. So, it may have been an underling to Sherzal, who had plenty of power in his own right, that took some initiative to hunt down Nona.


message 29: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 2000 comments Mod
I just finished this book up last night and I really enjoyed it, I couldn't help but draw a parallel to Harry Potter with a group of children who try to go to the headmaster/abbess to find out that person is gone and that they have to save a stone/shipheart from an evil person. All the while the other teachers are completely unaware of anything bad going on. I also thought that part was a bit abrupt, we have most of a school/training book going on and all of a sudden we have a quest to save the shipheart and there really wasn't a ton of foreshadowing or hinting about and then after the wine barrel it just isn't mentioned again until the climax of the book. It seemed almost like two different stories in one book, that's the only thing that prevented me from giving the story five stars.


message 30: by Elle (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elle (elleay) | 49 comments Glad I'm not the only one who sensed the Harry Potter students-save-the-day-because-headmaster-disappears-and-the-instructors-are-clueless parallel. Still gave this book five stars though because I really enjoyed it. There is so much potential for the next installments in this series.


message 31: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wayland Smith | 2866 comments Mod
Definitely saw the Harry Potter aspects. I thought they were fairly blatant. But it was a decent read none the less.


message 32: by Margo (new) - added it

Margo Nearly 70% into this one and I have to put it aside for a while at least and move on to better things. Way too many fight scenes to hold my interest.
Okay, you may well ask what did I expect in a story about assassins? I was hoping for a bit more plot! I enjoyed the class room scenes which were - yes I'm going to say it - reminiscent of Harry Potter but with a lot more venom. It was the incessant beating, kicking, poisoning, blood etc etc
There were some interesting hints of things to come that I would like to have seen developed more. In a nutshell - too much action and too little plot.

I have to take into account that I have just finished Words of Radiance and it is entirely possible that the brilliance of Sanderson has forever ruined me for other fantasy writers and that I'll have to concentrate on different genres :,-(


message 33: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul (subpaul) | 40 comments Let me be the (um) 7th to say that this book is very Harry Potter. But, the formula works, and I liked it. It just really drug on in some parts (like describing how energized Nona feels on the path - I'm listening to it on audio and it felt like 15 min of the same thing said in different ways). Also, if these girls are training to be warrior-killers, why are they shoving Yisht (sp?) into a barrel so she can come back and kill them later. What a terrible idea! Still, it was fun. The fact that is I got to know the characters and the convent and I was really enjoying watching things play out at the end. The fact that a few of the plot "twists" were heavily telegraphed did not bother me.


message 34: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
I still can't believe the adults in charge didn't get rid of Yisht themselves.


message 35: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul (subpaul) | 40 comments Huh? Adults save the day instead of kids? What would that be like?


message 36: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
Is it too much for them to help at least a little?


message 37: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul (subpaul) | 40 comments LOL. Well... the adults ARE trained warriors and responsible for the safety of the kids, so maybe they ought to do their job - good point. I have just read so many books where the kids save the day while the adults stand around clueless, it's hard for me to remember what it is like when the adults pitch in. I guess I need to go reread WOT.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I finished this last night and while I liked it overall I didn't love it. I'm hovering between three and four stars (really wish GR allowed for half stars). The concept is fine and Nona makes for a good heroine most of the time. The writing style was also very good. The problem for me is that pretty much everything was predictable. Every time it was mentioned that something was super rare or impossible I knew that Nona would be that one in million person who would be able to do it. I suspected Clera early on from the moment one of the Sisters told Nona to get better friends and I knew it was Clera who came up and injured Ara/Sister Thorn the minute it was revealed that Ara was Thorn. In fact, that was the only surprise in the book...that Nona wasn't Sister Thorn.

I also wonder what the point is in having your main character be nine years old for any portion of the story if you're just going to have him/her act and speak like an adult.

I'm also not a fan of the whole special-kids-in-school-setting plot. I felt like nothing really happened until the last 70 pages or so. I'm willing to give the second book a shot on the strength of the writing and the hope that the characters will be older and the school will be less of a focus.

I'm also kind of over the whole trend of having main characters who practically emerge from the womb being great at everything. And who, when they are faced with learning a new skill, are the best there is at in a matter of a few days or weeks...better even than those who have been honing that skill for years. I'm much more on the side of a hero/heroine who isn't the best at everything and who actually has to work long and hard just to keep up. If anyone has recs for books with THAT type of hero/heroine I'm open to receiving them. Nona managed to kill six adult, armed men when she was nine years old!! There is no real challenge for her.

I'd also like to know if Kettle died for sure. Ara too -because I'd like to see Thorn and Cage go into battle side by side. And what about Yisht? Did she get away? In addition, I was curious about Regol and Markus. It seemed like they wanted to help Nona in whatever way they could but they were just glossed over.

