The Adepta Sororitas are an Imperium faction that I don’t know much about. I’ve come across them in several books but never read anything dedicated to them. So to broaden my horizons I picked up Mark of Faith. And I have mixed feelings about the book. There are some excellent characters that I thoroughly enjoyed but I felt that the overall story didn’t do anything particularly exciting. However, it has gotten me interested to check out more from the Sisters in the future.
Mark of Faith, by Rachel Harrison, follows Battle Sister Evangeline of the Order of Our Martyred Lady following the war for Ophelia VII. At the start of the book, she loses her mentor and is left burned and scarred. This scaring is in the shape of the Aquila and sets her on a path to a planet beyond the Great Rift. Along the way she is joined by Inquisitor Ravara who aids her in her journey to find the legendary Shield of Saint Katherine and the martyr’s death she was denied. And these two characters are great. The other character that I loved, who doesn’t play much of a role until towards the end is the Chaos Sorcerer and primary antagonist.
Mark of Faith is at its best when delving into these characters motivations and nuances. Evangeline feels like a fraud and like she let her squad down by surviving. Ravara is wracked with guilt over the loss of one of her retinue and seeks to hide the truth from her other companions. And the Chaos Space Marine just wants to see his old friends once again. It all works together to show that grief is still grief whether you’re genetically enhanced, a traitor or an inquisitor.
However, if Mark of Faith is at its best when exploring character then it’s at its worst when doing everything else. For me, the Emperor worshipping parts gave me some serious eye rolls. And while I’ve never been a big fan of big daddy E, everything in Mark of Faith is so serious and dry. This is sort of understandable when the main story is all about the death of your loved ones, but it still means that the book is often one-note and it gets tiring quickly. And while some of the action scenes are exhilarating, especially the climax, they are only ever so because of the characters involved. This means that sometimes the actual action falls flat and is being carried by the interesting characters rather than the two working together to create something exceptional.
A quick spoiler warning, I’m going to talk about the ending. Just before the proper ending, we discover that the chaos space marine has been working to bring back his friend and that failure is really sad. I love this because it proves they are human and feel emotions etc. However, after this, we turn to our other main characters and Evangeline’s ending I did not like. I suppose it could be seen as character growth that she moves past her sadness and guilt but it feels too fast. One minute she’s battling the guilt and the next she’s over it and it’s all back to serving the Emperor. It didn’t feel right and brought by those eye rolls from earlier in the book.
All in all, there’s a lot to like in Mark of Faith. The inner conflicts are interesting and shine a lens into an area of Warhammer 40,000 that we don’t often see. It’s also nice to see more female characters in general. However, I didn’t find the rest of the story held up and felt that there was probably a more interesting way to use these characters. That being said, if you are looking to get started with Sisters, then Mark of Faith is a great entry point.
Thanks for reading. If you want more Inquisitors, then check out my review of Vaults of Terra: Carrion Throne. Alternatively, if you want some Chaos Space Marines, then Black Legion is the place to go.