It is a rare thrill to find an author who can keep your brain challenged, your feels fulfilled and your pulse pounding book after book after book. You know, the ones that make you hold your breath. Or ignore your family. Or get completely lost in another world because the book is so damn good. I am happy to report that I am able to pick up each and every one of Mark Lawrence’s books with the same expectation each time: This one will also be epic. The man and his characters and his stories have never let me down.
Written entirely from Nona’s POV this time, the story is broken into two different timelines, three years ago and present day. But first, the prologue takes a few pages to remind us just how freaking kickass Nona is by having her kick some ass in a fighting ring. Lawrence always has the most memorable beginnings.
Holy Sister picks up exactly where Grey Sister ended with the Abbess, Sisters and novices of Sweet Mercy making their escape from the palace. Always keeping her cards close to her habit as she plays the long game, Abbess Glass sends Nona and Zole to the ice with the shipheart.
The story then jumps to present day with Nona preparing to take her final tests to become a Sister. I can’t say much about the present day narrative as it reflects what happened the last three years and some events are incredible twists. Fabulous twists. There are others that just plain broke my heart.
The book weaves it way back and forth, past to present, until the day it connects. Then, there is the most epic battle. It’s bloody. Pulse pounding. Heartbreaking. The Path Walk from some of these women is stunning. And deadly. The writing is captivating. It’s page after page of Nona fighting what can only be described as a multi-layered, perhaps even multidimensional, battle as she walks the Path the Abbess knew she could. It was exciting and thrilling and ultimately exhausting. This is where we are once again reminded:
“It’s important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.”
This is a genius piece of work. It is complex but engaging with well-written characters that you care about, or hate, or hate to care about. It has a wicked sense of humor (hey, it made me laugh during a battle scene). And all the threads, all the pieces, all the clues—everything was in its place by the last page.
This book perfectly completes the story of Nona, the dirty little cage girl, who grow to become a fighter, a loyal friend, a tactician, and a Sister. Can NOT wait for Lawrence's next trilogy!