American Mensa's Reviews > Naondel

Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
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it was amazing

As the prequel to the Red Abbey Chronicles, Naondel relates the formation of the Red Abbey through the perspectives of the seven women who founded it. Turtschanioff interweaves the stories of these women by changing the first-person perspective for each chapter, and she recounts the misogyny and struggles these women endured that ultimately culminated in the Red Abbey, a sanctuary for persecuted women. All of the founding members of the Red Abbey meet due to one man: Iskan. With the help of supernatural power, Iskan, once a beautiful, charming young man, reveals himself to be a ruthless yet powerful ruler. He confines the women to a harem, and with their own unique past and virtues, each of these women must learn how to survive under his cruelty.

Turtschanioff’s depiction of the world is rich and vivid. She manages to create an immersive fantasy setting without world-building for an extended amount of time. Despite switching between characters, Turtschanioff, for the most part, develops the characters well. Each character possesses a unique voice, which ultimately leads to the reader empathizing and connecting with these women. However, at times the introduction of the narrators becomes cumbersome, disengaging the reader. Moreover, due to the sheer volume of narrators, some of the characters are flat.

At times, Turtschanioff’s prose is clunky, especially when she attempts to create a grandiose tone. Moreover, the amount of characters and of places becomes disorienting at times; however, there is a character list at the end of the book.

Turtschanioff’s choice of perspective is refreshing; usually, medieval influenced YA books focus on rulers, but Turtschanioff’s depiction of the abused reveals the agency and heroism in the seemingly powerless. Specifically, Naondel empowers young girls since it illustrates a triumph against a sexist society; nevertheless, I do recommend this book to both boys and girls. However, due to mature elements, this book is suitable for grades 8 and up only.

While Turtschanioff does not shy away from the brutality of female subjugation, she ultimately provides a hopeful message that emphasizes the importance of sisterhood and of perseverance. With riveting characters and a powerful message, Turtschanioff’s Naondel presents a strong prequel to the Red Abbey Chronicles.
Review by Lauren A., 17, Lone Star Mensa

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 13, 2018 – Shelved

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