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Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock

by Melina Marchetta

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lumatere Chronicles (book 1)

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Ten years ago the entire royal family of Lumatere was slain and the kingdom fell under a curse. Surrounded by an impenetrable magic barrier, half of her people remain trapped inside with an evil king and half wander the land outside as exiles. On the outside, Finnikin and his guardian Sir Topher have struggled to find a home for the Lumateren exiles, but when they meet an exile named Evanjalin who claims the heir to the throne is alive, they have to consider the possibility that they have a hope of returning home.

It could just have been too long since I’ve read an epic fantasy story, but I really reveled in all of the great but somewhat expected elements in this book. It never felt cliched to me; just like it was exactly what it should be. It struck me as the sort of story that my history-major friends who wish they lived in the middle ages would dream of living. It was epic. The actions of the characters affect the fate of countries Both great heroism and great sacrifice are called for. There were prophecies, curses, quests, missing heirs, and magic kingdoms. All of the elements a great epic fantasy needs were present and accounted for.

I think what kept all of this epicness from becoming over the top or cliched was the author’s amazing way with characters. All of the characters felt unique and three-dimensional. All had their strengths and their flaws. They didn’t always get along, but they did discuss their problems like human beings, instead of like frustrating characters in some young adult novel. They didn’t make their own problems. Even our hero is portrayed as very human and the author addresses some impressively modern gender role issues through his relationship with Evanjalin. Although this lacked some of the depth and world building you might see in a longer novel, overall I thought this was an incredibly impressive story with great characters.

This review was first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
I had heard wonderful things about this book and love fantasy. So, I was very excited to finally read this book. I ended up being a bit disappointed in the awkward dialogue and some of the characters.

I listened to this on audiobook and that may be part of the reason I wasn't really drawn into this story. The voices on the audiobook were a bit over characterized and goofy sounding at points. I am not sure if this is what made the dialogue between characters sound awkward or if that was just how it was written.

Finnikin of the Rock and Sir Topher have not been home to Lumatere for many years; no since their kingdom was overthrown and put under an evil curse. However, Finnikin is called to meet a young woman with special powers named Evanjalin. Upon meeting her, Finnikin finds that she claims that the heir to Lumatere, Balthazar, is still alive. This leads Finnikin on a quest to put together a group to find Balthazar and retake Lumatere. However, Evanjalin has some deep secrets of her own that may change everything.

This is a decent fantasy story, but it took quite a while for me to really get engaged and interested in it...like over half the book. I didn't really like the relationship between Finnikin and Evanjalin. Finnikin is too selfish, commanding, and his temper changes with lightning quickness. Evanjalin is too passive and secretive, with inconsistent flashes of stubbornness. I hate that Evanjalin expects everyone to trust her after she lies over and over again (granted she has good reason to lie), it was just so silly.

Finnikin's unwillingness to interpret the prophecy about the queen of Lumatere in any other way aside from the one he thought was right was strange and drove much of the storyline. Prophecies are notoriously vague and to think there is only one way to interpret them is incredibly conceited. Pretty much Evanjalin’s lying and Finnikin’s stubborness drove this whole plot. If they had been honest and understanding to each other there wouldn’t have been much of a book here at all.

There were a number of side characters and they all lacked depth and really just weren’t that engaging. On top of that the plot was fairly predictable. There are a number of twists and turns thrown at the reader but none of them are all that surprising.

Overall most of this novel just fell flat for me. It’s an okay fantasy with a mediocre plot and characters. Sure there is a very passionate and combative romance between Finnikin and Evanjalin. But I didn't really enjoy them as characters, the surrounding characters didn't have a whole lot of depth either, and the plot came across as contrived and a bit confusing at times. Needless to say I won't be reading anymore books in this series. It’s an okay fantasy novel, but there are much better YA fantasy books out there. ( )
  krau0098 | Jun 2, 2014 |
This one has grown on me. It sounded good just reading the cover. The growth of the charachters is well thought out, they evolve into people you want to know about and you want to see what happens to them, you want to shake them and hug them. You find yourself wanting shake them at times- like when Evangeline is pulling the strings behind the scenes and you don't quite understang just why but when you learn who she is and what she has been through, it all starts to make sense. Finnikin's reunion with his father is unexpected and the relationship seems to more or less pick up where it left off, with pappa amazed at how well his boy has turned out. The supporting cast is well rounded and you want know more about each one. Can't wait to find out what happens next. Loved the ending. Finnikin fianlly woke up to stop being a jerk and accept his role as "Evangeline's" soul mate. The Evangeline twist took me off gaurd, it was a pleasant suprise. ( )
  LoftyIslanders | Mar 18, 2014 |
Wow, this is definitely going to be among my all time favorite high fantasy reads. Thanks so much Maja for recommending this. ( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
Check out more of my reviews at Celestial Carousel!

Finnikin of the Rock struck me in a way I was not expecting.
I had, of course, heard nearly unending praise from the book blogging world, but outside of the internet, I’ve never actually heard mention of the Lumatere Chronicles. I eventually decided to pick it up as part of a readathon hosted by fellow book blogs A Novel Idea and Bookish Whimsy… I’m very glad I did.

I was slow to start Finnikin, partially because I went into it fully armed with an unfair prejudice against high fantasy. I have a hard time sinking my teeth into books full of strange, sixteen-syllable names and and long-winded fight scenes. Finnikin wasn’t like that, though. The author actually made very beautiful and fitting twists on familiar names and everything was firmly on the comfortable side of foreign. What I would call the “boring” bits of most high fantasy novels were nearly completely omitted in this novel–while there were battles and winding travels, the reader wasn’t forced to endure them along with the characters.

It wasn’t long after Evanjalin came onto the scene that I was really completely sold. I was so intrigued by her character and the mystery that surrounded her (this is how true fantasy heroines are written!)–and not long after, I fell in love with just about every other character, from Trevanion to Froi. I didn’t always like Finnikin (or several other characters, to be fair), but I think that’s ultimately why I ended up loving him. The characters were real. They faltered. They failed. They were shaped by the events in their lives. They expressed so many facets of personality that at times it was hard to describe them in just a few traits–and after all, isn’t that true for all of humanity?

From the characters to the story to the narrative itself (I especially loved the chapters from Froi’s point of view!), I’m struggling to find faults in Finnikin of the Rock. This book grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go. Even when you don’t want to love the characters. Even when the story is almost painful to read, you can’t stop.

I literally read the bulk of this book in two sittings. Would I recommend Finnikin of the Rock? Yes. Yep. Absolutely. Melina Marchetta weaves a brilliant fantasy world with a wonderful cast of characters that I was reluctant to leave–and look very much forward to visiting again in the next installment in the Lumatere Chronicles! ( )
  sammieclaire | Feb 26, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marchetta, Melinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cummings, JeffreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

-- If This A Man by Primo Levi
For Marisa and Daniela,
because I have always loved being a Marchetta sister...
First words
(PROLOGUE): A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamt he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.
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No descriptions found.

Now on the cusp of manhood, Finnikin, who was a child when the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and replaced by an imposter, reluctantly joins forces with an enigmatic young novice and fellow-exile, who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne of Lumatere.… (more)

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Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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