Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta
Young Adult
Hardcover, 399 pgs
Published February 9th, 2010 by Candlewick (US publication)
Source: Library

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.

In a high fantasy, a true epic fantasy there are a lot of elements I expect and need in my story.  I need to feel it.  To really feel transported into the story through the authors use of words and language and not feel overwhelmed with lengthy descriptions at the same time.  I need the characters to be truly strong, to have weaknesses but overcome things, to be forever surprised by their actions and decisions.  To never know how things might turn out.  I like when a character that is once bad becomes good, when you really have no idea which way things might go.  When a book is truly epic I want to cry because the beauty of the words, the tragedy of the story and epicness of the romance moves me.  This book, this book did all that and more.   

There is no way any words I put in this review can express the amazingness of this book.  But if you’re a fantasy lover there’s no way you shouldn’t read this book {haven’t read fantasy? This is a great place to start!}.  It’s brilliant, it’s tragic, and it’s epic.  Things are revealed through out the entire thing that shocked me over and over again and constant surprises, never ever knowing what could happen is always good.  The characters blew me away.  Finnikin wasn’t always the most likable guy in the world but that made him more real.  And as he grows as a character and as we get to see more of him he’s very easy to fall in love with as he has some true inner strength and a heart you can’t help but love.  Evanjalin, well, she’s one character you have to get to know yourself.  But I can tell you that I have rarely seen a character with the strength she has.

I could talk about this book forever but you really need to go into it without really knowing much because I think you’ll just enjoy it more.  All I can tell you now is go read it!  This is what a true high {epic} fantasy is all about!  It’s one book that I’ll be thinking about for a very long time!

5/5 stars!

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  1. I am not a huge fan of epic fantasy but I have heard from several people how amazing this one really is. Plus I think a sequel if finally being released so this would be the perfect time for me to give this a shot.

    Thanks for the great review, you have added another book to my list! If I didn’t love your reviews and chatting with you so much I would say I need a break just so I can catch up on my reading lol :)

  2. I’m iffy about fantasy because a lot of the times I get confused or bored with the kingdoms and lords and what not. You’ve sold me on this one though. It sounds beyond amazing! Finnikin sounds like a character I could grow to love too! You convince well! 😀

  3. Alexa and Giselle,
    I’m so glad I’ve convinced you! This book was pretty well paced. Sometimes things are quite overwhelming in fantasy but if they don’t add ENOUGH details then it doesn’t feel EPIC, like it should. And this one was really just right because it felt epic, but it never felt weighed down or slow moving. Even though a large part was traveling it was mostly cut out and we just see when the important things happen. I think it’s a good one for those who are a little afraid of fantasy.

  4. Wow, I really need to add this to my list! I wouldn’t expect anything short of amazing from Melina, so the glowing 5/5 really isn’t a big surprise, but it makes me happy nonetheless. I love when a book is full of twists and keeps you on your toes while giving you characters that stick with you days and weeks after reading. Beautiful review Candace!

  5. Wow Candace! Wow!!! It seems like this book is plain awesome?! :)))

    “When a book is truly epic I want to cry because the beauty of the words, the tragedy of the story and epicness of the romance moves me. This book, this book did all that and more.” Thank you for those beautiful words… the are touching and just one reason why I will most definitely put it on my list.

    I haven’t read a High Fantasy in a while and this one seems like a good one to get back at them again!

  6. Oh gosh! You make me so excited about this oneeee. I just reviewed The Vanishing Game which had me feeling basically the same, lol. I’m picky when it comes to true Fantasy, but I think I’ll have to check this out. Awesome review!

  7. FABULOUS review Candace! Well, you know how I feel about this book, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! This book has it all, characters, plot, and of course, beautiful writing. Gah, I just adored it! I can’t wait to read Froi. Again, really great review:)

  8. Okay, okay. I’m getting it and reading it, darn it! I want to feel that way about a book just the way you talk about *this* book. (that last sentence doesn’t make much sense but you catch my drift)

  9. Sometimes I have issues sticking with high fantasy because it can be so complicated, but people seem to LOVE this book. And I get it. I actually listened to the audiobook – and I never listen to audiobooks – and was BLOWN AWAY by it. I had to stop it sometimes to just take it all in because I was just in awe.

    I plan on reading it sometime too. I think I’ll get an entirely new perspective on it when I can sit there and look at the map and see the words.

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