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).
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1
Published by Candlewick Press
Pub Date: February 9th 2010
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young 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.