Finnikin of the Rock
by Melina Marchetta
Summary: 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.So basically, I want to marry this book. I think we'd be good together - Alanna of the Rock, works right? And I want to marry Finnikin. And Evanjalin. And most of the characters. And Melina Marchetta. And - okay, so maybe not - but seriously, she is one of my favourite authors (top 3) and I've yet to read one of her books that doesn't make it onto my favourite books list.
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.
This book isn't really my kind of thing...honestly, if it wasn't written by Melina Marchetta, I probably wouldn't have given it a chance. But I did and it was freaking awesome.
It did take me a while to get into it (but that may have something to do with the fact I always tried to read when I was tired) - well, 30-50 pages maybe? - but once I was, I was totally hooked and there were some parts that I was a bit "Huh?"/WTF? at but it didn't make me like it less. I stayed up all night reading it.
The way Melina writes characters is just...wow. She makes them so complex and loveable and hateable and even the loveable ones have flaws and the hateable ones show redeeming qualities because people are like that - we're not all good or all bad, we're just varying shades of gray. And Melina shows that better than the majority of writers I've read.
And her writing? Love it. The style in this one was so different to her other books, not quite as many marking the pages with quotes I love and want to put on tumblr later, but it was still good and well written. And her stories are always so complex and sometimes when I'm reading, it baffles me how she keeps all the details straight in her mind and brings them together in a way that makes sense but...yeah, somehow she does it and it's brilliant.
This review is kind of more...general Melina fangirling (as my reviews of books by my favourite authors tend to go), but the book specifically? I wouldn't know where to begin...I loved the characters, the romance (romance that felt natural and not forced like so many YA books and it felt like a book with romance instead of a romance book), the world - it made me laugh and cry (both happy and sad tears and it is really not easy for a book to make me cry happy but this one did it and it's written in third person which always feels more distanced so it's even more of an accomplishment).
Even if you don't like these kinds of books, I suggest checking this one out, especially if you're a Melina Marchetta fan. And if you've never read any of her books, go do that (her contemporary books are amazing. Seriously.) - I think Finnikin of the Rock is my third favourite of all her books now...Jellicoe Road and The Piper's Son are almost tied for first but JR only slightly wins out.
And I think that is enough fangirling for one review. I really want to read Froi of the Exiles now.