ABOUT THE BOOK
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
young adult fantasy published by Viking on September 19th, 2008
first book in the Lumatere Chronicles
Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into with Finnikin of the Rock; I wasn’t expecting it to be so dark and full of despair. I found myself utterly fascinated. Finnikin of the Rock is about struggle; every one of the characters have their own story about the choices they have had to live and how those choices affected their relationships. Isn’t it all so human? The struggle, the difficult choices, the search for identity, the feeling of belonging and how they change us, mold us, and shape us for better or for worse. And that’s how I’m describing Finnikin of the Rock: human.
Ten years ago, Lumatere was a prosperous land until a merciless slaughter of the royal family left it in a state of hopelessness under the rule of an impostor king. Sent by their enemy country, Charyn, the impostor king stood to gain everything under such a rule but a curse trapped some of the people of Lumatere inside. Those fortunate enough to escape found themselves in exile but in no better conditions. What remains of the royal family are only the bloody hand-prints of the rightful heir to the throne, Prince Balthazar, on the walls of Lumatere as he ran for his life.
Thrust into the care of the dead King’s First Man, Sir Topher, ever since, Finnikin had hopelessly traveled the land of Skuldenore, visiting exile camps and recording the names of the dead in the Book of Lumatere. However, the year he is to finally go in search of his father and Captain of the Gaurd, Trevanion, he is called upon the cloister of goddess Lagrami to meet Evanjalin who claims that Prince Balthazar is alive. Refusing to divulge in hope, Finnikin cannot bring himself to truly believe such a claim. Until he does.
Evanjalin of the Monts is a novice of the goddess Lagrami who has the ability to walk the dreams of the Lumaterans trapped inside Lumatere. Evanjalin is a trickster who keeps information to herself until she can trust others with it. From the beginning, she has a plan to take back Lumatere which includes betraying Finnikin and lying through her teeth. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about her but gradually, she became the protagonist of the book for me. Fierce and flawless, Evanjalin has seen more horror than all of the Lumaterans combined. She has a quiet strength and her extent of caring about Lumatere and its people is unmatched.
Finnikin, however, is as stubborn as they come and the base of his stubbornness stems from Sir Topher agreeing to follow Evanjalin on nothing but a claim. Still, I could understand his reluctance and his indecisiveness. His character development is mainly due to Evanjalin as he’s compelled to face his worst fears and slowly come to the realization that Evanjalin is in charge. Where Finnikin is scared, Evanjalin is fearless and that’s how they compliment each other. Also, they share a whistle and that is enough to break me down.
Finnikin of the Rock features some of the most layered characters who are lost without their land, their language and their culture. It’s about complex family dynamics and the most important of relationships. The relationship of Finnikin and Trevanion is one of the best and it truly shines in the mines of Sorel. Froi has a mean streak and some of his actions are truly despicable, but he somewhat redeems himself. Lady Beatriss, Tesadora, Perri, Sir Topher, the Priest-King; every character and their relationship with others are just so damn admirable. Just know that Marchetta writes the most incredible of characters and the most real of relationships.
Marchetta took the most essential elements from the word we live in to create the world of Skuldenore and that’s the incredible beauty of it all. The word-building in Finnikin of the Rock is so intricately done from the Mont valley of Lumatere to the town of Pietrodore in Yutlind. I cried, I laughed and I cried again because the story of Finnikin of the Rock spoke to me. Ultimately, Finnikin of the Rock is the biggest lesson on humanity and all kinds of love, be it filial, patriotic, or romantic and both of these things drive a powerful message home.
‘Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?”Somehow, even in the worst of times, the tiniest fragments of good survive. It was the grip in which one held those fragments that counted.’
‘We have a dilemma, then,’ Finnikin said fiercely. ‘Because I prayed that you would grow old and hold my children in your arms as you held me. My prayers have not been answered yet, Trevanion. So whose prayer is more worthy? Yours or mine?’
‘It’s against the rules of humanity to believe there is nothing we can do.’
If I look at your descriptions, it sounds amazing. When I think about my experience with this book, I am disappointed. It feels like I've read another book than everyone else, because I was so bored 🙁 Evanjalin was a good character though. I liked her.
Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity says
EEK! I am so glad you liked this one, Kai 😀 I read is so long ago, and I remember really loving it. But now I must re-read and finish the series because of this review.
I must say that the three main characters (Finnikin, Evanjalin, and Froi) completely and utterly blew me away when I read this book way back when and I'm super happy they had the same effect on you <3
Alysia // FictionAddictions says
I've vowed this year to try and read more fantasy (because who doesn't need more fantasy lbr) and honestly this series sounds so good! I need to read it as soon as I possibly can, it seems!! There are so many fantasy books and series I need to experience. Loved your review. 🙂
Danielle Cox says
THE WHISTLE. OH GOD. D: At the end, I swear my heart was gonna break when he whistled at her.
I really, really need to re-read this series! It's my favorite EVER. The characters and relationships are so amazing and there's so much heart.
Great review, girl! Glad you loved it!
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I've been meaning to read this for such a long time! Fantastic review!
– @Miss Readiculous