February 6, 2012

Book Review of "Froi of the Exiles" by Melina Marchetta

Title: Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Classification: YA Fiction, Fantasy
Source: ARC review copy from the publisher

To be published March 13th, 2012

Overall Grade:
I thought...
This is me: mind-blown and blubbering.

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Summary (from Goodreads): 
From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock. 
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen. 


My Thoughts:

This. Book.

People! This book!

This is me, bug-eyed, mind-blown, trying to do this book justice.

Once again, Melina Marchetta creates a tale of fantasy and adventure and romance and hate and absolution and assassins and curses and she weaves a tale so thick with characters, who you love in all their self-loathing glory, that one wonders if Skuldenore isn't a real place that just hasn't been discovered yet.

The greatest strength of Froi of the Exiles lies in the individual, personal stories being told about each set of characters. While Froi and the half-mad Quintana are the focus of the novel, the other characters that we grew to love in Finnikin of the Rock also have their fair share of page-time: Finnikin, Isaboe, Trevanion, Beatriss, Lucian, Tesadora.

However, Froi of the Exiles is not simply a re-hashed Finnikin. The new characters it introduces to us are many and unforgettable: Quintana, Lirah, Arjuro, Gargarin, Phaedra.

When distilled down to its basic essence, the plot of Froi is quite similar to Finnikin: There is a curse upon the land that only these characters can amend. There is a curse upon the land that both unites and divides a people.

There is a curse upon the land and there is one who has been chosen to end it.

If Finnikin was a demonstration of the power of place, Froi is a tale of absolution. The characters in Froi are an extremely tortured and neurotic bunch. They are constantly faced with the grim reality of facing down their grievous past, sometimes giving into despair, sometimes coming to terms with it, sometimes telling it to back the eff off.

Under a less talented author, the split narrative of Froi would frustrate, but here it works. The deeds of both Charynite and Lumateran characters are given a place here, but let's not forget the stars of the show: Froi and Quintana/The Reginita/The Princess.

Watching the story unfold through Froi's eyes is like sending your child off to preschool for the first time and hoping that he doesn't punch someone in the face--(unless they really really deserve it, then it is condoned and appreciated and cheered)--and finding out that everyone else in his class is neurotic in the deepest sense of the word and realizing that this was going to be a lot more complicated--(and, forgive me, entertaining)--than you ever imagined.

In short: Froi of the Exiles is a wholly original and personal fantasy that will have fans begging for the next book in series, Quintana of Charyn, set for a March 2013 release in the US.


Overall Grade:
I thought...
This is me: mind-blown and blubbering.

Add to Goodreads | Pre-order from Amazon

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  1. :) I love this series. I love Melina Marchetta. She drinks from the fountain of literary goodness, I swear.

    Great review!

  2. Joy, thanks for the comment! I agree, Marchetta is amazing. I officially love her. :)


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