Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles # 1) by Melina Marchetta
Summary on Goodreads: Here
Rating 5 out of 5 stars
Possible Spoilers Ahead.
This is one of my most favorite books that I had the pleasure of reading last year, and re-reading again right now. My five star rating holds, but only just.
By all accounts this story is beautiful. It is beyond words how happy it made me, how painful it was to read sometimes, and how unfair it is that books like these go undiscovered. It’s so well structured and planned out that you’re glued to the pages.
The story was told in third person narrative, but it got into the character’s heads every so often. And the characters were amazing, they were alive and breathing; uncertain at one moment, strong the next, in love, in pain, mourning or celebrating. I love, love the fact that the romantic couple was not just in mundane, simple love; but the kind of love where they can hurt each other if needed, when they can tell each other the truth even if it hurts the other’s dignity. They are equals in every sense of the word, they respect each other,rescue each other, they need each other and they love each other. You want an epic love story? Forget Romeo and Juliet, this is it! Evanjalin is certainly one of the best female characters that I have seen in a long time, maybe next to Tamora Pierce’s Allana and Kel, or Sabriel. The kind of girls that command respect, think on their feet and do not let their emotions, even love, cloud their judgement. They are not perfect of course, they have fears and weakness, and they they get into bad situations. Most of the time, I believe most readers will want to strangle Evanjalin for her stubbornness, for her iron will, and for her lies or rather not lies, but omissions. Finnikin too is stubborn to boot and sometimes has trust issues.
The world that Marchetta builds is complex and at times very cruel. You know those things you see on the news about death and massacres and thank God you don’t have to face something like that? Well, you have to face things like that in this book. All the ugliness and the hate of being taken and tortured, what the enemies do to their conquered peoples. It was hard not to cry in the end, so maybe a possible trigger warning for that?
The only problem I had with this book was at times it got a bit dry and I’m not a big fan of her sentence structures. The characters were sometimes really frustrating too, to the point that you just want to smack them. The magic and religion are not explained well either, and quite often everything is blamed on men (though for very good reason). This is addressed in the book, but the fault is still there, this is especially odd because women are either treated really well or really badly. But they are only treated badly by the evil guys, who hurt everyone badly, not just women. I would appreciate some evenness, are they oppressed or not?
But overall, this was an amazing read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for good fantasy. I will definitely be reading the next one.