Wow. This book took me by surprise. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Finnikin of the Rock which is, on the surface, a fairly standard qu...moreWow. This book took me by surprise. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Finnikin of the Rock which is, on the surface, a fairly standard quest story. The story had some unique aspects (and fun surprises) which drew me in, the writing was strong and the characters were engaging. I was actually a bit disappointed to see that the second book was going to focus on Froi, my least favorite character and one who seemed to play a secondary role in Finnikin. It is a testament to Melina Marchetta's storytelling ability that I was quickly drawn into his story and wound up falling in love with how she expanded the world that she had created in the first book.
Froi of the Exiles is also, on the surface, a quest story, but incorporates themes which really resonate with me. We start to see the Charynites, the villains from the first book, as a more complex people, as a people capable of great evil, but also capable of great love. We see characters struggle to overcome their strongly held prejudices as they make connections and develop relationships with people they used to consider as "other" and begin to realize that "they" are not so different than "us". These are characters who are strong and broken, who do terrible and wonderful things, and who grow through their connection with others.
This book is extremely meaty. I especially love how richly the different cultures of the different lands are developed. Each has their own mythology, beliefs and stories which seem strange to those not raised within the culture. We see these differences through different viewpoints and realize that they are only strange because we are unfamiliar and as we become more familiar they make more sense.
The climax of this book actually comes closer to the 2/3 mark and completely caught me up, not certain where it was going and how we were going to get there. And there was still a good chunk of the book left to savor for which I was grateful as this is a world and characters I did not want to leave. Froi clocks in at over 600 pages yet never drags and always left me wanting more...which is something for the second book in a trilogy. (less)
Another fantastic series by Brandon Sanderson. He does not disappoint. I especially enjoyed watching the characters of Siri and Vivenna grow and evolv...moreAnother fantastic series by Brandon Sanderson. He does not disappoint. I especially enjoyed watching the characters of Siri and Vivenna grow and evolve as they begin to question heartfelt beliefs and learn the world is a bit more messy than they had been taught. Sanderson also provides a few twists that catch you a bit off guard...thoroughly enjoyable. (less)