It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Nona Grey, Lano Tacsis brought two armies and eight Noi-Guin, the deadliest assassins on the face of the earth. And of those eight Noi-Guin, one of them, the Singular himself, was rumored to be more deadly than the other seven together. Nona has two options. Fight, or run. But where can one run, when the whole world is on fire? The never-ending march of ice has forced Queen Adoma to bring her undefeated army on the doorstep of the Empire, and not even the Moon itself could be a sufficient defense against her.
Or could it?
"The Book of the Ancestor says that for everything there is a season. This was a time to reap. A time for death. A time to die."
I thought a lot about what I should say in this review. After all, you can only talk so many times about an author's prose, his talent in world-building and characterization, or how great a story-teller he is in general, and I've done that ten times in the past. This is my eleventh review for a Mark Lawrence novel, and I've run out of praise. I doubt anyone who hasn't read the first two books would read this review anyway, and those who have won't need me to tell them how great this series is, so I'll keep this one short and only talk about the story itself, without spoilers.
You can summarize Holy Sister, or The Book of the Ancestor in general, in one Game of Thrones quote. "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention". Those who have read The Broken Empire know to expect a bittersweet ending in every Mark Lawrence story, and those who haven't, well.... let's just say you aren't as tough as you think you are. You WILL curse. You WILL mourn. You WILL cry. But the most important thing is that you won't see any violence for the sake of violence. Mark Lawrence never kills, maims, or brings the story of a character to an end simply to make a statement or bring stronger emotions out of the reader. It's just that every story should end at the right time and place, and he knows them better than anyone.
Bittersweet ending aside, the whole book was a hell of a ride. The fast pace and the rising tempo that I've come to love in Mark's books kept me immersed in the story start to finish despite the back-and-forth chapters, through which Mark tells us two different stories at the same time - one in the past and one in the present, in the same way he did in The Broken Empire. And now that I mentioned The Broken Empire... Be aware of Easter eggs. I spotted two of them, but chances are there were more, hiding in plain sight for me to find on my second reading.
Finally, although Holy Sister brings the story of several characters to an end, it leaves others open for Mark to come back in the future, so expect to see more of Abeth... and, well, maybe, just maybe, more of Nona Grey.
You can pre-order Holy Sister HERE.