Maresi was translated from the Finnish and it demonstrates exactly why more Young Adult fiction should be available in translation. Maresi is a fantasy story set on an island populated entirely by women. Maresi travelled to the Red Abbey driven by desperation, hunger and fear. She had almost believed this sanctuary to be a myth, a place where women can escape, can be safe. Outside of the Red Abbey women are forbidden from learning, they must live by strict rules and they are never safe from the prospect of rape, death or slavery. Many of the girls who have come to the Red Abbey have escaped brutality. It is a place where community is celebrated. The women work together, grow their own food, make their own clothes and they have books which Maresi is encouraged to explore. When Jai arrives Maresi finds a friend but a chain of events is set in motion which brings danger ever closer to the Red Abbey. This a powerful and atmospheric tale. It has a strong feminist message and is also a thrilling and fast paced fantasy adventure. It has the quality of a fairytale which is partly the magic of the author's voice and partly down to the setting. I really hope to read more by this author and the quality of the storytelling makes me excited to discover more literature for young adults outside of Britain, Ireland the US. This book is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Frances Hardinge.
Thanks to Sam at Bounce Marketing for a copy of this book. Maresi The Red abbey Chronicles is published by Pushkin Children's Books.
From the publisher's website
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.