Grey Sister Audiobook
By: Mark Lawrence
Narrated by: Heather O’Neil
Published by Recorded Books 4/3/2018
Book of the Ancestor #2
15 hrs and 46 mins
Grey Sister Audiobook Sample
Grey Sister Audiobook
After being enthralled by the opening book, Red Sister, that introduced a complex magical fantasy world and a hard-bitten scrappy heroine who starts to come of age, the book ended on a very ominous note so I was chomping at the bit to continue on with the second installment in the story with the enchanting Heather O’Neill continuing the narration work.
Grey Sister picks up a few years after the first book, but it is very much closely attached to the previous book and can’t be read standalone. There is some reminders about the world, the background, and catching up with the characters, but also an assumption that the reader is already familiar with the situation.
And what is the situation, for those not in the know? It’s rather dire. The author sets his story on a distant planet where their sun is dying. Ice has almost encompassed the entire planet and continues encroaching on a narrow corridor of land and water where the moon’s reflected light concentrated through a mirror satellite that concentrates the remaining light keeping it just warm enough for about one more generation to survive. There are a few ethnic groups and four forms of magic-born people among them all. People are doing their best to survive and the rich and powerful are maneuvering to be in possession of magical stones that when brought together can be used the mirror to direct the moon’s beam of light and heat at specific places. People are looking for deliverance through religion that venerates their ancestors or any source they can get which also includes the ancient legends about the Ancestors and the Missing who came before them.
This book jumped right out and kept up a pounding pace whether its intrigue or action plotting. There are a few moments of self-reflection, but Nona, once an orphaned poor village girl now novice who is better at wielding her magic, is more a doer than a thinker and she has a lot of anger in her after the loss of her best friend, betrayal from one she thought a friend, the theft of the monasteries magic stone, and hate for those responsible. The first half of the book is centered around the convent, but then it shifts to Nona and some of the others out in the world in a hard-scrabble desperate adventure. The fight scenes were intense and probably not for the squeamish, especially some of the capture scenes.
Abbess Glass gets almost half the narration with Nona and plays a game of live chess with the movers and shakers seeking to control things for their own gain. She’s an older woman and I loved the way she has little magic of her own, but an ability to read possibilities and putting events in motion. The reader is not privy to her plottings so gets some good surprises and twists when things look darkest.
The whole book was one engaging and exciting story whether it was Nona and her friends working to track down the ‘ship heart’ magic stone to bring back to the abbey, get the best of the mean girls’ group, or evade the dangers waiting outside from her powerful enemies. Nona is a powerful magic wielder, but what I think really shines forth as magical is her ability to form deep loyal friendships and bring unlikely opposites together in her group at the abbey. People underestimate her or put her down all the time, but she finds a way.
Speaking of her group, I enjoyed seeing many of the others getting their moments particularly there in the end. I loved seeing the others and their individual skills and personalities doing their part. The group of underdogs against the might of a powerful royal, several aristocrats, and ambitious types in the church seem to hold all the cards, and it becomes dark and desperate.
I am so revved to see what comes next now that Nona and the others have flouted such powerful people and after what Zole, the Chosen One did there at the end.
All in all, this is a fabulous fantasy adventure series that stays strong and intense through book two, developing characters and plot further. It left me anxious for book three and what comes next. There is so much going on, but its plotted out with precision. Fantasy lovers who don’t mind things getting rough and gritty should definitely give these a try.
Grey Sister Audiobook Narration
The narration work was in capable hands with Heather O’Neill voicing all the players in this saga-style story that encompasses so many people, accents, situations, and emotions. She captured the intense excitement and gritty, bitter, and desperate moments without overacting. She is the voice of scrappy, intrepid Nona for me.
Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say ‘this isn’t rocket science … oh wait, it actually is’. Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY.
Heather O’Neill is a novelist, poet, short-story writer, screenwriter, and essayist. Lullabies for Little Criminals, her debut novel, was published in 2006 to international critical acclaim and was short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Born and raised in Montreal, O’Neill lives there today with her daughter.