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Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Melina Marchetta

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2572444,496 (4.56)29
Member:karryn_p
Title:Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles
Authors:Melina Marchetta
Info:Candlewick (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta (2011)

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  1. 20
    Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (Herenya)
    Herenya: "Froi of the Exiles" is set three years after "Finnikin of the Rock".
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A fast-paced plot with great characters, who show real emotions - the couples bicker, the friends joke. There are plot twists to keep you guessing and a bit of magic (magic realism?) thrown in for good measure. The landscapes are nicely drawn and sat comfortably in my imagination. Now I need to read the next one. ( )
  devilish2 | Jan 1, 2014 |
I have been oscillating between 4 and 5 stars on this one and after a few days to think about it and then re-reading parts, I'm going back to 4 stars.

This is a very good book, I Liked it a lot. Notice the capital "L"? Now [b:Finnikin of the Rock|4932435|Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)|Melina Marchetta|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1227961623s/4932435.jpg|4998084] I LOVE dearly and felt the need to run out and buy and then press into the hands of all of my family and friends.

I am certainly recommending Froi and I read it straight through a weekend but my intense feelings are still with the first book (I think I am in the minority here after reading reviews.)

Marchetta is an amazing writer and I continue to marvel at the way she can make me laugh and cry so quickly. I must admit, I figured a few things out early but here is the beauty of Melina's writing...

I.Did.Not.Care.


My only complaint?

Having to wait for the third book. ( )
  mkpiry | Sep 26, 2013 |
Oh, internet peoples, you have not lied to me. Finnikin of the Rock was good but rather slow, due to the set up of the word building. Froi, though, is a thing of beauty, and I loved every single moment of it. All the world building in book one was so that the awesomeness could happen now. *happy sigh* If this is indicative of Melina Marchetta's usual writing, it's safe to say that I'm going to be a huge fangirl.

Where Finnikin of the Rock took a couple hundred pages to really get started, Froi of the Exiles had my attention from the first page and never let go. Though just under six hundred pages long, this book in no way felt long. In fact, I would have read more happily. Were it not for my ridiculous system by which I determine what I read next, I would have gone straight into Quintana of Charyn because I have a FIERCE need to know what happens next. If you're hesitant about wading through the world building in book one, it's worth it, because Froi of the Exiles continues to have awesome world building, but also focuses on the amazing cast of characters. The feels have been located!

Marchetta uses a rotating limited third person narration. Even within chapters, the character being followed can change, but there's always a page break to indicate the switch. Usually, in a story like this, with the main characters split into two different places, one of the story lines is boring and you're just sitting there waiting to get back to the juicy stuff. Though Froi's arc was more exciting, I was also desperate to find out what was going on back in Lumatere, so did not begrudge the POV switches in the slightest. Also, even though third is a bit distancing, I still felt very connected to everyone. Melina Marchetta is a great example of showing, rather than telling.

The beauty of this series lies in just how flawed everyone is. No one is perfect, though Finnikin and Isaboe do come close in the eyes of the people; we know their flaws well from the previous book. Most of them are not unusually attractive, except for Lirah; even the others who used to be have had their looks and bodies destroyed. In Froi of the Exiles, the main characters are even more messed up. Froi, an exile from who knows well, has found a home in Lumatere, but is still haunted by the things he did in his past, afraid to really let himself live lest he break his bond to Isaboe. Froi of the Exiles does focus on him more than anyone else, but it's not just about him.

Sent to Charyn to impersonate one of the last borns (literally the last children born to Lumatere eighteen years before), Froi is charged with assassinating the King of Charyn and Quintana, his crazy daughter, as well. Of course, the people and Quintana expect him to impregnate her, also a last born, to complete the prophecy and end the curse of barrenness in Charyn. Froi must confront his past and his demons to survive his mission.

