Friday, February 21, 2014

5 Star Review - Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1
Author: Melina Marchetta
Release Date: 2008
Pages: 416
Goodreads Rating: 4.08 stars
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Content Rating: Very mature YA or Adult (Contains sexual situations, including abuse and prostitution; violence)

Summary from Goodreads: Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.


Finnikin of the Rock reminded me of my epic fantasy roots - this was the type of book that I read as a teen, the type of book that made me fall completely in love with reading. Well, I was not disappointed.  Finnikin of the Rock was beautifully written and made me laugh, swoon and cry.  Here's the details:

The negatives:
  • Figured out the twist.  This wasn't much of a negative because I didn't feel like Marchetta really did much to broadcast it (and honestly, I almost always seem to figure out the twists in books early on), but I had a feeling about one of the main twists in the book almost from the beginning.  The sign of a great author, though, is when I figure out the twist and still can't wait to keep reading!! (Which was the case here.)
What I LOVED:
  • Strong characters.  Oh my! Was there a character in this book that I didn't love? I really don't think so. Evanjalin is an amazingly strong female character - full of fire and passion, and yet also displaying an amazing emotional depth. Her strength of character is pretty much universally admired (but not immediately - she has to earn then men's trust, which she does). The thing that struck me most about Evanjalin, though, was her constant sense of hope and perseverence. Sometimes things looked bleak, but she always believed with her whole heart that their people could be saved - and was willing to die trying if necessary. Finnikin is equally awesome. He's also strong, but he does have his flaws, making him a realistic and sympathetic character. Add in some amazing secondary characters (LOVED Finnikin's dad) and you have a recipe for an engaging story!
  • The worldbuilding.  I think that Marchetta did a fantastic job with the worldbuilding in this book. I felt like I had a good understanding of the political structure (which was very important) and the fantastical elements of the book - most importantly, Evanjalin's dream walking. I do hope that I get to learn a bit more about the magic in the future books in this series, but I felt like this book had enough detail to keep me happy.
  • The romance. I loved that the romance in this book was slow-building and that Finnikin had to overcome some personal hang-ups before he could truly admit his feelings for Evanjalin. This is the type of book that doesn't always necessarily have a happy ending (especially not in book #1 of a series), so I was definitely in suspense, waiting to see if things would work out for the couple I had come to love. 
  • The mystery. I said that I figured out one of the main twists, but I still enjoyed the journey to see if I was right. And there were plenty of other smaller surprises that kept me engaged and, often, surprised!!  I also loved that this book didn't end on a cliffhanger - all of the central mysteries are solved.  While I'm excited to read the next book, you could read this book as a standalone (but why wouldn't you want to read them all?!).
If you're a fan of epic fantasy, you should definitely pick this one up. I'm so glad that so many people recommended this one because I hadn't heard of it before my blogging days. Now I can't wait to read the whole series! 5/5 Stars



buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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16 comments:

  1. I have heard the best things about this series but STILL haven't read them! I really need to get on that. So happy you loved it so much. The characters being so well done leads me to believe I'd like this a lot.

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    1. That was totally me too - the last time I read a raving review of it, I just decided to get it right then!

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  2. YES!!! OMG!! I so love that You love this! This book, the whole Lumatere Chronicles, is hands down one of my top 5 favorites!! Melina Marchetta's writing is just.... I LOVE IT! lol
    And the BEST thing about this trilogy is that each book gets better and better so your gonna freak when you read Froi of the Exiles! AMAZING!! (and don't get me started on Quintana of CHaryn)

    If you enjoyed this High/Epic Fantasy then you gotta read Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. (if you haven't already) I just finished it yesterday and OMG! AMAZEBALLS!

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    1. I've read a lot of amazing things about Falling Kingdoms - I definitely need to read that one too!

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  3. This is such an amazing book, I'm so glad you loved it!! Melina Marchetta really has a gift - I loved how well story, characters and world-building was blended in this and the whole series! Great review!

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    1. Yes, I will definitely be reading more Marchetta in the future!

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  4. Sounds good! I am going to have to add this to my TBR! Great review!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  5. Sounds great! Another one from you to add to my to read list! :)

    (Sorry about double comment, the first one linked to my Google profile instead of my Wordpress!)

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    1. No problem - every once in awhile technology does something unexpected!

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  6. Strong character and awesome world build? Wow sounds like she hit it on the nail with this one. Awesome review.

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  7. I hadn't heard of this book before. It sounds like fun. I am quite jealous that you can usually pick out plot twists. I am usually caught unawares! :)

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    1. Yes, it's both a blessing and a curse. Kind of fun to figure it all out, but then sometimes I end up just waiting for the characters to catch up with me!

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  8. Goodreads keeps recommending this book to me. I've been holding off on it, but maybe I should give it a chance. You've made me really curious!

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