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Holy Sister

by Mark Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Book of the Ancestor (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
207893,163 (4.28)9
The searing conclusion of the thrilling epic fantasy trilogy that saw a young girl trained by an arcane order of nuns grow into the fiercest of warriors... They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.  The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor's armies are in retreat.  Nona Grey faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that she and her friends will have time to earn a nun's habit before war is on their doorstep.  Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war. The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it's a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.  A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.… (more)

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English (7)  German (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Fantastic read! Could not put this or any of the others down. ( )
  libgirl69 | Jan 26, 2020 |
Every time Mark Lawrence writes a new series I think he can't top his last one and every time he proves me wrong. The same is true with Holy Sister, the concluding volume in the Book of the Ancestor series. Holy Sister picks up the events at the conclusion of the previous book, Grey Sister. It also has a parallel narrative set three years after those events. Dual narratives are always tricky because often one is less interesting than the other, only making you anxious to get back to the narrative you left. Lawrence’s work doesn’t suffer that problem because both narratives are equally compelling. At the end of Grey Sister, Nona and her friends had just escaped the palace of the emperor's sister, Sherzal, carrying one of the Arcs. Now, Nona and Zole have set off across the ice to lead Sherzal’s soldiers away from the rest of the nuns. As they set out across the ice, Nona learns more about the tribe that Zole came from and confronts dangers and uncovers secrets that had only been hinted at previously.

In the present, set three years after the escape, Nona finds herself back at Sweet Mercy Convent trying to complete her classes. She is again at odds with a class rival, there's still a price on her head and she still has to uncover the secrets that can save their doomed world with ice encroaching from both sides and opposing armies moving in on both ends of the empire.

The stakes have never been higher than they are in Grey Sister. The artificial moon which melts the ice and keeps open a narrow corridor that is the only habitable portion of the planet is no longer able to keep pace with the encroaching ice. The secrets of the ancestors are largely lost to the planets modern-day inhabitants. If some of these ancient secrets are not uncovered and put into action the world may literally end.

Not only is Nona Grey one of the most compelling characters that Mark Lawrence has ever created, but the supporting cast is equally compelling. Abbess Glass manages to dominate the story even when she is not present on the page. The plots that she has set in motion and the way she manipulates events truly set her above all the other characters. Nona is fiercely loyal to her friends and fiercely loyal to the Abbess who literally rescued her from death. Though still young, Nona recognizes the decisions she has to make will influence the course of world events and perhaps even the fate of her world. The action is outstanding with events that present true danger to the characters and real moral choices. The politics of this world are intriguing and realistic.

This is a fantastic conclusion to an outstanding series and Mark Lawrence has topped himself once again. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Mark Lawrence's ability to make you feel all the emotions that these characters are experiencing elevates these books above ordinary fantasy novels.

Heather O’Neill, who narrated this book and this series, does an amazing job, worthy of award consideration. The passion and emotional arc of the characters come through with every word. Each character is distinct and her tone perfectly matches the pace and mood of the story. Her wonderful job is the main reason that audio is my preferred way and my recommendation for how to encounter this book. This is certain to be at or near the top of my best books of the year. Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this audiobook by the publisher. ( )
  tottman | Dec 12, 2019 |
The ice is closing in on all sides. The focus can no longer hold it back and the nations are at war as the land continues to shrink. The convent has been called to fight for their emperor. Nona and her sisters must use all their training to survive, but they are outnumbered and betrayed. The shiphearts may be their only hope. Tasked with the protection of a shipheart, Nona must face her demons and fight to save whoever she can. Pulled in different directions, she must choose who lives and who dies.

Nona has built a name for herself throughout the series. We have watched her grow from a hated peasant child into a respected and feared warrior. She's learned what it means to be betrayed by those close to you, but still believes there is good in people. While she can kill when necessary, she hates every minute of it. In this novel, she will have to the worst parts of herself as the shipheart drags them to the surface.

A lot of long time questions will be answered in Holy Sister. Readers will finally learn more about Zole and how she came to be The Chosen One. We'll also learn what exactly creates the black ice and how the focus can either destroy the world or heal it. But the path to these answers is dark, gritty and filled with emotion. Characters you've come to know and love will be lost. The Ancestor Trilogy has reached a satisfying end. I only wish there were more. I'm not ready to leave this world behind. ( )
  Letora | Nov 24, 2019 |
The ice is closing in on all sides. The focus can no longer hold it back and the nations are at war as the land continues to shrink. The convent has been called to fight for their emperor. Nona and her sisters must use all their training to survive, but they are outnumbered and betrayed. The shiphearts may be their only hope. Tasked with the protection of a shipheart, Nona must face her demons and fight to save whoever she can. Pulled in different directions, she must choose who lives and who dies.

Nona has built a name for herself throughout the series. We have watched her grow from a hated peasant child into a respected and feared warrior. She's learned what it means to be betrayed by those close to you, but still believes there is good in people. While she can kill when necessary, she hates every minute of it. In this novel, she will have to the worst parts of herself as the shipheart drags them to the surface.

A lot of long time questions will be answered in Holy Sister. Readers will finally learn more about Zole and how she came to be The Chosen One. We'll also learn what exactly creates the black ice and how the focus can either destroy the world or heal it. But the path to these answers is dark, gritty and filled with emotion. Characters you've come to know and love will be lost. The Ancestor Trilogy has reached a satisfying end. I only wish there were more. I'm not ready to leave this world behind. ( )
  Letora | Nov 3, 2019 |
Would have been superb apart from the very strange chronology jumping back and forth between the ending of the previous book and the current timeline '3 years later'. It's not consistent, sometimes having a few chapters in succession and then alternating for a bit. Eventually by about mid book we're all up to speed, and everything else resolves reasonably.

Fun intense and well finished resolving all the questions raised in the previous two books - quite a feat that I wasn't sure was going to be possible. I wasn't totally convinced by some of the explanations and motivations which seemed a bit duex et machina and imposed rather than natural progression, but they were at least plausible. ( )
  reading_fox | Jun 9, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Lawrenceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lagerman, JudithCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lecouffe-Deharme, BastienCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For my grandfather, "Bill" William George Cook, who lived most of his first decade under the reign of Queen Victoria and who with great patience helped me make my first treasure box
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The roar of a crowd invades you like a living thing, reverberating in your chest, taking its answer from your lips without permission.
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