Author: Maria TurtschaninoffEdition: eARC Courtesy of NetgalleyRelease Date: January 3rd, 2017Rating: 5 Stars
I received a copy of Maresi from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Maresi follows the title character's story of the time Jai came to the Abbey. At the abbey girls from all over the world are taken in and taught how to read, write, and do important chores. They all worship the goddess and her power is what protects their little island from the evil men. Jai, however, arrives under mysterious circumstances, which begin a chapter of life at the Red Abbey that none could have predicted.
This is one of the best fantasy books I've read all year! It's about women being strong because they are women, not because they are living up to the "male idea" of what a strong woman is. Maresi herself isn't anything particularly special, except that she's kind and inquisitive, and a voracious reader. Jai, also, isn't anything particularly special. And neither are any of the other girls. Except that, at the same time, every single character is special and compelling and someone that could have a whole novel written about them. It's their courage, their sisterhood, and their love that really makes them all compelling characters that leap off the page.
The writing itself is beautiful. I was sucked in immediately and was hard pressed to put it down. I did for a short time, and then picked it up and read the majority of it in one sitting. It's a quick read made quicker by the magic the words have over the reader. It's a novel translated from Swedish, which has me curious to read more Swedish translated novels and see whether there's a similar cadence to the writing in the genre.
Best of all was the plot. It was a short, tight plot, with thick strands meandering off to the sides to tell the stories of the other girls, the history of the Abbey, and the main character's life before the Abbey. It's all done from Maresi's perspective and her eyes seem to see everything. Even though you don't get to the "meat" of the plot until about halfway, you won't notice as you're too busy noticing everything else going on, as does our narrator, and you won't mind a single distraction since they're all too good to pass up.
TL;DR? A wonderfully feminist fantasy that meanders beautifully to the tight plot that explodes with action.