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This is a 16,000 word short story, primarily featuring Nona, Ara, Kettle, Regol. It should be read between Grey Sister and Holy Sister.

Again, I stress SHORT STORY.

49 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 19, 2018

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About the author

Mark Lawrence

72 books51.1k followers
[My new books The Girl And The Moon and Dispel Illusion are out now!]

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Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. Before becoming a fulltime writer in 2015 day job was 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'.

Mark used to have a list of hobbies back when he did science by day. Now his time is really just divided between writing and caring for his disabled daughter. There are occasional forays into computer games too.

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5 stars
1,650 (41%)
4 stars
1,579 (39%)
3 stars
637 (15%)
2 stars
109 (2%)
1 star
28 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 430 reviews
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.7k followers
January 15, 2019
I've been very vocal about my dislike of romance. In my opinion it's usually just not well done, or at least, done in a way I can't deal with.

I don't like how overdone insta love, love triangles or romance that happens five pages into the book are. I don't have time to want anyone to get with anyone. I don't have time to care.

With that said, in this novella we get a beginning of romance. No cringy sex scene or anything but just enough for me to start shipping some people. There's more to it, we get a bit of a murder-mystery related to the series but....

I'm shipping them hard now.

I'm curious to see how things will evolve in the last book of the series!
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.2k followers
December 20, 2018
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Red Sister ★★★★★
2.) Grey Sister ★★★★★

“But the fact is that few people are able to see value in the words of someone they truly dislike. Have your own opinions spoken back to you by someone you despise and you will likely begin to find fault.”

This short story is set six months after the heartbreaking and harrowing events of Grey Sister! This would be a very difficult short story to review if I couldn’t talk about the events that happened in Red Sister and Grey Sister, so please make sure you are up to date with this series before reading this review!

But wow, what an early holiday treat. This was a short story filled with action, suspense, and girls kissing! And, dare I say, perhaps the start of a polyamorous relationship? But this is an amazing little story about a mini murder mystery that involves the poisoning of some very wealthy and powerful people, and the poison is being implemented in a way that is impressing even master assassins. And Ara is just the person for the job to go undercover at a party full of nobles, considering her social status, but she will have the help of Regol.

But first, she has to brush up on her kissing skills. And what better partner than Nona? If you’ve read my review for Grey Sister then you should know that I very much ship Nona and Ara together, and I was scared with Regol rejoining the picture, because I know he has feelings for Nona. Friends, I did not expect the polyamorous vibes that Mark Lawrence was serving me in this short story, but it is truly all I wanted for the holidays! Oh, my word, the blessings.

“And it’s not like I don’t know how much trouble one little kiss can lead to...”

But anyways, Ara and Regol are off to try and solve the mystery, while Nona is able to somewhat tag along because of a special bond she has with Ara. And friends, I have too many feelings right now. I’m soft, I’m weak, and I’m so in love with these characters. This is my favorite short story of 2018, easily.

Overall, I’m just so damn in love with this series. I loved getting this small glimpse of Nona and the gang, and I can’t wait for more! At this point, I would commit a minor felony to get an arc of Holy Sister! This really is such a once in a lifetime series, and I really recommend everyone picking it up. I mean, warrior, magical, assassin nuns, who many of are queer? I can’t think of anything I’d rather read.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
May 27, 2019
People told me I should read this before Holy Sister because there are things that are important to the story and boy are they not wrong!
Profile Image for Petrik.
669 reviews43k followers
March 3, 2019

A lovely Book of the Ancestor short story about kissing and poisons.

Bound takes place between Grey Sister and Holy Sister. It took me less than one hour to read. I have said this countless times: I am not a fan of romance in fantasy; it's not because I hate the existence of the romance itself, it's just that most of the time they end up annoying the crap out of me. Bound, however, is one of those rare cases where it actually worked. It was charming, endearing, beautifully written, and it made me smile. Plus, there's a huge chance that the event that occurred here will be important in Holy Sister. Consider this a must read for Book of the Ancestor fans.

