Review: Red Sister

Red Sister
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve admitted to hallucinating. I was going over books I wanted to read the other night and for some reason I thought this book was just a self-encapsulated story. Not a series. Cause I really hate starting a series at year one. I know, authors probably hate me as a reader but stories that leave me hanging cause me distress. (Tongue-in-cheek but you get me, right?) While reading this book, about 2/3 of the way through, I knew I had made a critical mistake. There was way to much I was learning and no way this could end so abruptly. Last night I saw the end coming fast and.. well.. yea.. I’m an idiot and the author is fantastic. Now begins the watchlist-waiting-game.

Now that you know I’m foolish (if you haven’t through all my reviews) how was this new tale from the fabled Mr. Lawrence?

It was a lot of fun.

In my family we look for more Woman-power inspired thoughts. My mother kicked some serious ass in her day, my wife kicks ass now and it’s always good to find well thought out fem-spiration (is that a word? Well it is now.)

Going into this book without a notion is quality minded. We know Mark has a knack for the human condition, for tough situations, artful world building and really great ideas of science/magic interpolation. He brings all of that to bear (some more whispers to come) here.

I pause and ponder what to reveal.. or how to reveal it..

The setting is a dying world with a dying sun. Encroaching ice and a band of viability that wraps around the globe. The story encompasses a certain mileage or region that I haven’t quite understood yet but I don’t think I need to. Within a construct of limitation, resources and life is going to be a lot harder overall. Adding to this mix we have a history of 4 tribes, each with different abilities that feel somewhat out of a DnD throw (giants/speed/mystic/holy.) That have been diluted throughout the centuries.

The main focus in this book is the foundation of a handful of girls from different walks of life running the gamut of temerity to timid, sharp to scandalous. Without going back and skimming for age groups we are mostly in the 10-12 year old range at the books apex with the end age somewhere in their middle teens(?). Which is really hard for me to envision some of the sharp thought that is going on within these groups. At the same time you have some plot devices which are constructed with such naivety (which drove my adult self a bit bonkers.) I had moments where I was yelling (in essence), “DON’T OPEN THE DOOR! HES BEHIND THE DOOR!! WHY DON’T YOU KNOW THIS!?!?”

Alas, characters had to get through the kiln, the backstory needed to have its culling, and the world moves on uncaring.

It did drive me to keep flip flopping, was this a YA book or and Adult one.. I think I settled somewhere on a YA+. It wasn’t as grim-dark as the past tales from Mark but it did had some very acute scenes which made it not fully a YA book.

Regardless, I enjoyed the book and I am really looking forward to the next ones. Throughout the book we see flashes of the future and the feeling it evokes is one where childish natures are cast off for some really swift-intelligent-brutal moments.

Bring it on. I’ll be waiting.

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