Quintana is one of the most fucked up heroines I've ever read. There's a brilliant description of Quintana by one of the other characters, so I'll borrow that: "'She'll be strangely intriguing...With a touch of mystery and savagery that will bewitch only the bold and courageous among us'" (572). When I called Quintana crazy, I meant that literally. She also is savage, growling at people and prone to attack at the smallest provocation. However, she's also been abused all of her life, both verbally and physically. Since she was thirteen, she's been sexually abused in attempts to end the curse. There's a reason she's so broken, and it's really just impressive that she functions as well as she does.

Other flawed cast members that I really just can't help loving: Lucian, Phaedra, Arjuro, Gargarin, Tippideaux, Lirah, and De Lancey. Yes, I may have just listed most of the characters in the book, but, whatever, they're the best. Every single one of them will give you cause to hate them at some point, but they're so real and trying so hard and I just want to hug them all and force them to live happily ever after.

Speaking of happily ever after, which totally is not happening in Froi fyi, Melina Marchetta writes the freaking best romances. Or, at least, they work perfectly for me. See, she rocks the whole hate to love gambit and that just gets me every time. The couples are angry and mistrusting and awkward, so I'm just sitting there reading and yelling at them to get over themselves and realize how perfect they are for one another already. With most of the romances in this series, the couples almost don't show one another affection at all, but it's there, and I suspect it doesn't bode well for me that I find that so emotionally appealing. Odds are that several of my ships are going to be separated by death and GAH my body is not ready.

My only slight reservation with Froi is that it felt like Marchetta pulled her punches there at the end. Some really serious shit had gone down and I was about to cry an ocean worth of tears, but then I realized that nothing was really as big of a deal as it was made out to be. On the one hand, I'm happy because tragedy sort of avoided, but, on the other, nothing's more badass then letting that tragedy stand and making everyone get past it. Of course, being somewhat nice here at the end of Froi might just be a trick to make me let my guard down so she can decimate me emotionally in Quintana.

Fantasy-loving friends, this series should probably happen in your life. Melina Marchetta has now proved her adeptness at world building and characterization, and her writing has been stellar all the way through. I will be reading through the other books in my pile as quickly as possible so that I can get to Quintana because I must know what happens. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Aug 11, 2013 |
Review originally published on my blog: AWordsWorth.blogspot.com
Book provided by publisher for review.

Picking up the story three years after Finnikin and Isaboe return Lumatere to peace and life, there's still much unrest among the nations of Skuldenore. After years of heartache and deception, finding peace is difficult, especially for Queen Isaboe. When a Charyn rebel appears in the Valley, below Lucian and the Monts' mountain, with a plea for help in the assasination of the Charyn king (the one who orchestrated the horror of the Lumaterans), Finnikin and his Guard are cautious but curious. As they discuss things, Froi finds himself strangely drawn to this Charynite. And with his undeniable skill, and brains, it's not a surprise when it is decided that Froi will slip into Charyn, under the pretense of being Olivier, the Last Born of Sebastopol, and kill the king. But things are rarely as simple as they seem, and Froi quickly realizes there is more to Charyn than he thought - and more to himself as well.

If the curse over Lumatere was hard and complicated, the curse hanging over Charyn is ten times more difficult. On the day Princess Quintana was born, all pregnant women miscarried, and no child had been born since. The Last Borns were treasured, and through them the curse is promised to be broken. Specifically, through Quintana. But Charyn politics are insane, and Quintana is thought to be at least half-mad and quite probably possessed. Froi knows better than to get involved, with any of it. But ... he can't help himself. And as he finds himself drawn into the complicated network of alliances and grudges and fighting, he discovers that what he thinks he knows is only scratching the surface.

