Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.
from Penguin Australia
Beth says 5 Stars...
I grabbed this book because the fantastic Michelle Zink said it was amazing, and I must agree. I was simply blown away. I was a little hesitant because I know that Melina Marchetta is a realistic fiction writer, and that genres don't always translate. That worry was needless, however. The plot was brilliantly done, with minor details having major significance later in the story. It never felt forced, and the novel progressed naturally. I have to stop to comment on the world building that was done; all I can say is wow. Every single kingdom had its own distinct personality and people that seemed real. What's remarkable is that this high fantasy world appeared as real as anything I've ever read about. I felt the pain of the land and the connections with everyone throughout. I honestly have no idea how well I'm articulating this (at the moment my guess is not well), but I'm trying to hammer home the point this books was astounding.
Now, to the characters, and what characters they were. I connected with every single one of them, no matter how minor or how different they were from me. Marchetta made their pain and trials so real that I couldn't help but empathize. Finnikin was a perfect hero, partially because he didn't want to be. Both he and Evanjalin were so flawed and scarred that they made me feel for them unconsciously. There was also a lovely chemistry between the two of them, and how they pushed one another farther than anyone else could. There was a bit about discovering yourself and all of that fun, but it was handled in such a way that it didn't hold up the action, or have the characters moping about for half of the book. The minor characters throughout really enhanced everything. They helped provide direction, advice, or some comic relief.
This book just jumped off of the page right at me, then grabbed me and wouldn't let go. In a genre were everything has turned into derivatives of something that wasn't that great in the first place *cough*paranormalromance*cough*, this book is a gem. Authors and readers take note; this is what you should be striving for. Finnikin of the Rock is a sweeping, dark, and epic high fantasy that doesn't sacrifice the characters to make it so. If you want something that's fluffy and happy-go-lucky, don't even think about it. However, if you want to read a gripping and almost gritty fantasy that focuses on characters, don't wait any longer. I think that I'm going to have to get my own copy of this, because I know I'm going to want to read it over and over again.
Book from Library