Friday 6 January 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 6th January 2017 - Maresi: The Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff with translation by Annie Prime (Pushkin Press)

This year we're trialing nominating a book of the week from both the picture book and chapter book side of things so our very first Chapter Book of the Week for 2017 is the fantastic "Maresi" by Maria Turtschaninoff...
Throughout 2016, Pushkin Press published some truly amazing children's books - but also a huge host of thoroughly glorious MG and YA titles (Pushkin were the publishers for the fantastic Tonke Dragt books, reaching a western audience for the first time and wowing readers and critics alike).

Once again we're taking a look at a new title that's out on the 14th of January 2017 and will introduce young readers to a fantasy story arc beginning with "Maresi" - Book one in The Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff.

The story begins by introducing us to Maresi, a foundling child who finds her way to the Red Abbey, located on a remote island inhabited only by women.

Before her arrival, 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 and that she is safe from oppression and malice.

Maresi's life and existence seems peaceful at first but when a newcomer named Jai finds her way to the island, that tranquil existence is put in danger. Men are pursuing Jai and will stop at nothing to retrieve her - including slaughtering the inhabitants of the Red Abbey. 

But the Abbey is no ordinary refuge or seat of learning. The sisters therein harness ancient magic powers and forbidden knowledge to protect themselves in times of unrest. It becomes time for Maresi to find bravery and strength within herself to join the sisterhood proper, erasing her dark past and learning their mystical ways before it's too late.

Maria has wrought an incredibly tightly written tale that has a central theme and message that even today is as important as ever. Maresi's story is hugely inspirational, a tale of bravery and magic in a thoroughly unusual and original setting. 

We loved its breathtaking pace and unparalleled tension, the sort of book that you begin at bedtime and still find yourself reading well into the next morning. 

Dazzling, fantastic and at times superbly tense and exciting, this is one to watch. 

"Maresi: The Red Abbey Chronicles Book 1" is out on 14th January, published by Pushkin Press (Kindly sent for review)