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Maresi

(The Red Abbey Chronicles #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  3,954 ratings  ·  681 reviews
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.

Then one day Jai tangled fair h
...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2014)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,954 ratings  ·  681 reviews


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Tatiana
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty dark for YA fantasy (Margo Lanagan dark), but refreshingly different.

Excellent import from Finland and a lovely translation.
Lindsay
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A novice at an island Abbey finds her destiny when a new arrival brings trouble in her wake.

Maresi is a novice at the Red Abbey on the island of Menos where men are forbidden and where the Sisterhood reveres the First Mother. Maresi is one of the older novices and will soon move onto what comes after. Then Jai, a young girl with an horrific past arrives and Maresi takes her under her wing. But Maresi has issues from her own past as well and it looks like there's going to be a collision between M
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Viv JM
3.5 stars

I don't read much YA but I felt like I needed a bit of a palate cleanser and I loved the premise of this book. For me, it wasn't quite the "thrilling, suspenseful and gloriously feminist" book that the blurb promised, but it was a diverting enough read.

I enjoyed the mythology of the Mother/Maiden/Crone and the descriptions of abbey life, as well as the emphasis on female friendship and co-operation, but I felt that there wasn't really quite enough character development. The language fe
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Justine
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read
4.5 stars

This book starts off slow and descriptive, but then becomes utterly harrowing. I loved the clear and innocent voice of Maresi, who narrates the story, giving it a highly personal feel.

It is an emotionally stirring book, which highlights the fears and strengths of the women in the story, reminding me in its feel of parts of The Mists of Avalon. Highly recommended.
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Taylor
4.5

“It was a door, tall and narrow and silver in the bright moonlight. It was closed, but I could sense the darkness that waited on the other side. Darkness so deep not even the light of the moon could penetrate it. It was the door from the hunger winter, and behind it the Crone was waiting.”

...

Oh, how I loved this strange, dark, wondrous story. Maresi was gorgeous!

When she was young, Maresi came to the Red Abbey during the Hunger Winter. Before then, the Red Abbey only existed to her in stories
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Amanda
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars - I was disappointed in this. It had a ton of potential. I loved the premise of a safe island for women/girls only who were abused or damaged in some way and needed to heal. This should have a short story there just wasn't enough here to make a novel. It is the first in a series but I doubt it's one I will continue to read.
Bee
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an enchanting read! Everyone was telling me that it had fairytale vibes, and I totally agree! It's perfect if you want to experience the same kind of vibes from the His Fair Assassin trilogy, or something like The Sin Eater's Daughter.
Stacee
DNF on page 195

I went into this book completely blind. I had seen some talk on Twitter about it and I was fairly excited about it.

Maresi is a bland character. She is loyal to the Abbey and the sisters who live/work there, but there isn't much more I can say about her. There are a lot a lot a lot of characters and some are mentioned without ever being talked about again.

As for the plot, it was soooooooo slooooooow. There isn't any sort of conflict until it's almost over and even that seemed str
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Sophie
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

I first heard about this book through some bloggers via Twitter. Because I trust their judgement on books, I decided to try and request a copy, and was lucky enough to receive one. I had next to no knowledge what the book was actually about, other than the fact this was it's first time being published in English, rather than its native Finnish. Most of reviews I've since seen have been extremely complimentar
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Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Faith, hope, learning, magic, friendship.

Hands down the best fantasy I have read in a long time.

I think this is one of those books where you either love it or feel a bit Meh after reading. I definitely loved it, but I can see why some people wouldn't like it.

This was a very subtle fantasy - if not for the magic and technology it could almost have been set now, in this world. There was no cookie-cutter plot with a Mary Sue main character. Instead there was complex plot with mixed yet nat
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✨Skye✨
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-good
I went into Maresi hoping for Red Sister kind of vibes, and to some extent, it does have that! It's almost like the children's version of Red Sister, without the killing. It follows an abbey on a remote island where men are forbidden to set foot. Our main character Maresi witnesses the unusual arrival of a new novice, Jai, and we follow them as they learn the things the abbey has to offer.
It has a really mysterious and cool magic system, and the abbey is such an intriguing place. I love the comb
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❧ Cristina ☙
"There’s this habit in this book of making all men look powerful and strong but also mean and sexist and all women look pure, innocent and fragile. And yes, the book is written mostly with the intention to show us how women are strong and capable of doing just as much as men but the world is not always this or that, positive and negative, there’s so much to an individual than just evil or just good."

(...)
Read more of my review on my blog post - https://nomuhjournal.wordpress.com/20...

Follow my
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Abigail
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Young Adult Fantasy
Living on the island of Menos, at the Red Abbey - a religious community consisting solely of women and girls, one devoted to the worship of First Mother, a sort of tripartite goddess figure - thirteen-year-old Maresi leads a life of safety and serenity. A life entirely separate from the outside world, and from men. Then, just as Maresi is ready to leave behind her role as a Novice, a traumatized young girl named Jai arrives on the island. Fleeing from a terrible situation, she brings danger with ...more
Maddie
I feel like cult books are really on trend at the moment! This definitely had the vibes of 'Soundless' by Richelle Mead and 'Only Ever Yours' by Louise O'Neill. It's an odd mixture, but one I can get behind!
Bookphenomena (Micky)
Review is up on the blog here.