Also, I can't help but think that the lyric to the song Mr. Brightside by The Killers would fit this short story. Here's part of the lyric that struck me:

"Coming out of my cage
And I've been doing just fine
Gotta gotta be down
Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this?
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss"
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
311 reviews1,330 followers
November 28, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,502 followers
January 5, 2022
"Nona and Ara could be quilting for 300 pages and I would still be like YESSSSS‼️ MASTERPIECE‼️ 5 STARS‼️"
- Sofia, January 4th, 2022
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books414 followers
May 16, 2023
“It is important, when killing a novice, to ensure you bring a force of sufficient size.”

Any time spent with Nona, Ara, and friends is time well spent. Bound is a short story that takes place between Grey Sister and Holy Sister. This story is a lot of fun and will appeal to anyone who loves the Book of the Ancestor.

Bound is billed as a "kissing story," which is an accurate description. But it also has a lot of the non-romantic type of action, with quantal powers playing a prominent role.

While the story itself is self-contained, it has some important aspects of character development that will carry over into Holy Sister. While not strictly necessary, I do recommend reading this short story first, since it will enhance the experience of reading Holy Sister.
Profile Image for Emma.
976 reviews977 followers
November 27, 2018
Just a little taste of what we've all been missing as Ara and Nona get caught up in the poisoning of several young Sis. Mark Lawrence calls this a 'kissing story' and it is that... but as usual he makes sure there's a sharper edge- he doesn't do sweet without stabby. And I'm all for it.

It's over far too soon though....

... how long is it till Holy Sister again???!!!
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
423 reviews468 followers
January 11, 2019
“It is important, when killing a novice, to ensure you bring a force of sufficient size.”

Bound is another stabtastic (© Kristoff & Lawrence) story set in the superb Book of the Ancestor series from Mark Lawrence and takes place a short while after the events in Grey Sister.

The lowdown is that nobles are being murdered, presumably poisoned, but no-one is sure of the how or why. Arabella hailing from a noble family herself is deemed the perfect candidate for the task, so she is sent together with Regol & Kettle to infiltrate the nobles and find the killer.

What follows is some killing, kissing and kickassery. Not necessarily in that order.

It’s a fun story, over too quickly, but it hits the spot as a little something to bide the time while we wait for the release of Holy Sister. (*stares depressingly at calendar) Mark Lawrence has really perfected the art of the killer short story (pun intended) and I find myself demanding more tales in this series. Especially if they are executed as immaculately as this.

“And it’s not like I don’t know how much trouble one little kiss can lead to…”
Profile Image for Adam.
375 reviews164 followers
December 1, 2018
(Spoilers for Red Sister and Grey Sister below)

Who knew a story about catching a serial killer could be so funny and sweet? Mark Lawrence did, and he injects a ton of heart into his engaging and rewarding novella Bound.

This story is set six months after the events of Grey Sister. Nona, Ara, and the rest of the novices are back training at the Sweet Mercy convent when Sisters Kettle and Apple discover that someone is systematic murdering young Sis nobles. They wish to recruit Ara to help infiltrate a formal noble party and discover who is responsible and why this is happening, but Nona is understandably reluctant to let her go. Although there is no way for Nona to be able to attend such lavish parties without being discovered, she just might be able to help Ara by other, unconventional methods...

This novella packs a lot of heart and a surprising amount of relevance to Nona’s overarching story. What at first seems like a stand-alone adventure that solely exists outside the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, it ended up having very real character developments and plot progressions that advance the main trilogy’s story in significant ways.

This is a fast-paced, tightly written adventure that does a fine job of slaking one’s thirst for more Nona until Holy Sister arrives next April. There are quite a few important surprises within that elevates this story into “required reading” territory for any fan of the Book of the Ancestor series.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews214 followers
April 24, 2019
This was amazing. A short story, yes, but it was as satisfying as a longer work. Fans of Nona and Ara and the Book of the Ancenstor books will love this. It's a self contained story that gives us a snapshot into the lives of these girls, a great teaser for the next book. I'll be reading it again, and it even made me want to go back and reread the first two novels.
Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews134 followers
December 21, 2018
Short, bloody, and brilliant! Mark Lawrence has taken all the qualities from this series and shrunk it down into this novella. Nona's bond with her friends is a central part to this "kissing story", as Mark has labeled it, in more ways than one.

