Friday, February 19, 2016

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

The Red Abbey is a sanctuary for girls and women, a place where they can learn knowledge about the world and the three aspects of the Goddess - Mother, Maiden, and Crone.  Girls from all over come to the Red Abbey, escaping from the oppression of women in their own lands, or escaping from hardships and famine.  It is a place of learning but also of safety - men are forbidden from stepping foot on the island.  Maresi has called the Abbey home for years, and while she is yet to be chosen as a novice for a specific aspect of the Mother she does have a love of reading and acquiring knowledge and she has a knack for soothing the fears and worries of the younger novices.  

It is a peaceful existence with Maresi certain about the turn of the seasons and what is to come with each change of the moon.  When Jai arrives at the Abbey she is quiet and guarded, keeping secrets about her past and the scars upon her back.  As she settles into life at the Abbey she starts to share some of her story and Maresi realises that she has a lot to learn about the world beyond the safe and secure walls of her home.  When Jai's father comes in search of his daughter it places the whole Abbey in danger and Maresi starts to understand what it truly means to be a novice in an Abbey where the three aspects of the goddess come into play - but which aspect will be strongest Mother, Maiden or Crone?

It takes something special for a book to stand out from the crowd, and this A.A. Prime translation of Finnish author Maria Turtschaninoff's book is truly special.  It is difficult to put my finger on what makes it so special - Maresi is a clear voice and a very emotive one that embraces us on her journey, it is a well envisioned world with an engaging and believable mythology, a world of relationships and empathy, and a subtle magic that seems to dare you to deny it exists.  This is not a long novel, nor a particularly challenging one to read, but it is appealing (even more appealing) than some of the big names and the bigger novels out there.  I didn't want to put Maresi down and I am regretting picking it up in a way - only because now I have to wait for the sequel!

If the rest of the series is as amazing as Maresi then this has the potential to become a great classic fantasy series - partly because it is well written, and partly because it is set in a fantasy world that won't "date" the way some series do.  This was a delightful find and I look forward to seeing where Maresi's adventures take her next.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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