Quintana of Charyn (The Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta
The third book in The Lumatere Chronicles picks up where Froi of the Exiles left off, with a pregnant Quintana hidden, Froi nursing his wounds after being left for dead, Finnikin and Isaboe plotting against Gargarin, and Lucian starting to become the leader the Monts need.
This entire series has just escalated and broadened throughout. We started with just Finnikin and his quest to break the curse on Lumatere, and we’re ending with Quintana and Froi fighting to take back Charyn, a country we hated in the first book.
The characters are all lovely and wonderful, complex and layered. Some of them are rash and impatient, others are stoic with hidden passions, and there are a lot of hurt feelings and recovery. I love getting multiple characters’ perspectives, and that the side characters are at times more interesting than the mains. Who knew I’d love Lucian and Phaedra’s story so much?
While Quintana isn’t my favorite character, and being in her head can at times be too much to handle, she definitely has a lot of interesting and captivating things about her, and you can’t help but wish her happiness.
I loved the overall growth of the characters throughout the series, whether it was Isaboe going from the feisty novice Evangelin to the Queen Isaboe who offers her hated neighbors help; the street rat Froi to the patient and respected Dafar of Abroi; or a Finnikin who’d given up hope to the queen’s consort trying to do the right thing by his people and his queen.
The plot isn’t as strong as it was in the first two installments, but the characters are put through a lot more emotional and internal dilemmas, and they struggle with where they belong and who they’re meant to be. Heavy, beautiful stuff, but slower to read at times. There are still some pretty cool action sequences (a particular one on ice sticks out in my mind), and some nuggets of information are dropped to broaden the story even more, but the best part is how the story and all the plotlines were wrapped up. It didn’t feel cheap, it felt right.
The Lumatere Chronicles doesn’t feel like YA, and it’s a beautiful, epic fantasy of love, faith, acceptance, growth, and hope.