“I don’t think you understand how difficult what you’re proposing is. It would require considerable … oral dexterity.”

Plus, you can't have a Book of the Ancestor without some blood shed and a little espionage. This really has me looking forward to Holy Sister, and I'm not sure if I can wait until April to get my hands on it.

If you have read the first two books in this series, this is a must read that will get you all the more excited for the release of Holy Sister. If you are reading this review and have not read any of this series, then you don't know what your missing.

“It is important, when killing a novice, to ensure you bring a force of sufficient size.”

Actual Rating: 4 stars ****
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews362 followers
April 10, 2020
This is a short story set six months after the finale of Grey Sister, and it delivered all the loved filled, kissing angst I wanted from that book.

The main plot follows Ara as she's thrown back into the aristocratic world of the Sis families to uncover the killer of a number of Sis heirs. Accompanying her is the devilishly handsome Regol, with Nona waiting in the wings (and minds) following and helping the two from a distance.

I liked the set up for this. It showed Nona back in her prime environment of the Abbey surrounded by friends, while contemplating the nature of her relationship with Ara. The introduction of a murder mystery (which ironically, given the amount I've read recently, reminded me heavily of The A.B.C. Murders) was a nice touch as it takes the whole story in a new direction and manages to give the whole thing a lighter feel.

I also enjoyed seeing glimpses into the wider world of the Ancestor, from a point of view very different to Nona's. It helps to set up the stage for Holy Sister and the complex relationships and political machinations that will hopefully be delved into in greater detail.

A nice little story that stands up well on its own, with the background knowledge of Red and Grey Sister, that leaves me anxious to return to this world and these fascinating characters.
Profile Image for Andreas.
207 reviews
April 3, 2019
It's important when rating a short story that you bring a sufficient amount of stars. For Bound by Mark Lawrence, Andreas brought 3.5 stars.

(That sounded much cooler in my mind than it actually was)
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
January 26, 2019
“It is important, when killing a novice, to ensure you bring a force of sufficient size.”

It was so good to be back with Nona and crew even if it was just for a short time.

Nona can find ways to get into trouble in no time at all. There have been five deaths of young people in the Sis (upper society) and Ara is given the task of going back to society to try and figure out who is responsible for the poisoning.

Nona and Ara have always been close but they are about to come closer and become thread bound to one another. They will help each other figure out who is to blame and thwart their dastardly plans. But don't put it past Nona's enemies to use this to hurt her.

I loved being back at the Abby and seeing some of the sisters again. Apple is one of my favorites as always
“Novice Ketti. What brings you to the winery?” Sister Apple enquired in the stern voice she used as Mistress Shade during class.
“I… uh…” Ketti’s feet shuffled backwards. “Sorry!”
“Novice!” Apple’s raised voice arrested Ketti’s retreat. “Sister Pot here is a guest at Sweet Mercy. I can’t let such a shameful effort go unchallenged. I taught you to lie myself. Now do it properly.

The writing was exactly what I expect from Lawrence with some great words of wisdom thrown in.
But the fact is that few people are able to see value in the words of someone they truly dislike. Have your own opinions spoken back to you by someone you despise and you will likely begin to find fault.

For me this was a must read before Holy Sister comes out and there is one pretty important thing that happens that I didn't want to miss. But you could most likely skip it and be fine, I'm sure Lawrence will find a way to work the happenings into Holy Sister. Still why would you want to.
Profile Image for Lau ♡.
376 reviews289 followers
June 7, 2023
Goal for 2024: stop skipping novellas in the middle of a series; believe it or not, they often exist for a reason.

