Red Sister Audiobook
By: Mark Lawrence
Narrated by: Heather O’Neill
Published by Recorded Books 4/4/2017
Book of the Ancestor #1
19 hrs and 21 mins
Red Sister Audiobook Sample
Red Sister Audiobook
It’s been some time since I picked up a fantasy story, but I’ve been meaning to get back into it and I’ve wanted to try something by this author for some time. Red Sister is the launch of the Book of the Ancestor trilogy with a new to me narrator so it was all-systems go.
Red Sister is a good reminder of what I love best about this genre. It set up a fantastic elaborate world- a world that is dangerous, dark, mysterious, old, and desperate since their sun is dying and the polar ice is squeezing the people into a narrow inhabitable corridor. On this unique world, magic has its place as do the four magical races amongst distinct ethnic races who grapple for control. Magic users are part of the Ancestor religion, the ruler’s training academies, but also in the fighter and entertainment groups. There is a class structure for magic and non-magic alike.
Onto this backdrop, the story of Nona unfolds. Nona is a great heroine though still a young girl when things begin. She’s tough, stubborn, and vulnerable coming from a small peasant village and forced into the huge world outside the village when she is sold. Everything is new and she has to be tougher than ever. An early incident with a noble’s evilly sadistic son sets a chain of events in motion just as that encounter leads her to become part of a training center convent for warrior sisters of the Ancestor religion.
Nona’s time at the convent learning skills and magic use was fascinating. She is part of a larger sisterhood and her lonely soul craves this even while she must learn to fight and protect herself and what is important. I loved the inter-play among the novice girls and young women, with the older Sisters, and those intense experiences with the people outside the convent. This was a great balance of daily character-driven and skill learning scenes and action-suspense scenes to keep the reader fully engaged all the way.
Red Sister ends abruptly setting things up for what is to come in the next installment in the trilogy. My only niggle with this whole fabulous story was the framing story- the prologue and a few brief bits in the middle that are like spoilers because they give away the huge surprise twist that comes near the end. If you can, skip that prologue and that extra bit in the middle so you get to experience the full force of the twist.
All in all, this was the opening gambit that enthralled and riveted me for several wonderful hours of storytelling finery. Mark Lawrence’s writing and worldbuilding, characters and plotting were stellar. If you love fantasy, don’t hesitate.
Red Sister Audiobook Narration
I experienced Red Sister in audio CD version. It was my first occasion to listen to Heather O’Neill narrate. She was superb. Her voice could have been made for an epic fantasy saga-style read with all the cast, their accents, and the sweeping range of scenes and emotions. I will always hear her voice for Nona in my mind even if I don’t get the rest of the trilogy in audio- though I plan to do that.
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.