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First of all I just want to state that I loved this book. If you enjoyed the first one this one will be no different. My only complaint is that it slightly suffers from “book 2 syndrome” being that plot points are left dangling for the future, cryptic messages are stated at the literal end, and the climax occurs to close to the end of the story instead of easing you out.
I know I went heavy on my explanations of the negatives but on a whole I really did love this book, I just hate how long I’ll have to wait to get the next one
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Mark Lawrence is one of my favorite authors currently writing in the fantasy genre and this novel is easily on a par with Emperor of Thorns and the Wheel of Osheim. It is a definite improvement over Red Sister, which was a very good book, but suffered somewhat with pacing issues. Those issues are ironed out completely in this second installment, and the book is extremely fast paced, and maintains that pace from start to finish.
The plot is very tightly written, and the addition of the Abbess as a secondary viewpoint to Nona really gives the novel a different and much improved storytelling ability. I love Nona as a character, but her single minded determination to get her revenge and help her friends when they need it, was occasionally limiting in the first book. The addition of the abbess's calm, rational calculation as a counterpoint to Nona's pure, unadulterated drive to succeed, succeeded excellently in making the story tick.
As always Lawrence's characters were strong, human, and believable, and after two books written mostly from the perspective of female characters, I can confidently say he can write both sexes with great ability. Also, I was impressed how much more he was able to develop the full cast of characters in this second book in the series, without substantially slowing down the plot.
The last thing that continues to jump out at me about this series is the world Lawrence has created. His first two trilogies were set in the broken empire, which while being an interesting world, wasn't that nuanced, and mostly simply resembled a medieval world which had suffered an apocalyptic event in the past. However, this world shown in the Book of the Ancestor shows without a doubt that Lawrence is not a one trick pony, which was a small concern I had when i learned he had a new setting for this trilogy. The one thing I do have a small complaint about is the magic system of this world, which while fascinating to an extent is kind of confusing and not especially well explained in detail throughout the books. I do understand it, but to a certain extent I do feel that Lawrence is leaving the system purposely open ended, so not to cripple himself for future writing ventures in this world.
Finally, I must briefly discuss the narration, which in my opinion was somewhere between alright and poor. I really thought that some of the voices tended to blend together, especially those of the male characters in the book.
As novels go I think this is the book I was looking forward most to this year, and I have to say that I am incredibly pleased with the results. I cannot wait for next year, so I can finish the series with Holy Sister. Please take the time to read this novel if you are looking for a fast paced, intelligent, and violent fantasy book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful