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Quintana of Charyn | Review

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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?

tumblr_m81txjrE7Y1r3ibgko1_1280While 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.

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Froi of the Exiles | Review

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Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (The Lumatere Chronicles #2)

When I saw the title of the second installment of The Lumatere Chronicles and quickly realized we would be spending most of our time with Froi rather than Finnikin, I was slightly disappointed. I loved Finnikin in the first book, and wanted more of his story. But how wrong I was.

While we still get some Finnikin, and Isaboe and Trevanion and all the others from the first installment, I found myself not missing them as much as I thought I would. By the end of Finnikin, Froi had already begun the transformation from mannerless thief to someone they could trust, and by the time Froi begins, he is well positioned in the kingdom of Lumatere and has grown tremendously. As part of the King’s Guard, he’s been trained in combat and stealth, but also in how to control his rage and respect others. As a farmer, he’s learned patience and a desire to earn his living and work with his hands.

Three years have passed since the events in Finnikin and the kingdom is slowly coming together once more. In neighboring Charyn, however, things have taken a turn for the worse. The fate of one kingdom affects the others, and there are a lot of side plots regarding both the growth of Isaboe and Finnikin as leaders and the people of Lumatere and how they’re coping. Not to mention the unease and tension caused by neighboring strifes.

tumblr_m81txjrE7Y1r3ibgko1_1280Just as a curse had afflicted Lumatere in Finnikin, Froi features a curse on Charyn, one that has left the kingdom childless for 18 years, and Froi must slowly confront his own personal battle of doing what is right versus doing what he’s bound to do.

Marchetta has a way with characters, and Froi is no different. Quintana is legitimately crazy, the twins Gargarin and Arjuro are broken, mean-spirited, and brilliant, and Phaedra slowly captured my heart, along with the rest of Lumatere.

At almost 200 pages longer than Finnikin, Froi is a chunker of a book, and while most of the time I didn’t notice it, other times I had no idea where the story was going to go and was ready for it to pick up. Specifically the middle section, when there’s a lot of introducing of characters and answering of questions and not so much of a plot. Towards the end there’s quite a bit of wandering from province to province and a lot of angry teenage angst that I could’ve done without.

That being said, I love putting little pieces in the story together, and Marchetta does that so well. And the ending! It rips at me, it makes me desperate to pick up Quintana of Charyn even though I said I was going to take a break from the binge-reading of the series.

There’s a lot of mystery and hidden connections, and we get to explore the kingdom of Charyn and its inhabitants, and maybe find we don’t hate them as much as we did before.
There are multiple sides to all stories, you’re not quite sure who to believe or trust at times, and the cliffhanger at the ending is setting the finale up to question what is right and what is evil, and characters will need to make choices between blood, love, pride, duty, and honor.

Finnikin of the Rock | Review

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Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta

I didn’t know what to expect about Finnikin of the Rock going into it, only that I’d heard about it from other BookTubers almost a year ago, where it had promptly sat on my amazon wishlist, and then my library checkouts shelf until it was either read it or return it. So I read it. And how I wish I hadn’t waited an entire year.

When he’s just a boy, Finnikin and his friends, the Prince of Lumatere and the Prince’s cousin, make a pledge to protect their country. Soon after, the country is wrecked, the royal family assassinated, and a curse placed over the land. Ten years later, when the main story takes place, Finnikin wanders the Land, learning everything he can and recording the fates of the other exiled Lumaterans until one day a name is whispered into his ear and he finally finds the strength to fight for his home.

The characters are complex and haggard and layered and wonderful. The women are not there as foils to the men, and there are clear arcs and growth taking place. I loved both Finnikin and Evanjalin, but also Sir Topher and Trevanion and even Froi by the end.

The story begins with a confusing and mysterious prologue of the evil events that set the story in motion, and then the reader is catapulted ten years in the future. The backstory is told in snippets rather than all at once, told when needed or as a bit of foreshadowing, which I loved. Info-dumps felt natural, as did dialogue and the actions of the characters (for the most part). Additionally, there is a twist around the 3/4 mark that I should’ve predicted, but perhaps my blindness helped me relate more to Finnikin in that moment.

Wiki-backgroundThe world is rich and full and beautiful, with each nation having its own identity and characteristics. People acted as they did for a reason, and I found it to be incredibly well thought out. I did find some of the names of the countries to be similar and confusing at first, but the map in the front definitely helped me get a sense of where the characters were.

Although it’s YA, it’s high class YA. Some of the actions and emotions of Finnikin are those typical of a doubt-ridden, angsty teenage boy, but I didn’t feel like they harmed the narrative in any way, and there are so many other, more adult, themes happening that sometimes it’s nice to revel in the idiocies and naivete of our youth.

It’s a fantasy with betrayal, dreamwalking, love, fighting, blood pledges, relationships, and finding strength, faith, and hope even when there is none.

4.5/5 stars