Thursday, December 16, 2010
Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Author: Melina Marchetta
Published: February 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 imposter 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 close to 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 her knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
I love a good fantasy. Something that completely takes you away from your reality and immerses you in the culture of a completely made up place. This was definitely a good fantasy. I was completely immersed in the world of Finnikin, Evanjalin, and all of the other characters. It definitely wasn't predictable either, which I think is common in a lot of fantasy novels.
The writing is definitely the strong suit of this book. It's beautiful, but subtle. Blink and you might miss something poetic, or funny in a totally unexpected way. My only complaint is that a lot of the book is slow. The best way for me to describe it is heavy. It's not light reading at all. In fact, if you're not prepared to really get into it, you'll probably end up closing it in frustration.
It takes a while to get a feel for the characters, to really understand them and see where they might be going. It happened so gradually that once I looked up and just realized that I cared what happened to them. It was beautiful. Marchetta took some characters in a different direction than I'd originally presumed, and I loved it. I loved that I couldn't predict every little or big thing that happened.
As with most fantasy novels, I had a hard time understanding the politics. In fact, it got to a point where I just decided to ignore all but the basic facts. Maybe if there was a sequel I would invest more of my time and my thoughts into it, but for a stand alone I got along fine. The character relationships and developments are what I'm there for anyway.
Basically I really, really liked this book, but didn't quite love it. The writing is spectacular, but at times it was too slow for my liking. The characters were marvelous though, and I wish that I could read more about them.
Overall: 44/50 B+
Cover Comments: This cover screams fantasy, and the bright colors are great.