Young Adult, Fantasy, Feminism
Digital/Print/Audio (256 pages, ABRAMS)
Only women and girls are allowed in the Red Abbey, a haven from abuse and oppression. Maresi, a thirteen-year-old novice there, arrived in the hunger winter and now lives a happy life in the Abbey, protected by the Mother and reveling in the vast library in the House of Knowledge, her favorite place. Into this idyllic existence comes Jai, a girl with a dark past. She has escaped her home after witnessing the killing of her beloved sister. Soon the dangers of the outside world follow Jai into the sacred space of the Abbey, and Maresi can no longer hide in books and words but must become one who acts. Author Site: website
READ this book! (5 stars)I read an excerpt from MARESI many months before it came out and from that tiny taste alone if became one of my most coveted 2017 releases. Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot that way and wind up being disappointed when a book doesn't live up to my expectations. MARESI went well beyond my expectations!
While Turtschaninoff can get a bit Tolkien-ish in providing more detailed descriptions than one needs I didn't feel like it bogged the story down. The world building is subtle and tense, presenting just enough information of the world beyond the Red Abbey to frighten. As a woman, as a mother, as a feminist, I found myself terrified and angry only to realize just how unfictional many of the elements of the story were.
This book is absolutely everything. I can't even express how phenomenal it is. I wish I could send a copy back in time to my teen self so that I can have read this when I needed it most. Calling this a must-read feels like an understatement and I desperately await the next two translations of the Red Abbey Chronicles.