So, I don’t really know where to start with this book. I didn’t have a favourite quote.
This book was not what I expected it to be, I didn’t like it but I also did.
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.
This book was dark. Really dark. It is published by Pushkin’s Children’s book and listed under teens and young adults. This is definitely not a book fit for that audience.
I didn’t know what to expect as this is the second book in the series ‘The Red Abbey Chronicles’ which I didn’t know when I started reading. However, it’s a prequel to the first book and can be read as a stand alone. I was intrigued by this book due to the beautiful cover and short blurb.
It was well written, so well written that it made me feel disgusted by the antagonist, he is truly evil. Ishka, the master, also the Vezier to the king, is very power hungry. He has come into touch with a powerful spring that allows him to see the future, pull in people’s deaths and keep him strong. He kills as he pleases, rapes as he pleases and kills the unborn children of his wife if they are girls. The book starts off as any other book but quickly takes a dark turn when he rapes his soon-to-be wife.
And that is what this book is, different women telling the story of their background before they come to the kingdom, how they came to be in the kingdom and then how Ishka humiliates them, rapes them and makes them feel like death is a better option. With the way it was written I felt humiliated for them, I felt depressed and hurt for them, which is something I really didn’t enjoy.
But, and yes there is a but, I see why it was written this way. We need to understand why the women want revenge, why they want to escape and why they want to set up a safe place for girls and women who have had a tough upbringing. And I did. It was very, very clear. Nothing was sugar coated, and the rapes didn’t go into detail, but it was enough.
I started enjoying the book about halfway in, as the women start realising their strength, working together and planning their escape. You see the women grow, you see how powerful they can be. And this was beautiful.
All the women are different, they have different strengths and powers and use these to their benefit. They come together, even though they alienate the other. There is also a character who I think is a hermaphrodite (I’m not sure it was never fully explained whether she actually had both sexes or whether she felt like she was both sexes). A romance blooms up between her and another one of the women. I really liked this, you see it blooming throughout. And again, it was so well written that when it got to the good parts, the positive powerful parts, it was so beautiful.
I would recommend this book to people but only if you feel like you are capable of reading about torment, humiliation and heavy subjects like rape. The ending is beautiful and that is why this book is definitely worth the read. But it seems to take a long time to get there. This book just wasn’t for me, I think I got too emotionally involved.
If you decide to read this book and share a review, let me know what you think about it.
Love Mallory x
I was sent a copy through Netgalley to give my honest opinion.