Red Sister had me intrigued. Grey Sister turned me into a fan. Ah, yes, I hear you say, "Janelle, have you been living under a rock?" To this, I plead the fifth.
This story picks up one year after the previous one ends. Nona is still at the Convent of Sweet Mercy, but this time, she is joined by Keot. He is a demon who lives on her skin, and inhabited her when she killed Raymel Tacsis. I must say, the addition of this little plot twist was genius. Keot, although a demon, is still an entertaining, likable fellow even though he wants Nona to kill all the people all the time. His bloodthirsty interjections inside her head are often humorous and add a light-hearted storyline in the midst of much darkness. I can't help but feel that poor Nona has been through so much and deserves a break. "NAY!" says Mark Lawrence while furiously typing on his keyboard. "MORE DARKNESS! MORE SORROW!"
One thing that also delighted me: Abbes Glass's POV. She's by far the most intriguing character in the book, what with her scheming, bad-assery, and general sense of untouchableness. This added a deep layer to her character, and revealed bits and pieces of her story that shed some light on why she is the way she is.
I've already touched on Lawrence's unique writing style. This book just seems to highlight it all the more. The engaging style, vivid imagery, rushed (but not too rushed) pace, and phenomenal action scenes makes this book a stand-out.
I'll end with one last thing. I'm always looking for themes in the books I read. I can enjoy a good story as long as it is well-written. But a story with thematic elements woven through the whole thing? YES PLEASE. Nobody, and I mean nobody, seems to understand this better than Lawrence. The way he touches on friendship, and the role it plays in our lives, is brilliant. There's a section in the book (I won't ruin it with spoilers) where one character goes to save another at great personal cost. When asked why? "She's my friend." It resonated with me. Don't we all have those people in our life that we would sacrifice everything for? Family? Friends? If you don't, maybe you should go find some friends like those Nona has.
"AYE!" shouts Mark Lawrence. "MORE EMOTIONAL TUGS ON THE HEARTSTRINGS!" And he furiously starts typing up the first draft of Holy Sister.