Thursday, July 4

Finnikin of the Rock: Book Review

Finnikin of the Rock

Melina Marchetta

Candlewick Press
February 9th 2010
Young Adult | Fantasy
Official Blurb - 
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.

It seems such an odd word to describe this book. Their world contains no beauty. Very degrading circumstances and suffering aplenty. Survival is by no means certain. Such horrors they witness at such a young age. But as a whole this is beautiful.

What a journey these characters take. And every step of the way you can't help but love them. Finnikin is a compelling character. It is no wonder his people love him. And the dialog is sometimes enchanting. That ending is so very sweet.

What starts out with vague prophecies and strange names or titles ends so meaningfully. I love that the horrible prophecy turns out to be nothing of the sort. Just his misinterpretation of it. The story will inspire tears, adrenaline, longing, hope, and loyalty. There are funny moments mixed in among the serious and dire. No character reaches the end without trial.

The romance is certainly not the main focus of the book but it is a pivotal part of it. The relationships between the characters aren't shallow. They evolve bit by satisfactory bit. Everything feels just right. So very glad I was recommended this book. I immediately want to open up to the first page and immerse myself back in this extraordinary world.

This book could easily be a stand alone based on its beautiful ending. Enough closure without being coddled and just enough loose ends to make it seem that the characters will indeed live on long after I close the book. Even though this book closes up the point of view for these characters I am still longing for more.

Language: Mild to moderate
Sexual: Mild to moderate
Violence: Heavy