by Melina Marchetta
Published February 9th, 2010 by Candlewick Press
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.
But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.
Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
Rating: 6 out of 5 stars!!!
For an entire day—since the moment I finished the book, actually—I brainstormed about how I could write a review to properly express how I felt about this book—or rather how this book made me feel, which is usually the case with Melina Marchetta books.
I hoped that I’d be able to find the right sentences—or heck, even the right words.
But no. No such luck. This, honestly, does not surprise me, because that’s what happens with EVERY Marchetta book that I read. The experience leaves me a blubbering, emotional wreck. It’s pretty much all I can do to stay coherent in my reviews as I gush on and on about how much I love Melina Marchetta and every single thing she writes.
Seriously. The woman could probably write a grocery list that tugs my heartstrings.
And I would read it, too!
I have a feeling this review is probably going to be along the same lines as my others—endless blabber on how enamored I am with the book and how I practically worship the author who wrote it…
You have to understand, I’m really not a traditional fantasy kind of girl. My normal reads are usually YA contemporaries or paranormal romances. It’s not that I don’t like fantasy novels… it’s just, the way that most are written rarely appeals to me.
And of course it would be Melina Marchetta who writes a fantasy novel that completely sucks me in and makes me want to eat every word I’ve ever said about fantasy novels.
This book was…. Dang. I can’t even think of a single figure of speech or praise that can come close to expressing just how effing FABULOUS this book was.
As is the case with most of her books, Marchetta has crafted a tale that slowly started sewing itself into my heart, stitch-by-stitch, from the very first page. At the end of the book, my heart was well and truly attached to this book, almost as though I NEEDED to keep a part of this magical story with me at all times. My poor heart had been taken on the most epic of emotional rollercoasters. And that masochistic organ loved every heart-wrenching moment.
I can’t really tell you anything about the plot or what happens that’s not stated in the blurb because just about anything I want to say would be a spoiler. TRUST ME: this is not a book you want spoiled for yourself. You WANT to experience every page fresh, for the first time.
All I can say is that there is a lot of fabulously-paced traveling and adventure, awesome butt-kicking, and amazingly complex characters who will make you feel every emotion possible.
Oh. My. God. THESE CHARACTERS. My heart does this little fluttery thing every time I even think about them! I kid you not.
There’s just so beautiful and broken and witty and loving and admirable and full of emotion and—and now my heart is fluttering again…
ANYONE who doubted that Melina Marchetta, Master Universal Queen of Contemporary, could not do fantasy (and I will admit, I was one of them…) be prepared to be shamed by your doubts as I was because Marchetta kicked BUTT with this book. This is a book about loss and devastation, but more than anything, it talks of hope and faith and revival and all sorts of wonderful emotions that will melt your heart into a Marchetta-worshipping puddle of goo.