Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor)
by Mark Lawrence
Cover Artist: Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781101988855
Date: 04 April 2017 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
A gifted child is born to play an important role on a dying world. The descendants of the races which populated this world have special abilities. Some are large and powerful, others have speed or the ability to tap into a magical force. There are remnant technologies which help a few locations and people tap into their abilities.
Nona Grey is unnaturally fast. This speed is what will make her a formidable sister. She was sold to a slaver and destined to be a fighter. Her loyalty to a friend starts her on a new path alone. She is saved from death, but must now walk a difficult path at a very special convent. Nona may be destined to become one of an elite few who has the ability to protect and destroy, but the path she must walk is not easy as she has made powerful enemies that want her dead.
During her studies, she is partnered with several other girls all on the same path. They each have talents which are being developed. Bonds are formed which will become important in the future as a time of prophecy is eminent. Each year the trainees go on a mission which is never easy, but many things are changing.
The story includes brief interludes which tell of a future confrontation. These interludes indicate the true ability of a full sister, but leave much to the imagination with no immediate resolution.
This is the first book in a new series. It is not related to the Broken Empire and Red Queen series. It is set on a different world, not a broken Earth. The planet is nearing the end of its existence, as the sun is weakening allowing the ice to close over more of the planet. Fans of Lawrence's other novels will not be disappointed. I also believe that fans of Brian Staveley and Peter V. Brett will enjoy this complex new series.
Author Lawrence does a very good job of teasing out the details of the planet and story. He builds a world rich in detail even if poor in resources. As Nona advances through the ranks during her training I look forward to learning more about the world and how it works.
The magic system involves tapping into another plane and walking a path. This path is dangerous and hard to stay on. But much of the mechanics are still unknown. I look forward to greater detail.
The dying sun is another area of interest for me. Although there is no mention of ways to change the course of decline, I wonder if that may be part of the future adventures. When there is magic, it seems there may be a way to regenerate the source. Then again, there may be a way to travel to a new world, one not being lost to the ice.