Author: Maria Turtschaninoff
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Pages: 251 pages
A world where girls live in fear.
A safe haven far away.
But is it enough?
This is Maresi's Story.
Maresi came to Red Abbey several years ago, in the Hungry 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.
Thoughts on the book: Maresi is told from the point of view of a young women called Maresi who arrived at the sanctuary Red Abbey, four years ago and is now looked upon as a sort of mother to the younger children. Although she hasn't been chosen in her specialty yet, Maresi is still enjoying her life. That is until a young girl by the name of Jai arrives at the abbey one day and suddenly things aren't the same. Jai is hiding from some very powerful men who she has wronged and the women of the abbey will do everything in their power to help. Maresi of course takes Jai under her wing and shows her the ropes of the Abbey but Maresi is also battling with some issues herself. Will both girls be able to overcome their issues?
I didn't know that I was receiving this book for review so was quite surprised when the mail man dropped it off. I hadn't heard much about it but upon reading reviews for it thought that it sounded really interesting. Upon starting Maresi I knew that I was going to really like the book as it had a different feel than most YA books these days. Upon delving deeper into it I discovered that the main focus of the book was on feminism and how when the bad thing that everybody had been dreading came to the island, we discover that it is actually men. These men treat these women horribly but amazingly they all keep their faith and (SPOILER ALERT) defeat the men.
I believe the characters are relatable and that Maresi is an amazing role model to the younger children. She never shows fear, helps anyone she can with anything and would lay down her own life to save everyone at the Abby. One thing I have to say is that I didn't think Maresi would chose the path that she chose in the end but I can't wait to see where the author takes us with the rest of the series.