And after all that, Nona/Cage doesn't put a knife through Clera's traitorous heart???? Sweet Hessa dies but Clera is still breathing? Bah humbug!


Narilka | 390 comments I really enjoyed this book! I'll echo the sentiments above that this had a Harry Potter feel. I wonder if any book that features a bunch of kids at a semi-magic school will feel that way now....

Back on topic. Yeah the Clera thing I think got obvious when she was waxing philosophical about everyone having a price and money being the only thing that matters. Nona is convinced she can make her friend see that friendship is more valuable than any price but she's going to have an uphill battle. I'm greatly looking forward to book two :)

I really hadn't given much thought to the world specifically. I had put it down to being one of those set in a sort of Earth like world, but not Earth itself. I like Wayland's idea above that the original settlers may have traveled on space ships. That would explain the ship heart nicely. Also, who says that this planet or land was uninhabited prior to the travelers arriving? Maybe that's why not everyone shows blood traits?


Russell | 8 comments @Marg - agreed with point about Sanderson. In terms of world building he is the best I've have seen since Tolkien. Make sure you read Elantris. Perhaps underrated but most impressive works.


message 41: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1803 comments I liked this book, I didn't love it.

I found huge portions of the book predictable which brought down the enjoyment factor for me. Also it probably hasn't helped that I seem to have read a few assassin/school type books lately and I feel this one just felt a little flat in comparison.

I would like to know if Ara/Kettle survive but I'm in no rush to read more.

How does Prince of Thorns compare? This has made me revise my interest in that now.....


Shawnie | 1742 comments Just finished, and I am so stuck on Hessa! WTH?

I have so many unanswered questions. The Epilogue only cast more shadows.


message 43: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
Shawnie wrote: "Just finished, and I am so stuck on Hessa! WTH?

I have so many unanswered questions. The Epilogue only cast more shadows."


It's so you'll read the next one. (That was not cool with Hessa.)


message 44: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 2000 comments Mod
Lel wrote: "I liked this book, I didn't love it.

I found huge portions of the book predictable which brought down the enjoyment factor for me. Also it probably hasn't helped that I seem to have read a few ass..."


The two books are drastically different, while both are quite violent Jorg and Nona are nothing alike. There is no assassins in that book either. I wouldn't change your interest in Prince of Thorns based on this book.


Sandy | 1644 comments Just into Grey class and enjoying the book - very well done. However, all I can think about is how close it is to Harry Potter, with poison class and magic path class and four tribes.

I too was envisioning an earth after a major nuclear war and frozen world and the ark being the original earth people sent inside to be saved from the frozen time until such time as the moon thing falls out of the sky - then it is time to emerge from the ark.


message 46: by Cupcakes & Machetes, Hybrid Creature (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cupcakes & Machetes (hybridcreature) | 865 comments Mod
Finished it last night and I hate say that I found it okay. (I hate to say it because I love the Broken Empire trilogy.) Did anyone else have a hard time believing the older nuns to be very deadly or have a hard time keeping their names and subjects straight?


message 47: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2819 comments Mod
I always get lost with names, and the nuns having two names definitely didn't help.


message 48: by Cory (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cory (corydora) | 31 comments Ive finally finished it, and really enjoyed it. The audiobook narrator was very breathy to start with, so it took a while to get into, and in the car I had to have it turned up to earsplitting levels just to understand some words.

I definitely read the world as a colony world -- the people came in the ships and set up the focus moon. I liked the blending of fantasy/sf/school story, but the murder nuns was what really sold me on it. I did think some elements were predictable, but I enjoyed seeing how they played out. I wouldn't have read this one if the group hadn't suggested it, and I'm so glad I did.


message 49: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark (iamjacksprofile) | 62 comments Looks like Grey Sister could be March's pick. I'm excited to discuss the series more. As the plot progresses the story becomes less cliche/predictable.

I love all these books and found them very approachable, unlike Lawrence's darker previous series. Like Sanderson, Lawrence seems to meticulously outline his stories before he begins, resulting in amazing conclusions that wrap up all the arcs brilliantly.


message 50: by Freya, Dragon Rider (new) - rated it 4 stars

Freya (flamecat) | 1811 comments Mod
So I'm definitely not a fan of the Prince of Thorns etc. series (sorry Mark!), but I thought I'd have another go with Red Sister and definitely preferred it.

Similar to what others have already said, I love the elements of colonisation and sci-fi and the fact that this is not completely forgotten by people, yet feels like fantasy for the rest. Also loved the murder nuns and different skills etc.

It took me a while to read because I found it tense at times. While reading it I'd blast through chunks of the book, but once I'd put it down, I found it hard to pick back up again. But that's just me - I can end up doing that with a lot of books!


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