Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

Note: this is the third and final book in the Lumatere Chronicles series. My review will be spoiler-free, but the summary may not be.
Quintana of Charyn
by Melina Marchetta

Summary: There's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn's unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn's war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

I don't even know how to explain just how much I love this book.

I've said, more times than I can count, that Melina Marchetta is one of my favourite authors. She has yet to write a book that I didn't love and most of them make it onto my list of favourite books ever. This book is no exception. This series is excellent.

I love high fantasy TV shows and movies, but I didn't really have much desire to read high fantasy books until I read this series and, with each book in the series, it just left me craving more.

...And I'm getting to a terrible start to this review, because the more I love a book, the more my reaction tends to be along the lines of this:
Or this:
Or this:

And the words just don't want to happen, or don't quite do my feelings justice.

Maybe a list would help. Reasons to love this book (and all Melina Marchetta books):
  • Melina Marchetta writes beautifully. Some of my favourite quotes ever are from her books.
  • She creates characters that I can't help but adore. I feel emotionally invested in the relationships in the book, and not just the main ones, even the little side characters who are often overlooked in other books have the ability to turn me into a quivering ball of emotion or have me grinning like a total idiot as I turn the pages.
  • Re: characters and writing - She writes the characters and their relationships (as in, all relationships, not just romantic ones) with the same realness that she does in her contemporary stories and even though the story is set in this fantasy world with bizarre, unreal things happening, it feels real. Her characters aren't perfect, they have flaws and unique personalities and I adore them for that. For example, I love Isaboe as a character - but in this book, she said and did some things that pissed me off...but at the same time, it made her seem more human and she can't be perfect and all of the characters have that humanity to them.
  • And another character thing: she manages to redeem characters from things that I hadn't thought it would be possible to come back from. Froi does thing in the first book that is awful, and she made me understand him, and care about him and in the end I loved his character even though he tried to do this awful thing...she never made what he did okay, but she makes it so the reader can forgive him and understand how the other characters can forgive him.
  • She's one of those authors that seems to have thought out every detail. She'll mention something in passing that seems insignificant and then it can pop up again later as a loose end being tied that you didn't even realise was still hanging. She weaves it all together so that, in the end, it feels like the story is like a beautifully crafted web where everything ties together perfectly and everything is connected in ways you couldn't see until the end.
  • The way she ends books. She writes endings that are just right. Just the right amount of closure, just the right amount of detail given, just the right amount of stuff  left unsaid, just the right amount of happiness and hope. Just right in every way.
  • The way she writes love stories. There are so many within the pages of this book and the previous two and I internally fangirl just a little bit for each and every one of them and they're each unique in their own ways. (Okay, so maybe I was fangirling more than just a little at parts of this book...)
There's more, but my brain is just not co-operating.

Basically: the book was brilliant; as an ending to a series, like the endings of her books, it was just right. If you haven't read a Melina Marchetta book yet, go read one (Jellicoe Road is my favourite, The Pipers Son and this series are tied for second).

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


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