Thursday, 6 April 2017

Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 480
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books 
Released: 6th of April 2017 

In the opulent palace of Ohaddin, women have one purpose - to obey. Some were brought here as girls, captured and enslaved; some as servants; some as wives. All of them must do what the Master tells them, for he wields a deadly and secret power. But the women have powers too. One is a healer. One can control dreams. One is a warrior. One can see everything that is coming. In their golden prison, the women wait. They plan. They write down their stories. They dream of a refuge, a safe place where girls can be free. And, finally, when the moon glows red, they will have their revenge. 

Trigger Warning: Rape, Abuse, Suicide, Depression, Miscarriage 

What I Have to Say 

The first of these books was okay. It was a bit slow, but it had a fairly good story. I liked it enough to want to read more, especially since Naondel is more of a prequel, showing the women who founded the Red Abbey. I was looking forward to seeing their journey and how they voyaged across to find the island. But what I got was just a lot of rape. 

I don't mind reading about rape any more than I mind reading about murder or abuse. If it's important to the story and written in a way that doesn't glorify it, I'm okay with it. But this book just had so much of it. There were about three girls in the whole novel who weren't raped. It was awful and I didn't really want to read on. This is a book about the oppression of women. I knew that going in. But there are other ways to oppress women. I expected a bit of abuse. I thought there probably would be some sort of rape or forced marriage, but this was just too much. Turtshaninoff didn't bother thinking of any other ways of oppressing women. I expected a feminist book about women fighting against oppression, but I honestly don't think this was very feminist at all. 

I'd also been looking forward to seeing the women sailing across the sea, maybe a bit of them setting up the island and working out the rules. I got about a paragraph summarizing their journey. I'd have rather this paragraph have been extended and made up the bulk of the book. 

There are so many ways they could have shown this book without so much detail about the rapes. It didn't have to be the way it was. They could have glossed over it, faded to black. Anything so I didn't have to read it all. But they didn't and so I hated this book. 

My thanks go to Pushkin Press and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

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