Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)
by Melina Marchetta
published by Candlewick Press
genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance,
Summary (Goodreads): 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.
*I'm going to try and write this without mixing in feelings and thoughts from the second book.
My Thoughts: This is the first time I've read this author since all her other books are contemporary.
The big mystery in this story is who is Evanjalin, the only problem was I figured it out within the first chapter. Luckily there was enough going on in the story that even being certain who she was it was still an enjoyable read.
Finnikin was definitely my favorite. I liked how he wasn't your straight forward lead. He's more of a thinker, writing everything down and creating a history of his lost home. Reading about him and his two friends before the curse just added to how horrible everything afterwards was.
Things get more interesting once Evanjalin has joined them and they start on their journey to gather everything that would be needed to try and break the curse. While she is important to the story and the whole series, I waver on my feelings for her. There were many times when I just wanted Finnikin to leave her behind and go back to what he was doing before. Finding out why she was doing some of the things she did and what she had to go through when she was walking through the dreams made her behavior more tolerable but still...
Overall, this is probably one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I immediately started the second book (Froi of the Exiles) and had to force myself to wait before I start the last in this trilogy. While I don't read contemporaries I could see myself giving this author's book a look based on her writing of this series.