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.
I freaking ADOOORED Maresi, the first book in his series, so it comes to no surprise that I couldn’t wait to read Naondel. My expectations were sky-high, but I had no doubt that they would be fulfilled. I just knew I was going to love this feminist read, but that is always a dangerous mindset to begin a book.
The story is divided into the POVs of the different women that live together in the Master’s harem, and once we got to the end of the first POV, I knew this was going to be one difficult book to take. And I was right. Even though Naondel is set in a world where some kind of magic exists, what happens to the women are things that are happening here every day.
It had gone so far that mothers in certain regions where the slave scouts were most rife, such as Eliana, disfigured their daughters by shaving their heads, cutting or burning their faces, pulling out their teeth. Anything to try to keep them safe. Those born with a cleft lip or birthmarks were seen as blessed. They were safe.
The number of POVs in this book is large and especially near the ending it gets a little confusing, but all the women are still fleshed-out and clearly different. Even though it was annoying every damn time to read the backstory of a brand-new woman (helloooo, can we go back to the actual story???), but I always got mesmerized by it within a couple of pages. These women are awesome!
The story got completely under my skin, festered there and took over my life for a little while. It’s always difficult to read a story that has so much violence, abuse and rape at its core, but it’s such an important book to read. I ended up absolutely loving it though and I can’t wait for the release of the next book in this series. Bring it on!
Have you read this book? If not, does it sound interesting to you? If yes, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!