Maresi (The Red Abbey Chronicles #1)
By Maria Turtschaninoff
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Maresi is a thirteen year old girl sent to live in an abbey on a fictional seaside land. Families send their girls to the abbey for an education or a better life and each girl has their own story. At the beginning of the novel, Maresi is asked to tell her story of a horrific season that includes a mysterious girl and dangerous visitors.
Maresi is clearly a story about sisterhood and female empowerment and although it does a good job of conveying this message, the story wrapped in this message is a bit on the boring side. This is a slow moving plot and I believe that if you have a slow plot, the novel should be filled with strong character development, or world building, or beautiful prose, or deep dialog but I feel Maresi fell short on all of the above.
We were only given the back story of Maresi and Jai, the mysterious girl, and it took up about one chapter. The world was interesting but because it’s told from Maresi’s POV and she wasn’t allowed to read the history of the founding women, we as the reader aren’t privy to the mythology. The reader is told the what but not the why so I felt disconnected.
Instead we get to see Maresi’s life in the abbey which is full of doors and food-two things that impact her life. The door metaphor in particular is a profound theme but the author bashed the reader over the head with it and it lost it’s impact. Maresi also decided to care for Jai which was also essential to her character development but once again, she’s thirteen so all we get are expositions about Jai being her shadow.
My other issue was the tone. The first third is Maresi telling a story and it’s descriptive as far as the abbey and her day to day but suddenly men come and it a scene right out of Game of Thrones (excuse me, I’ve been rewatching GOT). The men use a lot of “whores” and it becomes sexually abusive. There was foreshadowing but the switch in tone was so abrupt that it led me to think this was an adult fiction book. I don’t say that because of the sexual assault or the language but this story doesn’t seem to want to relate to a teen; it seems to be speaking to adults. Teen fantasy is usually filled with world building and mythology and the WHY. This book has none of that and I see teens getting bored.
Bang Bang Rating