A written review by Adrienne
“Lumatere Chronicles” by Melina Marchetta, including “Finnikin of the Rock”, “Froi of the Exiles”, and “Quintana of Charyn.”
Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
I am reluctant to hang the heavy mantel of Game of Thrones onto any YA book. So, I’ll say this, if you like the political intrigue, and how decisions have a ripple effect in ways nobody could truly comprehend and a world steeped with a deep history entwining magic and religion and strength then this series is for you. You won’t find a Tyrion, or Jamie, but you will find yourself consumed.
These three books comprise of an epic fantasy filled with love, hate, war, revenge, destruction, pain, life changing decisions and in-decisions, extraordinary feats and devastating consequences. You will have a front seat to see the consequences war wrecks onto a country and ultimately to the world: what it does to the people, how it changes them, and what it does to the land.
“A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed that he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere. This is the story, as told to those not born to see such days, recorded so they will never forget. The story of those trapped inside the kingdom, never to be heard from again, and those who escaped but were forced to walk the land in a diaspora of misery.”
We start with Finnikin who spends his formative years trying to raise an army to open the gates of his country. When he was young a witch cursed Lumatere and Finnikin was outside the walls. There was no getting in or getting out. Those Lumaterans trapped inside were cruelly ruled by a madman bent on destroying anyone he felt threaten him.
Then we have Froi. Once a child slave and saved by Finnkin he is under orders by his queen to go to assassinate his adopted country’s enemy. It is his travels and what happens that will engross you. As a reader there were times I shook the book to try and stop Froi from doing something that scared me.
Finally, there is Quintana. Everybody believes her to be bat dung crazy, and maybe she is. You’re introduced to her in Froi, but it is in her own book that we see the wheels and the methods of her craziness. This book is filled with pain, dark pain, (I had to hold my daughter’s hand in order to read a particular harrowing event) and devastation and the small flame of hope.
My advice, should you choose to read this series is to check them out all at once. You will not want to waste time trying to get the next book, especially after you finish Froi. There is a cliffhanger not to be believed and if you don’t have Quintana right next to you, woe is you.
What I liked is the world building. Marchetta has mastered the art of creating one rich in history, setting and people. Each country has its own unique culture. Marchetta is equally up to the task in creating women who are not dependent upon a man to either save them or complete them. Mindful of the horrible treatment of women by either long held beliefs, religion, or revenge by men, men in power and other women, I liked how strong-willed and resilient whether for right or wrong, the women were depicted by Marchetta, and, they are just as fallible as men. This series is one to read and keep. Recommended for High School and up.