Time to re-visit one of my favorite titles of 2016. Lucky for you it is now on paperback with a beautiful cover. And if you wonder why I loved it, here’s my review below.
It is hard to believe first hand that Maresi’s world is one of Fantasy, as it is still reminiscent of our world today at least for some countries.
Welcome to the Red Abbey, a sanctuary built by 8 women, sisters fleeing from persecution far away from a world where education is awarded only to men, and where their fate is not theirs to master.
Any new novice coming to the Red Abbey, will not only be granted protection, but will also share into the teachings of an ancient and sacred magic now long lost to the world of man.
Maresi, is one of those novices, and one of the most senior one in fact, she is also the narrator of the piece. Interestingly enough, Maresi’s background story is unlike most of the Abbey’s residents, in a sense that, she is one of the few coming from a loving family, free from abuse and loved by a father who reluctantly gave her away, and in doing so saved her life. So Maresi’s perspective on life, although with a constant longing for her loved ones, will be one of insatiable thirst for knowledge and a contagious positive outlook on life.
By contrast, Jai who is the most recent resident to the Abbey, and who is inextricably linked to the events about to unfold, has suffered inconceivable mental torture by witnessing a most horrific crime. Jai will slowly adapt to her new life, but she will be fueled by a need for revenge. A revenge that maybe soon satisfied as her tormentors are closing on her trail, making a haven once safe, faced with imminent danger.
Although a translated piece, I doubt any meaning was lost in the process. It is beautifully written with vivid descriptions of the idyllic island setting of The Red Abbey. The voices of the characters come through with extreme precision and the reader can easily relate to any one of them and how they feel.
There are definitely budding elements of feminism to this book, in terms of protection and education for women, however the contained nature of life at the Abbey prevents it from opening to the outside world. I suspect that this might evolve in the next installment, which I am really impatient to read.
Although a lover of ancient history, my favourite parts of this book will however be all elements relating to magical myth and folklore which the power of The Red Abbey is the source of.
This piece is a beautiful tale about women with a very special sisterly bond and I will gladly recommend it to all fantasy lovers.
Thanking team @pushkinpress and @ for providing me with a review copy of this title.