25 November 2010

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

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 imposter 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 close to 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 her knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
  • This is the first book of Ms. Marchetta's that I've read (she's also written "On Jellicoe Road," "Saving Francesca," and "Looking for Alibrandi") and let me just say that for this being her first fantasy novel, I was extremely impressed.  I've never come across a style like hers before where there were many things I thought could be improved upon and yet I really enjoyed it.
  • It was raw.  Raw in both the writing and the story.  For example, there were many scenes that I thought could have used some more editing and others that were raw emotionally and it came off brilliantly.  Reading Ms. Marchetta's style of writing and the content was inspiring in a way.  She didn't hold back on anything and for that, I applaud her.
  • This was a very dark book.  But that just made the light more satisfying and uplifting.  I absolutely loved the ending.  And the mystery!  A mystery wrapped inside a mystery!  The beginning was confusing and I was left going, "Ohhkay..." and with any other story I would have given up, but I've been wanting to read this for forever!  So there there was no waaaay I was going to give up then!  The brilliant part?  While confusing at first, it all played out in the end.  I loved how Ms. Marchetta just brought everything together and it made perfect sense.  The revelations made throughout the story made me go, "Oh snap!"  
  • I just wanted to say this: some of the lines could have gone over poorly because of the cliche-ness of it BUT here's the thing--I never thought it was cliche when I was reading it.  The dialogue fit together so wonderfully.  Finnikin is such a forceful character.  He doesn't feel anything halfway.  So everything he says is direct and is believable.
  • I loved the characters.  They were strong, believable and fun to read about.  Their pain and triumphs resonated perfectly.  I thought it interesting how Ms. Marchetta would sometimes write scenes in Froi's point of view.  I thought it was weird at first, but then I kinda got into it and I started to love it.  But I really liked Finnikin's character.  Like I said, very forceful.  Full of emotions and a quick thinker.  Most heroes start to blend together after a while--and very few YA fantasy books are written in the hero's point of view anymore--but Finnikin's character was so raw and honest that the impression his character made on me will last for a long time.
  • I cannot WAIT to get this book!  By either Borders or BookDepository or Amazon, it's gonna happen either way.  The only question is when.  I prefer as soon as possible but the financial problems of a teenager can be rather alarming sometimes.  (Translation: I'm pretty much broke. XD)
  • WARNING!  There is a lot of sexual content (more suggestive rather than explicit) and a lot of dark events, so I'd say this is more for older teens (15 and up).  But there isn't a lot of swearing.
  • "Once in Every Lifetime" by Jem goes great with this book.  You can find it on the soundtrack to the movie Eragon.
  • Overall, an inspiring and fantastic read.  I absolutely loved it.  I can't wait to read some of Ms. Marchetta's other works. :)  (And she's Australian!!  AWESOME accent!  You can view an "interview" with her here.)
  • I hope there's a sequel.  There's plenty of material to work with, methinks.
Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 399
  • published - (AUS) September 2008
  • publisher - Viking Australia
  • genre - fantasy
  • other works by Melina Marchetta -
    • On the Jellicoe Road
    • Saving Francesca
    • Looking for Alibrandi
    • The Piper's Son
  • received via - the library :)