All About Books

A book blog, mostly touring foreign worlds of fantasy novels with occasional detours into space and explorations of magical realism, featuring book reviews, random bookish thoughts and hand lettered quotes.

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Summary

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.

My thoughts

Before I even try to put into words how much I loved this book and how perfect it is, be warned that this review will repeatedly use the words  “feels” and “perfect”. You also better spend your time on ordering and/or reading the book yourself, because there is just no way that I could do this book by the Queen of Words justice.

“Do not cry, Finnikin. For if we begin, our tears will never end.”

That quote should have been a warning, put even before the prologue, because that’s where I started to be overwhelmed by all the feels, IN THE 4-PAGES-LONG PROLOGUE, and it only got worse after that. I seriously have never read a book like this before. I had goosebumps after that prologue.
I have read sad books, a lot, because they are my favorites, but not one has made me feel the way like this one did. The story of Lumatere is so deeply oppressive and it’s sadness just keeps running out of the pages right into you. I cried while reading this. Often. And every single time I thought “this is it,it can’t get any worse than this, I’ve now heard the worst part of these peoples’ sorrow” there is more, and then more. This is ten years of terror put into 600 pages and you’ll feel like you lived it yourself!

“Be prepared for the worst, my love, for it lives next door to the best.”

The wordlbuilding was downright perfect. This story about the loss of a homeland, about the loss of faith and it’s so damn real. It might be set in a fantasy world, but that doesn’t mean it’s nothing like our own world. You only need to read the prologue and you already feel like you’ve been part of this world and lost something yourself. The story of Lumatere might be filled with hatred, sorrow and cruelty but it’s nothing but amazing. Marchetta easily creates this world in your head, without the need of long descriptions of it. You see it through the characters’ eyes when you read about their painful memories.

“Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?”

THIS WOMAN CAN WRITE! Seriously, this book is nothing but perfect. I already loved the names of these books and people but that’s only the start. The whole book is just one giant beautifully written piece of literature. Word for word it’s just perfect. Her writing style made me feel like I’m listening to this epic saga and that I’m not even reading it myself, but it felt like someone was reading it to me.
And it isn’t even that descriptive when it comes to all those parts that caused all the feels, she doesn’t even need to go into detail. It’s rather her describing these characters’ own feelings that got to me.

“Does she belong to you?” – “No, but she belongs to my heart.”

The characters and their development and especially their dynamics were absolutely amazing and JUST PERFECT.
It was so easy to like these characters. After you’ve read what they’ve all been through even more so. Yes, even an annoying little thief. You won’t make it out of this without you heart broken and your feels all over the place because getting to know what some of these people had to endure hurts, a lot. These characters all so very complex and most of all they are equals. It’s both men and women in charge, they work together and it’s just glorious.
Plus hands down one of the best character dynamics I’ve ever read. I was so grateful to read these dynamics between adults and teens, that they not only get along well, but respect each other and work together like it should be. THIS IS REAL-LIFE. Add to that, that the romance was done in such a perfect way, I could cry. So smooth and realistic. I loved how it didn’t become this huge thing that stifles everything else because there so many more important things to think about.

 

Finnikin of the Rock is without exaggerating a perfect book that caused way to many feels to be healthy. I’ve never felt such an impact by the mood of a book before. It was deeply unsettling and amazing at the same time. I’m pretty sure I’ve found the Queen to my King (Patrick Ness).

Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by

Published September 29, 09

Genre: