Monday, May 14, 2012
Book Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Finding a good epic fantasy nowadays is like trying to search for a four leaf clover. Okay...maybe that's a bit exaggerated. But really, there aren't many of them. It's like we've lost our love for them. Yes, there are plenty of adult fantasy novels, but for some reason the river runs dry in the YA selection. That's why I was very excited to pick up Finnikin of the Rock. I love finding a story set in a world so far from our own I don't even get how the author came up with it. Here's the blurb from Amazon:
Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she 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.
Okay, there's a big twist towards the end of the book that I figured out within the first ten pages, but despite not being at all surprised, I was still fully engrossed in the story. The world that Finnikin lives in is harsh, bloody, and painful. It's fully disturbing. And it felt real. Melina Marchetta did a great job of describing the atrocities the people of Lumatere endure. The disease and prejudice, it was cringe worthy. The romance in this book is fairly light, with the main focus on Finnikin's journey in trying to save Lumatere, and I didn't mind that at all. It was also great learning more about the history of Finnikin's world without a bunch of info dump. All in all it was enjoyable and I found myself wanting more. Which is good since there's a sequel: Froi of the Exiles. Now the character of Froi in Finnikin tries to do something I find unforgivable, so I'm curious to see how Melina will redeem him. So, if you're like me and have felt that emptiness in the pit of your stomach that can only be filled by an epic fantasy, then pick up Finnikin of the Rock.