Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – An Audiobook Review

Red Sister

Publisher’s Summary: 

It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge.

A brilliant new series from the best-selling author of Prince of Thorns.

‘I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.’

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 10 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.


Author: Mark Lawrence

Narrator: Helen Duff

Running Time: 19 hrs 36 mins

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd

Audio Release Date: 06/04/2017

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating of ‘Red Sister’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Audible




I’ll start off by saying that I very nearly didn’t give this book a chance. I read Prince of Thorns and hated it. I don’t know why, I just did. So many people loved it and I thoroughly expected to. I just didn’t. Fortunately for me, I don’t refuse to read a brand new series because I did not enjoy the author’s previous work.

I absolutely loved Red Sister.

It isn’t a book that is non-stop action. It focuses more on building up the characters and the little slice of their world they find themselves in. Because of this, the reader/listener feels attached to every one of the girls at Sweet Mercy, and even the nuns that run the place.

I’d probably liken it (not for content, but simply for character/world-building) to the first book of the Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb. I just get that same feeling where everything after the first book is going to be made so much better for all the detail Mark Lawrence put into his characters in the first.

That’s not to say there isn’t action, as there is. It’s just placed at sparse intervals and, kind of feels better for it. In a way, it almost feels like a deadlier version of Harry Potter. Just instead of wizards and their pupils you have killer nuns and their deadly trainees.

One negative for me, to start with, was the narrator. Her voice just didn’t sit well with me. Nona sounded like a little boy who’s voice had just broke and suffered from that gravelly texture familiar to so many career smokers. And Clara’s voice was simply a very deep Scouse (Liverpool) accent. I say this was a negative to start with because I really began to take to the voices and decided, roughly halfway through, that if any other narrator is used in the future I may just not give the sequels a go. So I started not enjoying it and ended up loving her voices (the two I mentioned actually turned out being my favourite voices). It’s rare that the only negative I have turns into a positive.

All I can say is that I’m happy I gave this a go and that I look forward to where the future books take Nona and her fellow Red Sisters.

16 thoughts on “Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – An Audiobook Review

  1. This is the first book by Mark Lawrence I have read and enjoyed it so much! Was kind of scared away from Prince of Thorns. Too much discussion on Jorg’s good and bad on the internet. Want to try it someday. I like his writing style.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so strange, I loved The Broken Empire trilogy to bits!! and I am so afraid to give this new series a go… there’s something about knowing there’s nuns in it, maybe? And, eh, since you compared it to HP, I am even more reluctant to try this 😀 I think I’d rather reread Jorg’s books 😀 hahaha… Great review though… sounds like Lawrence has continued on the strong streak with his writing and characters!

    Liked by 1 person

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