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[Book Review] - Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

   Author: Melina Marchetta
   Series: #1 - Lumatere Chronicles
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: February 9th, 2010
   My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

     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.

My Review:

     I have to agree with Emily, a fellow blogger I follow, when she said, "Whenever I write a review of a Melina Marchetta book, I risk sounding like the same old broken record... but, whatever, it's not my fault if she constantly manages to deliver the stuff I love!" That's just so true, I haven't found a book by Marchetta that I haven't fallen or drooled over. If you don't know what to expect from Marchetta, try compelling realistic characters, a writing style that is completely awe inspiring, and a storyline that is gripping, moving, and overly emotional. Her work is beyond fabulous, and each time I read her books, I want to pick up more. It's hard to say where I would place her in my list of favorite authors, but she's a good contention for my number one favorite.

     I will start this book by looking at her characters this time around. Finnikin of the Rock holds a massive amount of characters, each with their own depth and a personality that is uniquely their own. Marchetta does a great job of taking each character, molding them into shape and not wasting that character. There is no wasted persona, or attribute of these characters, and while the women and men may be different, there is a bonding agent that makes them human and related. The women are strong and determined, as well as being homely and kind; and even the strongest of the men has weaknesses and flaws that brings them down to earth.

     The world in this book is so great, and a for that reason I found myself rereading parts of this book trying to get the entire world under my belt. It wasn't that the world was too complex, but I had doubts with how the environment looked and would reread the paragraph just to make sure her world was correct in my mind. I loved the vast diversity of the country sides and the swamps/oceans that swelled through the pages. This is by far one of my favorite worlds, and I can't wait to get into the rest of the series and see how the environment changes.

    Now I will admit, I tried reading The Hobbit when I was younger and while I struggled to get through that series. I find J.R.R. Tolkien a great author in his own sense, but I couldn't get into the fantasy genre at the time. Ever since that series, the whole high fantasy world has been out of reach and ultimately  I have been afraid to get into the genre again. That changed when I read how great Melina Marchetta's work was by fellow bloggers and got into Saving Francesca and Jellicoe Road. I am thankfully glad I gave Marchetta the chance to bring that genre back to me. This was by far one of my top picks, and I love this work and how it revived a genre I thought I had lost.
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