I don’t know if words are sufficient to express how much I love this book. It’s just wonderful and I don’t know what to say. Before I get on to the actual review, I just want to say that I’m Catholic, going to a Catholic college and at first I was worried that I wouldn’t like this book because it might feel similar. It kind of does when it comes to describing nuns but it’s a fantasy book. They worship a fantasy god. I got over it quickly. Plus awesome, badass murder nuns.
To start, this book has one of the best prologues I’ve ever read. Short, succinct, and to the point. No infodumping, just beautifully written tension amongst lyrical prose. I loved it and the scenes throughout the book continuing it were some of the best parts, providing some of the best twists in the book.
This book stars Nona Grey, a little girl taken in by the Convent of Sweet Mercy as a novice. It chronicles her as she goes through Red Class and Grey Class. I enjoyed the depiction of her classes because it shows us that Nona isn’t invincible. She isn’t some sort of invulnerable heroine who always wins. Here, she’s depicted constantly training and honing her skills. I think that’s always essential in books featuring characters who fight because it makes more sense that way. In fact, for practically most of her fights, she loses. The moments where she wins were amazing and almost always tied back to her fierce loyalty to her friends.
I love how Nona is so loyal to her friends. She’s had so few of them that you can see how much she really treasures those closest to her. At first, I would ask why she was so secretive, why she would lie to her friends. By the end of the book, I got my answer and it was so satisfying to get there because it all starts making sense.
I mentioned that this book has twists. It has so many of them, some even turning standard fantasy tropes on their head. Many times I would try to predict something only to be wrong. It’s great. I almost never see things coming and it kept me on my toes because I was dying to find out what happens next. Most of that is due to how tense the scenes were and how great the fight scenes were written. They were great and kind of kept things realistic.
I don’t want to say any more and spoil things so I’ll just say I recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind something dark and violent and also involves children.
This review is also on The Bookworm Daydreamer