Emily May's Reviews > Naondel

Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult, 2019
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana

I felt grief, but also relief. I had escaped. I was free.
Or so I thought.

I'm not a writer, but I wish I had written this book. It's true that I could have more success and wealth if I had written the Throne of Glass series, or Divergent, but this book is so rich, so different, so dark and full of complexity... I wish I could have the honour of saying something like this was my work.

This is a very dark book in a very dark series. It's a Finnish import, beautifully translated, and maybe that is why it's so unlike anything I've read in YA fantasy. It's in the YA section, but I should caution that it contains a lot of adult themes, including graphic sexual violence. It is a book that made me absolutely furious. But I am the kind of reader who enjoys books that claw themselves up from the darkest of depths. If that sounds unappealing, I would avoid this one.

Naondel is the prequel to Maresi, written two years after. I thought Maresi was very good, but this one just took it to a whole other level. Where I felt the first book was good in a weird way and difficult to widely recommend, I think this is one I want to tell everyone to read. Should you read Maresi first? I think so. But if that book doesn't do it for you because it's kinda weird, can I please ask that you try this one anyway?

I come bearing an imperfect analogy. Maresi is like Kill Bill, Vol. 1. It's weird, it throws you into the middle of a WTF story, and it's compelling but also WHAT?! Naondel is Kill Bill, Vol. 2. It's the backstory. There's a more intricate plot, and the world of the story gets so much bigger and makes so much more sense. It's SO FREAKING GOOD.

The richness of the world here is to die for. The first person narration moves through so many different perspectives, yet it actually works perfectly. It shows the lives and cultures of all these different women, who have been brought together under a powerful and ruthless man who will do anything to further his position. And let me just reiterate: do not read this book if you don't want to spend the entire thing so angry and anxious because of this bastard. Seriously.

At the novel's darkest moments it's hard to imagine how it can be called a "feminist" fantasy, but I think this is ultimately a great example of feminism. Many different women, from different backgrounds and cultures, dark and light-skinned women, queer women, and intersex women, all given their own voice in the narrative.

What a horrible beautiful book.

CW: Rape and sexual violence; suicide; forced abortion; slavery.

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Reading Progress

November 29, 2018 – Shelved
March 25, 2019 – Started Reading
March 27, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Bhawna (new)

Bhawna Widhani Emily, any plans to read -https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... ?


Emily May Bhawna wrote: "Emily, any plans to read -https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... ?"

Probably not. Sounds sort of interesting, but I don't have a lot of time to read :)


message 3: by Bhawna (new)

Bhawna Widhani Emily May wrote: "Bhawna wrote: "Emily, any plans to read -https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... ?"

Probably not. Sounds sort of interesting, but I don't have a lot of time to read :)"


Haha! I don't believe you're saying that :P


Tatiana I am very pleased. Two out of two picks worked! :0)


Emily May Tatiana wrote: "I am very pleased. Two out of two picks worked! :0)"

The picks were excellent 👌 Thank you! This one was SO GOOD. I put this one off longer for some reason, but I absolutely loved it!


message 6: by Gemma (new) - added it

Gemma I read Maresi so long ago and loved it but have been putting this one off for some reason. Reading your review has made me want to get to it as soon as possible now.


Emily May Gemma wrote: "I read Maresi so long ago and loved it but have been putting this one off for some reason. Reading your review has made me want to get to it as soon as possible now."

Yes! DO IT.


Emily May Bookworm Baley wrote: "Emily, would you say Naondel is a much darker version of Muse of Nightmares? I read that book recently and made me so so mad but I was honestly glad to have read such a good fucking story by the en..."

I don't think they're comparable, honestly. Muse of Nightmares was incredible, but the writing style, world, story and tone were very different from this one. For one thing, Naondel is a much darker book. Though the story is excellent in its own right.


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I will search out both books! Thanks for the recommendations.


message 10: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Wow, it sounds so good, but as you say, horrible at the same time. Still, five star from you, I want it now. :)


message 11: by Tiia (new) - added it

Tiia Awesome review and thank you for bringing up this Finnish author! I have a reading challenge in which I need to read a local YA book, and I've been struggling to find one I'd actually like to read regardless. I'm a sucker for Kill Bill and revenge stories. Great stuff.


Emily May Laura wrote: "Wow, it sounds so good, but as you say, horrible at the same time. Still, five star from you, I want it now. :)"

I really want more people to read this book! I'm so excited about it - hope you love it too, if that's the right word :)


Emily May Tiia wrote: "Awesome review and thank you for bringing up this Finnish author! I have a reading challenge in which I need to read a local YA book, and I've been struggling to find one I'd actually like to read ..."

Thank you, Tiia! I really hope you think it's as awesome as I do :) I should say that the Kill Bill comparison is not perfect, and more about the way the narrative is structured, but it's still so so good.


message 14: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn Livingston is it better to read this book first or the first of the series then this one?


Emily May Dawn wrote: "is it better to read this book first or the first of the series then this one?"

It is better to read Maresi first, I think, but if it seems strange, then just remember that everything makes more sense with this one.


message 16: by Bookworm Noa (new)

Bookworm Noa "Sounds weard"


message 17: by Thaís (new) - added it

Thaís This book is being translated to Portuguese (Brazilian edition) and I can’t wait! I loved Maresi, it made me very emotional and I keep telling people to read it and how important it is for women, specially considering that we are living under a fascist government that hates women. Knowledge is power. Thank you for your review, Emily. And sorry for any grammar mistake, english is not my first language.


Emily May Thaís wrote: "This book is being translated to Portuguese (Brazilian edition) and I can’t wait! I loved Maresi, it made me very emotional and I keep telling people to read it and how important it is for women, s..."

Yes! I'm so glad this is slowly making it into more people's hands. I hope you enjoy it as much as Maresi (if "enjoy" is the word). Your English was perfect, by the way :)


message 19: by Luana (new)

Luana Gomes I am getting book one today ( it's on sale here in Brazil in anticipation for book 2 release next month) because of your reviews !


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