Tuesday 9 September 2014

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: September 29th 2008
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page.


This book did a great job with its world building, which is a must for high fantasy. It even introduced its own mythology, all smoothly done and I needed no adjustment time when I stepped into its world. But I always put the most importance on characters and relationship, and unfortunately I didn't feel that drawn to the characters or invested in their relationships. 

This is surprising considering that there is an important romance at the center of this book. Its not only involving the two primary characters, but it is central to the story and almost everything of significance for the last 10 years has been pointing to it. But I didn't really see or feel what was between them, I was only told. Their relationship felt a bit distant and forced to me. As if it was a matter of fact that I should accept without being convinced of the 'why or 'how'.

I really enjoyed all of the characters, though, independent of any relationships. Pretty much all of them were interesting and unique. Evanjalin included, even though sometimes she grated on me. I actually found the most interesting relationships to be Evanjalin and Froi, and Finnikin and Trevanion.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story and the world and magic, and how everything unfolded and fit perfectly together in the end. I look forward to reading Froi's story and learning more about Skuldenore.

"But it is her hope that bewitches me, and that hope I may never get out of my system, no matter how many times she's to be gotten. Can you not see it burning in her eyes? Does it not make you want to look away when you have none to give in return? Her hope fills me with... something other than this dull weight I wake with each morning."

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