All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Finnikin Of The Rock – Melina Marchetta

on September 24, 2012

Finnikin Of The Rock
Melina Marchetta
Penguin AU
2008, 416p
Read from my TBR pile

It has been 10 years since Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher have been home to their beloved Lumatere. Since the five days of the unspeakable when all that ruled their country was lost, their throne brutally destroyed and then stolen and Lumatere put under a curse, many Lumaterians have sought refuge where they can, sleeping in encampments on the borders with other nations.

Finnikin has spent the past 10 years travelling and learning. Sir Topher, taking care of him while his father languishes in a mine prison for treason for not bowing down to the impostor King, has made sure that Finnikin has learned many languages and also the varied fighting styles of the surrounding people. Now Finnikin has been summoned to the High Priestess who delivers to him a woman with a shocking claim – Evanjalin will bring about the return of the heir of the throne of Lumatere, who will open the gates and allow them to reclaim their country. Finnikin cannot help but be skeptical – he is sure his boyhood friend, the Prince Balthazar is dead, also massacred in the invasion that killed all of his family.

But Evanjalin is full of purpose – she is determined to return home and also that the rest of the Lumaterians in exile be able to return home as well. Her strength of conviction and her determination help to temper Finnikin’s distrust and disbelief of her as they travel, hunting down the people that have fled, trying to bring them back together in this time of need and potential change. To Finnikin, Evanjalin represents something he hasn’t had for a long time – hope of seeing his father, his country, his childhood companions again. And she might also represent love, even though she swears to him that she’s bound to the future King.

Finnikin Of The Rock is the first in the Lumatere Chronicles, Melina Marchetta’s venture into fantasy. I hadn’t read this one and it’s follow up, Froi Of The Exiles before now for a couple of reasons – I’m not good at waiting for series’ books and I’d already been warned several times that Froi really does have an epic cliffhanger and also, I’d kind of really lost a bit of interest in fantasy books. But two or three things changed my mind – firstly it’s Melina Marchetta and my rediscovery of her novels this year has been fabulous. I saw her at Melbourne Writers Fest and she said that her fantasy series is just like her contemporary series, the same emotions, the same feelings, the same relationships, just in a fantasy setting and I thought yeah, I really need to get back into this. These are the only books of hers I hadn’t read and I wanted to really round out my investigation of her backlist. And also, the third novel, Quintana of Charyn turned up in my mailbox for review and I no longer had to wait! I could read all 3 one after the other and keep the story fresh in my mind. So I rushed out and bought both Finnikin and Froi and prepared to get stuck in.

This book is such a wild ride – we open with a prologue that gives us a tiny bit of the before and then a summary of the five days of the unspeakable and I was utterly hooked from that! In such a short amount of time, Marchetta manages to convey the devastation of a nation, the splintering and fracturing, the fleeing. Immediately I wanted to know so much more and I ended up reading this book basically in one sitting!

Finnikin is an interesting character, he was about 8 or 9 when his world splintered apart, he lost his father and was entrusted to the care of others. He’s at times abrasive and rude, distrustful and skeptical of Evanjalin and her mission. Her faith slowly brings him around but it doesn’t stop him arguing with her, questioning her and later on, trying to protect her. I really loved the evolution of their relationship – Marchetta does underlying attraction hidden behind hostility so well, I could put myself in their places easily and feel what they were feeling.

Evanjalin is a really incredible character. Without giving too much away about her, because it’s really best to read the book and figure it out for yourself, her strength and courage amazed me. She is the sort of woman I love to read about in novels, with such steadfast determination and knowledge of what she had to do even though it would have personal consequences for her, a burden for her to carry. I ended up so invested in her story and in her!

The character of Froi, a thief that ends up as part of their party after he steals Evanjalin’s ring was a character that grew on me quite surprisingly. He starts off as quite loathesome – a thief, a snitch, a little sneak who has very little in the way of any redeeming qualities at all. His time spent with Topher, Finnikin, Evanjalin and the various people they collect with them on their journey back to Lumatere and his witnessing of what it is that they’re doing helps to slowly improve his character. He’s never been shown love or respect or friendship in his life most likely and although they aren’t unkind to him in the beginning, they really tolerate him only as being less of a nuisance with them than to let him go. But his evolution is quite interesting and he moves to front and centre in the second volume, Froi Of The Exiles and I can’t wait to find out what happens in his story.

I am glad I held off on reading these because I think it’s going to be a fabulous experience to be able to sit down and read them in a short time frame. Marchetta’s trademark beautiful writing and a really well established and fleshed out world makes for a truly wonderful series.

9/10

Book #180 of 2012

Finnikin Of The Rock is the 60th novel read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012


4 responses to “Finnikin Of The Rock – Melina Marchetta

  1. Danielle says:

    Yay! So glad you love it 🙂
    You’re very lucky to be reading all three in one sitting – I’m going to go back and do re-read of the trilogy over the Xmas break, as a little treat for me.

  2. Belle says:

    YAY! So glad you loved this! I’ve ordered it so as soon as it comes in I’ll be reading it. I was waiting for Quintana too.

  3. I have this one sitting on my TBR pile and now i’m wishing i could get to it sooner! Sounds like a lovely read and i didn’t even realise the next two books have already been released.

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