I received a review copy of Bound in exchange for an honest review. I'd like to thank Mark Lawrence for the opportunity.
Bound is set in between the events of Grey Sister and upcoming novel Holy Sister and clocks in at sixteen thousand words. It's an excellent bite-sized addition to the already brilliant Book of the Ancestor world that can be devoured in approximately an hour. As it's a short tale I will just compose a quick mini review.
In some downtime between lessons, Nona, Ara, and a few others sneak into the winery to steal a barrel of the nunnery's brandy so that the girls can have a dormitory party. Whilst sampling the wine the winery is entered by Sister Kettle and Sister Apple and the girls overhear about poisonings that are occurring in Verity to very wealthy characters who should be untouchable. Even the sisters or the Noi-Guin would have difficulty performing these assassinations to individuals of this social standing. What comes next is a mini-adventure where Ara, accompanied by everyone's favourite ring-fighter Regol, with the help of Sister Kettle must go to a high society event to hopefully sniff out the poisoner. We learn a fair bit more about Ara and Regol here and Mark presents us with an exciting and completely fulfilling culmination.
This is still presented in Nona's first-person perspective and anyone who has enjoyed the previous stories will feel instantly right back at home and completely comfortable in the world of the Ancestor again. I've read numerous amounts of Mark's short stories and he has a deft knack at creating exceptionally exciting tales within a small number of pages. I completely recommend reading this before tackling Holy Sister when that is released in April as it includes two standout moments. One standout moment includes Nona's first kiss and another features a certain bond between two characters which I believe will be truly important for the remainder of the series.
The only reason this hasn't got a higher rating is because I don't tend to reward short stories that highly. That being said, this is essential reading for fans of Book of the Ancestor and Mark Lawrence in general. April and Holy Sister cannot come soon enough.
Review by James Tivendale
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