Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Maresi: Book 1 in The Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff

Maresi is thirteen and has come to the Abbey because her family doesn't have enough food to go around.  She knows her youngest sister died because of hunger so she goes and leaves what food there is to her family.  The Red Abbey only has women.  There are no men anyway on the island.  Fishermen bring them their food by boat and never ever step on the dock.  It should be safe.  But one young novice brings danger...

Amulet Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 3rd.
 
This is a mesmerizing fantasy tale from a Finnish author that I'm very happy to have found.  I enjoy her imagination, her story is easy flowing and exciting and the theme of women of power on a seldom visited island in the sea makes a unique setting.

They grow most of their own food.  They have classes, they learn skills, and they learn history.  Maresi just loves the library.  (I would, too.)  She gets to read in free evenings and she stays later than she should.  Her life is perfect now.  Then a new novice shows up.  Her name is Jai and she's very, very quiet.  Maresi takes her under her wing and shows her what she need to do as a novice.  Jai sticks very close and even starts coming to the library with her.  

When Jai finally tells how she came to be at the Abbey, Maresi is shocked.  Her father killed her older sister because she had let a boy have a drink from the water she was bringing home.  He was sure she gave him more than that.  His method of death was awful.  He dug a grave, put her in it, and then filled it up with dirt while she was still alive.  He's a very dangerous man.  The worst part is that she knows he'll be coming after her.

The novices who have certain talents get apprenticed to the upper positions in the Abbey.  Maresi would love to be the next librarian.  She has other talents, though.

When the men invade, the women create a magical storm to make them leave.  They return and the final battle is out of this world.  There is death in this story; there is also life and a hope for a better future. I can't wait to see what the next book brings!

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