MARESI took me rather by surprise. I did that classic, 'I'm just going to look what it's about and read a few pages' and found myself at page 40. MARESI is set on an island that holds only an abbey and many women (Sisters of the Goddess) and female children who may become novices in time or are given safety until they want to leave as adults.

The protagonist, Maresi herself, tells her story from a naive viewpoint, a young, innocent girl of indeterminate age but I fel
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Anna Luce
★★★✰✰ 3 stars

Maresi seems to be telling us only part of a story. Turtschaninoff plays her cards close to her chest, shrouding her story—and by extension its characters and their setting—in mystery.
The narrator, Maresi, recounts her time as a novice in the Red Abbey. The Abbey is open only to women, and many girls find their way to it after particularly brutal experiences. The world-building is rendered by Maresi's narration, and she often doesn't expand certain aspects of her world. The history
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Katy Noyes
2.5 stars

Translated from the Swedish original. First in a series of three.

This was a very short read, which may be why I persisted, but I did finish thinking “What was the point of it?”

I like dystopia, I like powerful female characters, I like Old World / otherworld stories. This sat uneasily with me.

I did like it more at the start – a young girl is telling us her story of when a new girl comes to her island sanctuary and trouble follows her.

The trouble (in the form of men) comes in a rather vi
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Zoe
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 Stars

I don't really know what to say. Like, I know I only read this book a little under 2 weeks ago, but the only thing I properly remember thinking is "this could've been so gay." I'm trash.

This is about a girl who lives on an island, protected by, and run by women, and Maresi is sheltered from the outside world until Jai comes and brings her past with her.

The world building isn't the best, by which I mean, it's fantasy, so the world is already like that, but it's so unrealistic because the p
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Sian Lile-Pastore
Ooo, I thought this was really different and interesting. It reminded me (in feel) of The Wickerman and The Handmaid's Tale.

It's set on an island that's only inhabited by women - and these women take in young girls who may have been abused or just find themselves there and get taken in. There's a lot of world building and a lot about their day to day life - cooking, herbalism, reading, dying clothes with dye taken from snails - and I really loved all of that. And then there's also this underlyin
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Cheryl DeFranceschi
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first book in a YA trilogy, this book about a society of women kicked ass. The Red Abbey offers refuge to girls who have been abused or need food and shelter. They can learn to read, learn medicine, farming and sisterhood. It is a sacred and powerful place. So what happens when evil, barbaric men show up, looking for the daughter who escaped her father's cruelty? I'm not going to tell you! You'll have to read it for yourself. I can't wait until the next book.
Nathan
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: x01-january-2017
There were aspects of the setting/world I really liked, but overall the story was just OK.
papillon.reads
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
rating:🌟🌟
What can I say? I didn't love it 🤷
Dorota Bugajec
Love it ❤️
Virginie (chouettblog)
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 lo
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Marina
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
3.5

I really enjoyed Maresi and I loved the concept of a safe haven island for battered, unwelcome, and needy girls where they are taught valuable skills to survive in a world that is cruel to them. I loved it so much that I wish Turtschaninoff took the pains to expand it into a longer narrative. While enjoyable, Maresi is short and simplistic, so a lot of it - especially the world building, character development, and exposition felt summarized and at times told more than it showed while only hal
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Kirsti
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, this is a hard one to review. I liked the start, and the whole concept, but then the story took forever to take off, and the eventual action was predictable and well, kind of boring. Awks. Anywho, I generally don't have much to say about this one except for how slow and boring it was. It was simple, I was bored, but it's done and I can move on. Two stars.
lexi  *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*
THX FOR TELLING ME ABOUT THIS BOOK JANE
Mira | I Read Like Phoebe Runs
A very quick read, but one that definitely took me by surprise with its depth and power. I have so many beautiful contradictions swirling in my mind after just finishing this, and it feels really inspiring. I am very much looking forward to reading Turtschaninoff's other works as well.
RuthAnn
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This young adult fantasy novel in translation is a fascinating, interesting read. It's definitely in line with the smash-the-patriarchy reading I've subconsciously been doing lately. The premise of an island/abbey of just women reminded me most strongly of The Guineveres, and from there, it's a short trip to The Handmaid's Tale and The Power. Not that this book is the same or anything, but I think there are echoes. The concept of men being inherently dangerous in this world is worthy of discussi ...more
Anna - Boktycke
Good worldbuilding and wonderful sisterhood. The beginning was slow and consisted mostly of introductions to the character and to the Island. The ending felt rushed. I do like this book but I think the sequel/prequel Naondel is better.

Recension finns på Boktycke.
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The A&E Shelf: Maresi 1 8 Mar 12, 2017 08:18PM  

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Other books in the series

The Red Abbey Chronicles (3 books)
  • Naondel (The Red Abbey Chronicles #2)
  • Maresi Red Mantle (Red Abbey Chronicles #3)

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