Holy Sister — Mark Lawrence

A brilliant ending to a really enjoyable trilogy.

It was a slow start in Red Sister, some might even say “tedious” in those early pages, but for those who stick with it you’ll be rewarded well for your reading efforts as the whole trilogy has been a good, slow crescendo all the way to the end, and it’s an end that doesn’t disappoint at all.

If you like really good fantasy with a little sci-fi thrown in then these books will not to disappoint.   It’s big, a lot of pages, but it’s well worth all the hours.

Best of all, when you get to the end of the Kindle version you’ll find out that it doesn’t end there.   For all us Abeth fans, Mark has just begun a new trilogy with The Girl and the Stars.   I am so looking forward to more from this ice world.

Ten out of ten.

Mark’s Page

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Bound — Mark Lawrence

A novella that fits in between Grey Sister and Holy Sister.

Essentially, it’s just an enjoyable little side escapade for our protagonists as we are all invited to a Sis’, young adults, soiree down in Verity after a series of unexplained poisonings.   And we even get the beginnings of some real romance creeping into our story line for Nona: ooh-er!

Yes folks, more of that great action packed shenanigans that we have come to expect from a Sis soiree: all good fun.

Mark’s Page

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Grey Sister — Mark Lawrence

We begin this book about 2 years after the end of Red Sister.

Except for Clera and Hessa, Nona and company are all back at Sweet Mercy moving up to grey class and enjoying new rivalries and enemies there.   Yes folks, it’s more of the catholic girls school dorm rivalry and pecking order stuff that Red Sister was full of.   However, the petty rivalries and pecking order stuff don’t take up much of our time as this book soon picks up speed as Nona has to run away from Sweet Mercy to escape the Inquisition who have turned up at Sweet Mercy with a nefarious agenda.

I was hoping that this book would be much better than Red Sister and i wasn’t disappointed.   It’s well good and immensely unputdownable.   I don’t really want to say any more because i think i’ll give away too much of the story.   Suffice it to say, if the slow pace of the bulk of Red Sister left you a little disappointed but you enjoyed the faster pace of the ending, then you’ll really enjoy this, so definitely give it a go.

Next up is Bound, which is a novella that one should read before moving onto Holy Sister.

Mark’s Page

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Red Sister — Mark Lawrence

The first book in a trilogy that leaves me reaching straight for the next book, Grey Sister.

Admittedly, it’s mostly about a bunch of young girls training to become warrior nuns, wielding weapons both corporeal and magical, so it might not get the hard core fantasists satisfied.   But the book ends really well and we can hopefully move on now to a more grown up story.

Set on an ice world with a dying sun that uses a large mirror satellite to focus the suns meagre rays onto a thin band of area around the equator where most of the people live.   The world was populated by a diaspora from space and the remains of the ships that brought the various peoples to the planet are enviously fought over by warring factions.   Somewhere amongst the remains lies the ability to take control of the satellite and therefore control of the whole planet.

My only real issue with it was that it was a bit long winded and one does get the feeling that a good editor would have trimmed this down quite substantially.   Still, it was worth enduring for the end bit which turned the speed dial up to 11 after being at 5 for the previous several hundred pages: the contrast was quite something.

Fingers crossed for the next book then.

Mark’s Page

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Great Gerta and the Mermaid — Mari Ness

For all fans of Peter Pan and Neverland.

A fun story about one of Hook’s pirates, Great Gerta.   It’s also nice that we finally get some mermaids taking a more prominent role in a Neverland story.

Definitely deserves a place in the “Peter Pan and Neverland” hall of fame.

Best of all, you can read this for free at Lightspeed magazine, or listen to the podcast like i did.

And why not sign up to Lightspeed Magazine Story Podcast while you’re here, or there, and make sure you never miss another great story?

Mari’s Page

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The Raven Tower — Ann Leckie

No idea how i came across this, but it sounded rather good so i added it to my wish list and when it got put on sale for only 99p, i didn’t need asking twice.

And for 99p i definitely got an incredible bargain.

I’ve no idea why this is listed in science fiction on Amazon, i’d definitely put it squarely in the grimdark fantasy section.   I suppose i may be getting my genres completely misconstrued, but i don’t think i am.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a good bit of grimdark fantasy then this should be right up your alley.   Who are the good and the bad in this and are they even aware that they are and why?   The baddies, although doing what they do for completely nefarious reasons, are actually doing the good thing; while the goodies, thinking they’re being all altruistic and everything, turn out to be on the baddies’ side.   And it’s all wound into a very well written story.

My only little winge is that Eolo’s gender thing is rather ambiguous and confusing and i think this could have been better defined.   At the end of the book i’m still not sure what gender Eolo actually is: cis, trans or otherwise.   Another character also mentions an aunt that had a gender thing going on, but again, no real information as to what.   I just completely failed to see what purpose having a main character — and another character who wasn’t part of the story whatsoever — with ambiguous genders served: other then being a poor attempt by the writer to include someone with these issues in order to get some woke cred.   Wouldn’t it be nice if we’re going to have characters with gender issues, dysphoria, trans, non-binary, etc., that they were made relevant to the story and explored further with a view to educating the ignorant masses on these issues while also helping and supporting those who have to deal with these issues in real life?   A great example of a writer that did such a thing would be Jason Segel, working with Eve Lindley, in the series Dispatches from Elsewhere: definitely a must watch before you read another book if you haven’t watched it already.

Other than my little winge this is a great book with great characters, well written and it really plays with the idea of gods and how gods get, keep and use their power over people.   We can see in our own world how a certain god has been allowed to overwhelm other gods and how this has ultimately turned the whole world into a shit hole of ecological disaster with a global plague while in a mass extinction event.   This is what happens when you worship a god whose clergy tells you that you don’t have to care about this world because said god has got something better for you when you die — just keep breeding like flies and fucking the planet up, Armageddon will soon be upon us and the pious shall have their rapture.

Ann’s Page

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