Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles 2) by Melina Marchetta
Summary of Goodreads: Here
Possible Spoilers Ahead.
This was an amazing sequel to Finnikin of the Rock and worthy second installment. Melina Marchetta is a master when it comes to creating an amazing world and lovable characters. Then again, this book bled me of tears until I died of emotional trauma and this is actually my ghost writing this review.
Trigger warnings for this book: a lot of mentions/talk/depiction of sexual, physical and mental abuse; though there are no graphic portrayals of it.
Spoilers beyond this point.
I’d like to start with the characters. The book is split into two different settings one of things going on in Charyn with Froi, and the other of what’s going on in Lumatere. This is great because the story never gets boring. Marcheta doesn’t mind adding in cliffhangers for one side of the story and then go ahead to the other one, which makes you fly though the next couple of chapters to find out what happens. A lot of characters are introduced in this novel, mainly Froi’s family and the princes of Charyn. We also learn the stories of those characters that we met, but we didn’t really get to hear from in Finnikin of the Rock.
Froi has been living the the Queen’s Guard, they’ve been raising him and caring for him, and he has come a long way from being the savage and monstrous human being that he was in FotR. We see his development through his interactions with Quintana, the most fucked up character that I ever had the pleasure of reading about. To this moment, I cannot fathom what this poor girl went through; constant sexual and mental abuse at the hands of just about everyone in the palace where she lives. I was so mad at some point, with Marchetta, because it seems to me that just about every female (…actually, quite a few males as well) character in her books went through some sort sexual abuse. So, if you’re not a fan of novels that include such themes, stay away. It’s not graphic though, not at all, just really painful. But that is not to say that Quintana is a weak character, no, she is a fighter who refuses to stand down and she only puts up with the abuse because she thinks it’s the only way to break the curse of their kingdom.
We also meet Froi’s parents and let me tell you, they are the most dysfunctional family ever. They hate each other and they don’t bother telling each other differently. Each of them went through horrific things. It was hard to read. But not as hard as it was to read about Lady Beatriss, whose story we also learn in this novel. I was so, so angry with the men in her life who were supposed to protect and love her. I understand that they also went through a lot. Everyone did. But to ignore her pain was unforgivable. Lucian too, pissed me off. But the thing is, my own personal feelings aside, it’s a very realistic portrayal of human relationships and just how hard it is to talk about painful experiences.
The plot moves along at a nice pace, mostly thanks to the split in settings. There are a few cliffhangers, hair tearing moments and plot twists. The end of the novel sneaks up on you and then you scream in agony, crying to God about unfairness of life. I wish I was exaggerating, but the end of the novel is such an amazing set up for what’s going to happen in the next book that I just wanted to fall dramatically on my bed and weep until the next book comes out. Which I shall go do, now.