Genre: YA, Fiction, Fantasy
Source: review copy
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Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren’t allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. But now Maresi is here, and she knows it is real. She is safe.
Then one day Jai tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her.
Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.
A story of friendship and survival, magic and wonder, beauty and terror, Maresi will grip you and hold you spellbound.
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff was at the very top of my TBR/most anticipated in 2016 before it came out, I even got a hardback copy for myself so I’m not sure why I only ended up reading it a year later. I had heard that it was a short, adventurous read full of magic and feminism. I have to agree with the hype here. In under 200 pages, Maria manages to weave a unique and gripping adventure that was truly spellbinding.
I started my day off with Maresi as I read it in a single go in bed and I can honestly say that I have probably never been more productive. Maresi was inspiring as well as addictive. It was a little bit dark, exposing the very real mistreatment of women and girls that continues to occur all over the world, and gender inequality. But it also showed us the strength of girl power, of a sisterhood that sticks together and protects each other like family.
I thought Maresi was quite an interesting character. She was brave but a little overexcited and clumsy at times. I loved that her favourite hideout was a library which she dubbed the treasure trove, I wish I could spend my afternoons locked away in there reading. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Jai which is pretty central to the story.
Maresi is a stunningly powerful read, and I really wish there was a sequel but thankfully, there is a prequel being released soon!
Favourite quote: “She does not know how to feel safe.” As I said it I knew it was true. “We will have to teach her how.”