*Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC for review!*
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past. When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic.
I feel like I didn’t get to connect enough with Artemisia before all the action happened. We get a brief example of the ostracisation that she felt living with the Gray Sisters and how much more comfortable she was with the dead than the other nuns. But then all the action starts and we are swept away into the story before I could form that bond with her. Throughout the plot we are given insight into what she had to endure growing up and why she acts the way she does which I appreciated.
I liked how Marguerite came back into the story. I didn’t think any of the nuns were going to be super relevant to the story since Artemisia leaves them so quickly but it was nice to have her come back in and give us some understanding about how people perceived Artemisia and the misunderstanding that could occur when people don’t communicate properly with each other.
The terminology in the book was a little hard to understand and completely wrap my mind around. Keeping track of all the different orders of the souls and the clergisy was difficult and wasn’t explained as well as it could of been I feel. We’re thrown straight into the action and all of these names and titles keep flying around and I wasn’t as rooted into the story as what I could of been if it was all just drawn out a little longer.
The same thing can be said for the setting and the structure of the plot. I found it quite difficult to picture where we were and what was happening a lot (which I found to be similar to Magaret Rogerson’s two previous books). We are just moving through so quickly and I wasn’t given enough description and I was lost a couple times and had to go back and reread a few pages.
Overall I really liked the concept, I thought it was highly original and compelling. I just would of liked the pacing to slow down and we can get situated with what’s happening before jumping into all of the action. The were some twists and turns throughout the course of the storyline that ultimately kept me turning the pages but was a bit underwhelming in the end.
⭐️3/5 stars The potential was there just lacking that oomph for me…