Adrienne's Reviews > Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
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's review
Jun 18, 2010

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bookshelves: book-count-2010, fantasy
Read in June, 2010

Melina Marchetta may be better known in Australia for her realistic fiction, but she has created an interesting and rich fantasy world in Finnikin of the Rock.

After the events of the Unspeakable 10 years ago, the people of Lumatere are divided, with some trapped in their homeland under the rule of an usurper, murdering king, with others scattered in refugee camps across the other kingdoms. The Lumateran royal family are all dead, the kingdom is cursed, and Trevannion, the king's champion and captain of the mighty King's Guard has disappeared. Life is bleak for Lumaterans, and no one feels it more than Finnikin, Trevannion's son. As Finnikin travels the lands with his mentor, Sir Topher, the king's former First Man, working to restore Lumatere, he despairs of ever being able to find his father or return to his homeland. Until one day, they come upon a mysterious novice in a convent who tells them that the king's heir still lives. Will Finnikin ever be reunited with his father? Will Lumatere ever be restored?

I enjoyed Finnikin of the Rock - it is a different take on the fantasy genre, with less magic, elves or dragons than most novels I've read, and more of a gritty feel. The problem of the Lumateran refugees in particular feels like something you might read about on a news website rather than in the pages of a fantasy novel. There are also several graphic scenes and several more graphic events are alluded to.

In several respects, however, the novel reminds me of many others I've read and enjoyed. The twist that wasn't a complete surprise, but still was a bit shocking, and the last-minute rescue both make an appearance. The characters are all interesting, three-dimensional beings (except for the evil usurper, whom we never actually see) and I was impatient to know what would happen to them. This was a book that kept me turning the pages!

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