Author: Maria Turtschaninoff
Published by: Pushkin Children's Books
Publication date: 14th January 2016
Genres: Young Adult/Fantasy/Finnish Literature
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Maresi is a Finnish, feminist fantasy story set on an idyllic, women-only island where everyone is safe - or supposed to be.
To be honest, I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. It sounded right up my street but I think because this isn't something I would usually pick up, I expected it to take ages for me to get into. However, I actually think this book holds the most intriguing first page of all time - seriously - and I was hooked. The world-building is spectacular and so vivid that I could see it all in my mind. That said, I hope the final edition has a map - not because it particularly needs one, but because this seems like the sort of story that should have one. And it would be pretty!
As well as the world-building, I loved the lack of romantic relationships in this book because, honestly, I can't remember the last time I read a book where someone wasn't pining after someone else. It was refreshing and a good change from what I normally read. Instead, it focuses on friendship and sisterhood, something I think YA needs more of.
Like booktuber Casey said in her review, Maresi made me proud to be a woman. It also made me realise that I should be reading more fantasy. It's a genre I enjoy and yet weirdly forget about, and after Maresi I will definitely be looking for more fantasy novels to add to my (mile-long...) bookshelf.
In a nutshell, Maresi is an incredible book and part of me wants to give it its own shelf complete with a velvet cushion. They're vastly different, but if you liked Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours, you'll love this. Maresi is fantastically original and I am so glad I read it. It's a very important read.