Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Book Reviews

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

4 Stars

I didn’t know what to expect from Finnikin of the Rock except for lots of glorious pain and ships, according to my friends. The premise has intrigued me for a while and I’ve checked it out of the library at least twice without reading it. What can I say, fantasy does intimidate me sometimes! Buying a copy alleviated my fears of having to read it quickly although I ended up reading it in a couple days. I was captivated by Finnikin’s story and the story of Skuldenore’s kingdoms. Most importantly, Lumatere!

The book was intricate and the world-building was exquisitely detailed. I loved learning more and more about the five days of the unspeakable as the book unfolded, and there was quite a lot of exciting action mixed in with the quiet character building moments. I thought Marchetta did a wonderful job with the politics between the kingdoms, and a good job of differentiating the kingdoms and cultures as well.

The characters were fierce and terribly interesting, down to the bit players. I can’t say much for fear of spoilers but we meet characters in the second half that I REALLY liked, although Evanjalin was my favorite from the start. She was so mysterious and captivating. And there are twists that I never saw coming! I will say that there is also a SUPER CUTE scene that I never expected because of the pain and darkness I was conditioned to expect, but it made me smile :)

I had a hard time connecting emotionally with the first half of the story; I wanted to keep reading and I liked Finnikin and his companions, but I didn’t have Feels. This is the main reason I can’t call the book a favorite (yet) and why I knocked off a star. The Feels came later. Lots of Feels in the last quarter especially. It was an enthralling, exciting, dramatic book with a brilliant juxtaposition between light and dark and shades of gray, and I can’t wait to continue the series (although frankly, I’m scared of what’s to come).

Book Info

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1
Published by Candlewick Press
Pub Date: February 9th 2010
Pages: 401
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: FantasyYoung Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

At the age of nine, Finnikin’s world is shattered by the five days of the unspeakable: the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, an imposter seizes the throne, and a curse binds all who remain inside the kingdom’s walls. Those who escape are left to roam as exiles.

Ten years later, Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, are summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, the heir to the throne of Lumatere and Finnikin’s childhood friend, is alive, and she can lead Finnikin to him. Even as he suspects this arrogant young woman, Finnikin also begins to believe that Lumatere might one day be raised.

About Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta’s writing career took off in 1992 when she published her first novel: Looking For Alibrandi. She later turned the story into a film script. The movie Looking for Alibrandi screened in theatres around Australia and the world from 2000.

Melina managed to combine writing with teaching English and History in secondary school for ten years up to 2006, when she committed to writing full-time. During that period, she released two novels, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road.

Her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock, was published in 2008. The Piper’s Son (a companion novel to Saving Francesca) was released in 2010. She has written a children’s book, The Gorgon in the Gully, as part of the Puffin Pocket Money series.

Her novels have been published in 17 languages in at least 18 countries. Melina lives in Sydney where she writes full time.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

6 Responses to “Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta”

  1. Avatar

    Alexa S.

    Of all the books in this series, Finnikin was the hardest for me to get into. It definitely took quite a while before I finally felt like I was fully invested in the story and in these characters! But it was totally worth it. I’m excited for you to read Froi and Quintana; they were amazing!!

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I felt invested in the story from the start but the characters I couldn’t crack! I’m glad I kept reading though because they are SO interesting and I really began to love them. I need to start Froi and Quintana soon!

  2. Avatar

    Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense

    This book really impressed me when I read it, especially when you consider Melina Marchetta is more of a contemporary writer. I have the two other books in the series, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. Evanjalin was my favorite character in this first book too. Feels are so very important in my opinion, I need the Feels if I’m going to give a book five stars. Nice review!

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I haven’t read any of her other books, but I can imagine! Fantasy and contemporary are two completely separate beasts. Yes, I really loved Evanjalin and I agree about the feels! I’m scared/excited to read the next two, I’ve heard they are intense!

  3. Avatar



    Like you, I love the detail and the worldbuilding in Lumatere. It’s rich and interesting and always leaves me wanting more, you know? No matter how much I learn about the cultures and customs Marchetta invented, I want mooooore.

    Evanjalin = Queen for real and true and you know it


    This is not my favorite of the series for the same issues — the beginnig took a while to connect emotionally. Technically I was impressed early on but it took a few chapters for me to invest in the characters.. oh boy but when I did…..

    #seriousships #somanyships #anavalfleetofships

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I diiiiiiiddddd!!!! I was floored by the detail and the worldbuilding, and how it was sprinkled in just the right way! I want to know more but feel like I know so much. SO CUTE I DIED. I can’t wait to continue because look. at. your. hashtags! You’re speaking my language ;)

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