(Lumatere Chronicles #1)
February 9th, 2010
399 pages (hardcover)
Source - Purchased
"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."
Once again, I am the idiot who almost gave up after reading only a few chapters of a Melina Marchetta novel. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now, right? Thankfully, I dove back into the story (fourth time's the charm), and finally discovered that WOW-factor that I was previously missing. Like all other Marchetta novels, it takes patience and time for the story to bloom into something extraordinary.
Marchetta skillfully and slowly builds a world rich in unique cultures, religions, and characters in her high fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock. There are journey's that sweep across the land, incredible moments of character growth, and the writing in Finnikin of the Rock will sweep you off your feet and drop you into a world filled with danger, surprise, and intrigue1. I tend to use the word "magical" when describing Marchetta's writing style, and this novel is no exception. Quite honestly, if you are not reading Marchetta's novels, then you are missing out on reading extraordinary literature written by one of the most talented YA authors of our time. Marchetta is a skilled storyteller, so don't miss out!
Highlights: The small surprises and the simpler moments between characters made this story wonderful. The characters eventually became some of my favorites because they are so realistic, flawed, and intriguing. The plot itself continuously surprised me and it gave me some wonderfully thoughtful moments to reflect upon. The included maps were helpful. I wish I could spend more of my time rereading Finnikin of the Rock, flipping through the pages and savoring each moment. This book is that good.
Lowlights: It was very difficult to get into but it was completely worth the time that it took before I became fully hooked.
1 I'm keeping quiet about aspects of the plot. Trust me when I say that you want to go into this story with only the book jacket information -- it makes everything all the more magical that way.