Author: Melina Marchetta
Title: Finnikin of the Rock
Series: Lumatere Chronicles (#1)
Publisher: Candlewick Press (first published September 29th 2008)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“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 impostor 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 toward 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 he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page “ GoodReads’ blurb
In all fantasy circles, Finnikin of the Rock is quite well known, and its upcoming sequel is very anticipated. Well, I completely understand why!
Finnikin of the Rock feels, in many ways, a classic for the genre. Genre being secondary world fantasy, not the urban kind, by the way. But, instead of presenting the classic concept of an epic fight between good and evil, where the heroes do... heroic things to prevail in the end, Marchetta presents us a conflict of people.
There is darkness in this novel, though. There is definite evil. But it’s not the Dark Overlord – it’s called “fear”, and it lives within every human being.
There is an epic fight, too. It’s the fight to move on, to forgive ourselves, to gather enough courage to accept who we are and what must be done and to try to be happy once more.
That is the strength for Finnikin of the Rock. Beyond the long journey the main characters undertake to reclaim a kingdom lost to a curse, there is a very human voyage towards acceptance and healing.
And love. And trust. There’s the choosing of the lesser evil, there’s the ends justifying the means, there is the acceptance of a certain duty one is afraid to accept.
And every single line is beautifully written, with such perfect pacing that it flows rather than just being read. It’s slow enough to let you appreciate every nuance I just talked about, and it’s fast enough to take you along for the ride without you realizing it.
So, recommended reading? Yes. Absolutely. Froi of the Exiles, the follow up to this tale, is coming out soon but in any case, you don’t have to worry: Finnikin of the Rock stands alone, so no excuses: give it a try. You’ll most likely love it!