Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: Finnkin Of The Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin Of The Rock by Melina Marchetta

Series: Lumatere (#1)
Pages: 416
Publisher: Viking Australia
Published: September 29th, 2008
IBSN: 9780670072811

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere. 

And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe. 

Until the 'five days of the unspeakable', when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne. 

And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps. 

But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of Light...

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

I was at first hesitant to read Finnikin Of The Rock. I mean, I have complete faith that Melina Marchetta can write a great novel, but an epic fantasy? So I took a few chapters to get into the story, but after that I was glad I did pick it up.

Finnikin is the son of Lumatere's captain of the guard, and after 'the five days of the unspeakable', he's become the king's first man's apprentice. He meets the gifted novice, Evanjalin, on his travels, and she reveals that the heir to the throne of Lumatere is alive, and they can find him and take back their homeland.

The plot isn't as straightforward as the synopsis would lead you to believe. There are turns, unexpected twists, and revelations that keep you constantly at the edge of your seat.

Melina Marchetta doesn't create characters, she creates people. Finnikin, Evanjalin, Trevanion (who has the coolest name EVER, by the way), 
Sir Topher - hell, everyone - felt real and dynamic. I really felt for Finnikin and Evanjalin, and really rooted for their relationship.

The best thing about Melina Marchetta's books is - or at least, what I think the best thing about them is - the way they're written. Her prose evokes so much emotion from the reader. The style she uses is beautiful and vivid and heart-wrenching.

The only negative thing about this book to me would be the ending. It was the realistic conclusion to the story, and it was satisfying, sure. But it was dragged out longer than I felt it needed to be. I like my books to resolve the main plot, and then tie up the smaller subplots in a chapter or two, but this book had so many subplots and background stories that it couldn't end that quickly after the denouement.

Recommend it for fans of: Graceling, Mistwood, and Melina Marchetta's other books.

I give Finnikin Of The Rock a 4 out of 5.


I read this book for the Aussie YA Reading Challenge.