At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
There is so much in Red Sister that it’s terribly challenging to write this review. How can I sum up a 500 page novel that delivers fantastic lore and stories, a wonderful writing technique, and a main character that you would fight behind? I loved Nona from the beginning. She’s powerful, but not stupid, reckless, but not arrogant. Red Sister treats you to a tale of learning as Nona not only comes into her own as a fighter, but as she starts to realize all the moving pieces beside her.
There are classes, alliances, and rivalries. This brought me back to Tamora Pierce and Jacqueline Carey and even more. Nona has so much learning to do. She has to learn who she really is, who she can(not) trust, and what her role is in this world. Sound familiar? There is such a rich history and world building throughout the book. Stories within stories. It’s a true adventure to read and it makes you feel like you’re living with Nona.
Not to mention there are chapters which are from the future and the details are only clicking into place. Each iteration you find out more and more that give you the clues. The intrigue piles up like marbles delicately balanced and we don’t know when the next one will tip the balance. There’s a subtle tension between the chapters from the future and the present. While it unfolds slowly, it coils deep in your gut, like a shadowy presence in your bedroom. Check out Red Sister on Goodreads.