I can’t believe I almost missed the most romance-heavy part of the whole series-I’m such an idiot. I was expecting a short adventure with Nona and the others, but it was so much more than that. It was a story about kisses. Kisses!! If any romance-lover is thinking about skipping this, don’t be like me and give it a try :)

Book of the Ancestor:
1. Red Sister: 4.5 stars
2. Grey Sister: 5
2.5 Bound: 5 stars
3. Holy Sister: 6 stars
Profile Image for soph.
349 reviews36 followers
October 22, 2021
me yelling into the void: NONA AND ARA!!! NONA AND ARA!!!!
also i'm suddenly very interested in ara and regol’s friendship dynamic....


I didn't think I could love the Book of the Ancestor series more but actually it's very possible and that's all thank to this great short story, with more Nona, Ara and others. It was like everything I ever wanted??? (gods, such great storytelling). Bound helped me with my wait for Holy Sister but at the same time made me even more impatient for it. Antidote? Reread this every few days.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,067 reviews383 followers
December 20, 2018
Dammit, just a splash of the Book of the Ancestor when what I needed was a tidal wave. April can't get here soon enough!
Profile Image for Gavin.
863 reviews393 followers
June 27, 2019
This short story in Mark Lawrence's Book of the Ancestor series falls between the second and third instalments of the series and feels more like a few missing chapters in the regular series rather than a side story. Which is to say I do not think this is the sort of novella one can just skip as a few significant things occur that I assume will play a part in the happenings in the third book!

This was a short story but it still managed to be quite fun. Five members of the aristocracy have been murdered so to root out the culprit it is decided to send Arabella back into society to see if she and the presence of a few discreet sisters can root out about the assassin. Nona, not wanting any harm to come to Ara, finds a unique way to get in on the mission!

I felt like the story was a fun one that mixed in the usual humour, action, adventure, and intrigue that we are used to from the main series with a bit of added romance! It worked quite well and I ended up enjoying this adventure. It does really help that Lawrence has quite an engaging writing style and that his characters are fun ones.

All in all I enjoyed this tale and feel like it has me more enthused than ever to get to the third and final book in the series!

Rating: 4 stars. If the story had a flaw it was the fact that it was so short (around 50 pages) that it felt like it was finishing just as I was getting sucked into the tale!

No audio for this one which was unfortunate. One would think Lawrence was popular enough that even his novellas made it to audio!
Profile Image for TS Chan.
700 reviews868 followers
September 12, 2019
Read this cool and charming kissing story before Holy Sister, or you'll be missing something.
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
733 reviews1,778 followers
April 28, 2021
“It is important, when killing a novice, to ensure you bring a force of sufficient size.”
Mark Lawrence- Book of the Ancestor, 2.5

What a nice lil treat while waiting on Holy Sister from the library. Short story that brought together Nona, Ara, Kettle, Regol from the series for a bit of undercover investigating.
Profile Image for Candie.
317 reviews101 followers
January 28, 2020
If you enjoy the Ancestor Trilogy then you will definitely like this. I don't usually like short stories because they are hard to get into, but because this is a side story from the novels, there was enough context with the characters and the world to still connect with it. A very, very quick but fun read with just the right balance of action and romance. The romance was very real too, subtle and not at all cringy. I really enjoyed this.
Profile Image for Jon Adams.
294 reviews57 followers
December 19, 2018
Well that was an amazing bridge between books 2 and 3. I have a feeling that will have implications on book 3 so you should definitely read it.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,264 reviews222 followers
April 9, 2019
A wonderful little taste of the world of the Book of the Ancestor, with Nona's friend Arabella Jotsis on a special mission to uncover a poisoner that's randomly targeting Sis nobles. But there's no way that Nona would sit still while Ara takes on such a dangerous job.

This is an excellent teaser for Holy Sister which I'm moving straight on to.
Profile Image for Shae.
146 reviews22 followers
December 25, 2018
A fantastic short story!

Perfect Christmas morning read while waiting for my husband and kids to come in from the surf.

Bring on Holy Sister!
Profile Image for Justine.
1,134 reviews309 followers
April 15, 2019
A very short story set in time between Grey Sister and Holy Sister. I'm not sure if it's a necessary read, but it didn't take very long, so why not?
Displaying 1 - 30 of 430 reviews

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