Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence – An Audio Book Review

Holy Sister


Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third installment of Book of the Ancestor.

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.


Author: Mark Lawrence

Narrator: Helen Duff

Publisher: Harper Collins

Series: Book of the Ancestor (Book 3)

Length: 13 hrs 54 mins

Audio Release Date: 25/04/2019

My Rating of ‘Holy Sister’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Audible UKAudible USAmazon UKAmazon US



Having just finished Holy Sister, all I can say is that I am a little upset that Mark Lawrence is one of those rare authors that doesn’t drag a series on for an uncountable number of books. Ordinarily, I hate those massive series, but I really enjoyed the Book of the Ancestor trilogy and would have loved it to continue. That’s not even a selfish ‘I don’t want this to end’ thing. It’s more a the world itself is in a pretty delicate, on the edge of a knife kind of balance, so I am curious to see what happens next etc …

The narration from Helen Duff is perhaps some of my favourite narration I have ever had from an audio book and I have a total listening time over the years of ‘3 months, 20 days, 8 hours and 33 minutes’ according to my audible stats. So that’s saying something. She has an incredible talent for voices and each character has their own unique voice. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for future fantasy titles with her narration. I’m only a little bit in love with her voices for Nona, Arabella and Clera. What can I say, I’m a sucker for an accent.

There is one slight negative (very slight) and that’s the fact that. Unlike book two, Holy Sister doesn’t have a little ‘what happened last time’ bit at the front. It’s not overly necessary due to Mark being a workhorse that gets a book out every year, but a little recap really helped me in the second book and I kind of took a short while to get re-focused on this one.

There were no negatives, as far as I could see, where the story was concerned. A good portion of the book is set in the present and a fair bit is relayed through flashbacks of when Nona and Zole were making their escape. The flashbacks worked really well and slid into the main narrative seamlessly.

In Holy Sister the events of Red Sister and Grey Sister come to a head and Mark Lawrence’s version of Endgame ensues. The battle scenes are excellent and the strength of the characters radiates out during these scenes, giving them that little bit of extra awesomeness. We are also treated to learning the extent of Abbess Glass’ long-game style thinking. Well, maybe. I can well imagine that genius of a woman still had all sorts planned for the future that we’ll never get to see.

Speaking of the characters, everyone from Nona to Arabella and even Clera, get continuous character development that just adds so much richness to the reading/listening experience. Holy Sister really felt like a fitting end to the Book of the Ancestor Trilogy. I have already added it to my ‘must listen again’ list.


If you’re like me and want more from the Book of the Ancestor series, but was entirely unaware of the short story (Bound) then its best to read it before Holy Sister. Sadly I only learned of its existence after finishing Holy Sister. Ah well, I doubt reading it out of order will lessen the enjoyment.

28 thoughts on “Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence – An Audio Book Review

  1. Excellent review! I started this series and put it down because of some content I wasn’t sure I liked but I think I need to try again (now that I’m mentally prepared).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nona having her hand burned purposefully over a fire? I didn’t actually read this part- I was warned about it. And mentally I just don’t think I was in a place to deal with it.

        It often depends on mood and tone of the book too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I vaguely remember that but it was a long time ago I listened to the first book. Understandable, though. There are things I have put books down for and refused to pick them up for, too.

        If ever you do give it a go I look forward to your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know it’s bizarre because generally I read dark stuff. But I had this bad reaction to a scene in Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and that made me kind of wary to anything containing violence and children.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m going to qualify the next statement by starting with: I adored Jemisin’s short story collection, How Long TIL Black Future Month? And have a lot of respect for her and what she’s gone through to get where she is.

        That being said, The Fifth Season is not bad, but there were multiple instances of children being harmed and it was just not a good book for me. I do think it’s technically brilliant, and would like to finish the series someday.

        And also lots of people love it and my opinion is just that, and you know what they say about those!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. As of this moment I am currently leaning towards not reading it. I just struggle to feel enthusiastic when I think of it :/

        I may use the reading time I’d have used on that for an indie author’s/publisher’s book and give bit of love to something not everyone raves about 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I felt the same way about it for a long time and then pushed myself to read it because I already owned it. And by then the whole trilogy had won some award or other.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, its a great place. I tried Prince of Thorns and really struggled to get on with it/enjoy it. Gave this a go and absolutely loved it. Helen Duff brought it to life with her narration, but I’m sure the written version is just as enjoyable.

      I class this as my Lawrence starting point.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hahaa, I like that you’re regretting Lawrence isn’t one of those to drag a series out. I really must start reading those books and the first in the series is on my radar to get! I have had Lawrence’s books in ecopies and library copies so I am now determined to my own physical books! I think I am going to enjoy this series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy it 😊 I look forward to reading your thoughts if you get around to it. I wasn’t a fan of Prince of Thorns, so was wary of trying The Book of the Ancestor trilogy. So glad I did.

      Yea, literally could have listened to three or four more of these 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. uh-oh… I LOVED the Broken Empire trilogy- Jorg is still like my favourite ever character in fantasy 😀 and writing in those books was just whooaa… I hope we’re not going to be like opposites now and I’m going to dislike Ancestros 😀 haha…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting! I was actually meaning to pick up Prince Of Thorns first since I already have a copy, but I might have to reconsider that now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nooooo, don’t let my thoughts throw you off. I read it ages ago and can’t remember much of it. I’m actually looking to try it again as I feel I’ve changed into a more mature reader since.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s going to be a tricky choice which one to pick up first then, because I checked and I have a copy of both Red Sister and Prince Of Thorns on my kindle. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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