Book review

Holy Sister

by Mark Lawrence

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Fab conclusion to the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, with more from Nona and her friends – more action, more chases, more revelations. I loved it. As ever, Mark Lawrence can turn a sentence that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck:

‘“Every child of the Ancestor wore red on that day when the Scithrowl arrayed their number before the Convent of Wise Contemplation. They ran short of habits for Red Sisters and instead painted the newest novices with the blood of captured heretics”.’

The channel of ice on the planet continues to close in, pushing people into more and more desperate actions:

Murder, murder, and more murder. What else could they expect when the ice kept closing? All of mankind reduced to wild animals in an ever-shrinking cage.

What matters now is who controls the ancient artifacts known as the ship hearts, and quite what the ship hearts can do when all four are brought together. Nona has managed to capture one, but others have been stolen, and the action culminates into a huge battle for possession, and for power.

Along side all this we find out more about “thread-work”, which Nona and the other Sisters are taught to navigate. I liked the hints of an underlying theory of physics as well as the mystical in here, something like Quantum Buddhism (which I sure is a thing out there, even though I just made that up).

when watching the thread-scape you learned how artificial ideas of individual objects, or even people were, since each was infinitely connected and interwoven with the world around them.

Ultimately, it’s about people, both friends and enemies:

She thought of the riddle of her life and the fact that even Abbess Glass’s best advice on the subject had been that people are complicated, especially from the inside.

Not quite the utter brilliance of the first in the trilogy, but still a cracking good read, nicely on the boundary of science fiction and fantasy, and a very sound 4 stars.

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