Ahoy there me mateys! I continue me streak of awesome readin’. While I was not granted an eArc, the library granted me a copy right at the perfect mood moment (Arrrr!). However I get me treasure is okay by me.
Previously I had read some of the broken empire trilogy and wanted to read more of Mr. Lawrence’s work. Then I found out he had written a book about an assassin nun. Sign me up!
When we first meet our main character, Nona, she is eight years old and about to hang for a murder, which she committed. Abbess Glass, a nun from the Sisters of Sweet Mercy, intervenes and offers her a chance to survive if she trains at the convent. What did Glass see in this girl to save her?
Nona is a fantastic character and no ordinary eight year old. At times she seems almost a wise little adult and then something will happen that makes her seem very young indeed. I loved her for her intelligence, her loyalty, her viewpoint of the world, and above all her ideas of friendship. She certainly drives the novel but most of the secondary characters were wonderful as well. Particular favorites included Hessa, Abbess Glass, Sister Apple and Arabella.
The book is fascinating. As the author says on Goodreads, “almost all of the book happens within a 400 yard circle” at the convent where Nona is in school. However there are a series of flashbacks where ye are granted glimpses of Nona’s background and how she ended up being condemned to the noose. This book has prophecy, politics, magic, an awesome non-traditional school system, etc. Yet the book scrambles the ideas around and I couldn’t help being foiled again and again in my figgerins about where the plot was going. All I do know fer sure if that I want the next book!
Need more proof? Check out these opinions from me crew:
this review by james @ youandibooks
this review by mogsy @ thebibliosanctum or
this review by drew @ thetattooedbookgeek
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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 ten 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.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
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