Publisher: Candlewick Press
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page.
I was a bit nervous to write this review because I have no idea how to word my feelings for this book, so please bear with me as I try to make sense of my incoherent thoughts.
A good book, I believe, makes you feel many things. It makes you frustrated from the heart wrenching twists, it makes you joyful and giddy from the sweet moments, it makes you quiet and focused at the sad, solemn moments. Finnikin of the Rock does ALL of this and goes beyond that.
Finnikin of the Rock is told through third person perspective, which to me felt reminiscent of a fairy tale. Even though I'm not a fan of third person, Marchetta still managed to make me feel and connect with each and every one of these realistically written characters. Our hero and heroine, Finn and Evanjalin, are strong, vulnerable, and everything in between. I clicked with them instantly! ♥
The plot is absolutely gripping. Right from the very start, Finnikin of the Rock already had me hooked and sold on the book. I just knew I was going to love every single bit of it and I did. Some people say that Finnikin of the Rock is a bit confusing at first, but I think it's because this book is the kind that demands your undivided attention. There's many many many surprises in this book and I love how Marchetta kept this book unpredictable.
The world Marchetta creates is incredibly detailed, leaving me with no questions. I was so engrossed in the world building that I lost track of time in the real world! It's not all rainbows and sunshine though. It's dark and our characters are faced with bleak situations, while trying to keep their own well being together.
The romance between Evanjalin and Finnikin was so, so sweet. Not containing any hint of an instant love, their relationship grows and grows over a period of time between the book. It was amusing to see the inappropriate jokes here and there. (Warning to all: there is some rather mature scenes in here, so I recommend this to older (16+) readers.) There were a few painfully heart breaking scenes between the two, the most sad one being near the end.
Like all good stories, this wonderful fairy tale soon had to come to an end. I love love love the ending. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I'll just say it will most definitely please readers. It's a solid ending where it can be a standalone, but lucky for us, there are sequels!
A gripping, unpredictable tale that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end, strong yet vulnerable characters, and a sweet romance, Finnikin of the Rock delighted me to no end. My feelings for this book is indescribable, and have I mentioned that this book is officially an all time favorite? I look forward to reading the sequel, Froi of the Exiles! ♥