Ian's Reviews > Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
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's review
Sep 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

Lumatere was a peaceful kingdom...until the dark days a decade ago, when the royal family was murdered, the heir to the throne fell in battle, and the kingdom was placed under a terrible curse, forcing the people into desperate exile where many died and the rest faced a bleak future of deprivation. As a youth, Finnikin swore a blood oath to protect the kingdom with his friends, no matter the cost. He spent his adolescence in exile, wandering the realms without a home under the tutelage of the king's top man, Sir Topher. His destiny changes when he meets a young novice named Evanjalin, who swears that Balthasar, the throne's heir, is alive. Finnikin and his father are enlisted to lead their people back and reclaim the kingdom, or die trying. The adventure begins...
Melina Marchetta, winner of the Printz Award for her novel "Jellicoe Road," is now also a fantastic fantasy writer. "Finnikin of the Rock" is darker and more nuanced than your typical 'swords and sorcery' fair, exploring themes of the importance of a homeland and national identity, shared sacrifice, leadership, the qualities that make a hero and the necessity of feminine strength to a healthy culture. Although it is present, magic plays much less of a role in Finnikin's realms than it does in many fantasy stories, bestowing the world with a more realistic and hardscrabble orientation that allows the author to incorporate themes relevant to our world. There's still plenty of adventure and action for the average fantasy reader, though, making this a story that should have high appeal for both fantasy addicts and those who would not normally pick up these books. Very highly reommended; I look forward to the sequel, which will feature secondary character Froi the thief.


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