I stayed up entirely too late reading this book. It sucked me in, drew me deep into the story. I became emotionally invested and connected with the characters. Froi, struggling to balance his bonds, to know what to do, to know who he is - he stole my heart. Quintana is a force to be reckoned with, and the entire cast of characters have surprising depth. When it ended, I was left feeling like someone had slammed into my chest, knocking me breathless and hanging over the edge of a cliff. Torture. Book hangover of a scale I haven't experienced since Pegasus. Thankfully, I had Quintana at hand and could quickly pick up the story again -- so do not read Froi without ready access to Quintana. You've been warned. ( )
  RivkaBelle | Jun 24, 2013 |
I resisted reading Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles because I expected to love them and knew waiting for the final installment, Quintana of Charyn, would be hell. My foray into the world of Skuldenore did not start well, however, as Finnikin of the Rock failed to wow me. But I am an eternal book optimist¹ and quitting a series, especially one penned by the masterful Melina Marchetta, is rarely an option. Lucky for me, I placed my faith in the right place because Froi of the Exiles improves greatly on its predecessor.¹I am still full of self-doubt over my premature abandonment of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series; I keep thinking, but what if Martin learned to write??? Oh and I forced my way through Breaking Dawn. Because somehow I (foolishly) believed it would get better.Sure, I have similar complaints about Froi of the Exiles as I did with Finnikin of the Rock. I still question the legitimacy of Marchetta’s linguistic worldbuilding. In this series, linguistic differences are crucially important; they emphasize cultural and identity differences, which in turn fuel most of the conflict. It is unbelievable that these disparate languages would exist in such close proximity, and I became even more exasperated when Marchetta’s own writing undermined the fact that the characters were supposed to be speaking fictional dialects. Her use of the distinctly Australian term “lad” pulled me out of a land of castles and curses and instead placed me in downtown Sydney. She also makes reference to rhymes that only exist in English, not Lumateran or Charynite. Overall, though, I find Marchetta’s prose to be uncomplicated and subtle. It is never extraordinary but it is especially calming and lulls you into the narrative. I just wish she’d be more careful with her word choice and wordplay when writing fantasy because dialect and language are vital to building a world not based on our earth.

Another thing I’ve noticed about Marchetta is her proclivity to melodrama.² I love books that make me think and feel, but I think (and feel) that Marchetta can overdo it sometimes. In my review of Jellicoe Road, I remarked that its ending is one circumstance of such histrionics, and the ending to Froi of the Exiles was no different. I couldn’t help but snicker during a climactic farewell scene featuring a character near death, repeated gushy goodbyes, promises to “not stop breathing” until they become reunited, and of course, TEARS on TEARS on TEARS. At one of the novel’s most pivotal junctures, it read like a soap opera, unrealistic yet hilarious. In addition to this failure to properly resonate emotionally, Marchetta packs in several critical events and plot reveals in the final pages, leaving us with a horrible cliffhanger—a plot device that always cheapens a novel and creates a seemingly interminable wait until the next book.²or at least, what I’d define as melodrama. But then again I’m an unfeeling, aloof statue so anything vaguely emotional may be categorized as melodramatic in my mind.Many of Marchetta’s staples are here, though, and shine in full force. She delivers on her typical specialty—characters with rich and complicated backstories. Froi, the titular character who served as a minor character in the first novel, is infinitely more interesting than Finnikin or Evanjalin. In particular, I thought Marchetta did a fine job in depicting his struggles for self-control and redemption after the events of the first book when he attempted to rape Evanjalin. Not many authors succeed in such a task, but she makes Froi both forgivable and even, dare I say it?, understandable and sympathetic. Joining Froi are Quintana, the oh-so-beautifully damaged Princess of Charyn, Gargarin and Arjuro, two identical twins sharing a tragic past, and Lirah, the whore of Charyn’s king. The rapports and the secret history between these characters are the highlights of the novel.

So I’ve rambled on and on without mentioning what the novel is about! The premise is unequivocally brilliant. For the past 18 years, Charynites have been unable to birth children. Taking advantage of this unrest, Froi enters Charyn as a Lumateran assassin out to avenge his country for their period of exile. He slowly discovers the events leading to this curse on the kingdom, and as they are revealed, feelings of loss, regret, and shame ensue. It’s a slow yet gentle tale about what it means to find a home and a family. ( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
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To Laura
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and New York playlists
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They called her Quintana the cursemaker.
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"Your father lives in the chamber beside us, Finnikin. You speak to him every night and every morning and if for some reason you can't sleep through the night, you speak to him then as well. Do you not see that as an attachment?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
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Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family but is soon sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn where he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess.… (more)

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