Nona aka Sister Cage

Review: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)

On closing this screening from Netgalley (thank you), I say… Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Mark, you devilish bastard!

On the heels of Red Sister, we are committed to knowing how Nona and her cohorts will be raised, trained, and where they will end up in a world that is closing in. Ice walls, literally. With only the aimed faux moon melting a corridor during a night’s sleep. Put there, controlled, and controllable only by histories long gone into myth.

This book will not disappoint. First, thank you, Mark, for the lead-in setting up what we know and might not. I can’t tell you how often I forget where I was, and a short recap is always helpful. I could have used a pronunciation guide here and there, but I like made-up names anyhow.

We join Nona in all her vainglorious self. Her Sister name is Cage, and she is truly a wildfire in a bottle. She and her compatriots create a cast of human female figures of all types, which makes for well-rounded entourage and storytelling. My only gripe, as it is wont to be, is girls at 15… ? This too shall pass, and their developing selves, feisty encounters, the idiocy of the moments, and predictability of a juvenile all must be meted out in time. Plot lines all served well.

The book feels well-timed and paced. The silence within the margins only occurs as a storm builds or after one has passed, and it’s a needed breath before the next onslaught of perspective or ass-kicking. To that end, I could hardly put this down and caught myself up far later than I intended just to find one of those moments when I could rest, literally.

The overarching tale of a friend killed, a shipheart stolen, and the politics of empires are all in play here. I’m not sure if I found the trope of ‘new girl in new grade meets new girl pompous nemesis’ (Joeli) was the right move, but it was there, and like an archetype of the style, it’s going to be an ax to grind upon. Really, most of the book utilizes that as a method for achieving plot results.

Regardless of how we get there, we move forward. Nona is put through a deep crucible of fire, and while at the end of this book we know she is tempered, we know Zole is also forged (I sure hope we get a novella about her adventure, Mark!!) the stage is rounding out its finished look for a contest alluded to at the beginning. While a larger stage is still unknown and lingering in the shadows.

Lots to tell, and we will sit here starving for the next volume. Good luck to you. Chew your brick of hardtack well; it’ll need to last you!