They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.
The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.
Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.
Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.
The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.
A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.
I cannot even begin to explain how excited I was to start this book. The previous two had been amazing. You can read my review of Red Sister (the first in the series) here. The second in the series is Grey Sister and that review can be found here. There is a novella called Bound which I haven’t officially reviewed. It is to be read before Holy Sister and I can also highly recommend that.
My reviews never contain spoilers for the book I am reviewing but it will contain events from previous books. So if you haven’t read them (and why wouldn’t you have done?!) I recommend you stop here and get them read ASAP!
We last left Nona after the events with the Emperors Sister and Zole holding the shipheart. Nona had been through so much in the past two books it was hard to see how she could keep going. Keep going she does and in fantastic style.
The Corridor is continuing to close, The Scithrowl and Durns are closing in on the Empire and the fight is coming to Sweet Mercy. Mark has very helpfully added a ‘catch up’ section at the beginning of the book. I love this as it had been a while since I’d read Grey Sister and it drives me potty when half of what you read is just repetition. There is none of that here. You are straight into the action.
The Dual Time Line
The main events of this book take place three years after the ending of Grey Sister. However, it is told in a dual timeline. The book switches back and forth between now and three years previous. This works so well for the story and it is done seamlessly. You are never confused and it plays in to what is currently going on.
Oh how I love them! Though out all the books the character development has been outstanding. The relationships that have been formed, alliances made and continuing feuds all come together in an epic finale.
Abbess Glass, the mistress of the long game. She has pulled strings and set events in place since she rescued Nona from the Gallows. Not all of it has made sense but finally everything is coming together. You really find out here just how clever this woman really is. Pulling all the threads (see what I did there) so that at just the right moment they all fall into place.
Lets chat about Nona. I don’t think I have ever come across another character that grows so much yet retains what makes her special. Her character development has been so well written. She has grown into an amazing young woman. Admittedly one you wouldn’t want to cross in a dark alley. She still has her demons but has learnt to use them to her best advantage. She has come to realise she can rely on her friends, Nona is incredibly loyal to those who deserve it. We see an intelligence in Nona here that I don’t think we have witnessed before. It has been a pleasure to watch her grow through these books.
So many of the characters have had an impact on me, they will stay with me for a very long time.
If you haven’t already guessed I have truly loved this trilogy and this book rounded it off fantastically. The story draws you straight in. This book like the others is dark, gritty and fast paced. Everything has been building to this point. And it ends the way the whole thing started. I just loved that. Usually I find epilogues a little ‘happy ever after’, but here again, Mark struck just the right cord. It felt so right, especially after everything that had happened.
This is one of the best fantasy series I have ever read and one I will be revisiting. I can’t part with these sisters yet, I’m secretly hoping we haven’t left Sweet Mercy behind completely.
A massive thank you to Mark for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.