From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock.
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior’s discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
If you read my review of Finnikin of the Rock a few days ago you know that I am utterly in love with this series. That’s why I started Froi of the Exiles right after closing Finnikin. This series is pure magic. These are some of the best books I have read in a long time and Melina Marchetta has a permanent place very near the top of my favorite authors list.
Froi has a very different feel than book one. I think it’s because Evanjalin was such a beacon of goodness and hope in Finnikin of the Rock and there’s really no one like that in Froi. This book takes place mostly in Charyn which is a hopeless and desolate place. Froi is a dark character, or at least he thinks he is. He has a really bad past and he has a lot of trouble with his temper. His growth as a character was fantastic, though. It was done subtly so that by the end you realize that Froi isn’t the same person he was at the beginning.
Of the new characters Quintana stands out the most. She’s a little on the Crazy side, but somehow Melina Marchetta manages to make her sympathetic, likeable, and disturbing all at the same time. She also has amazing character growth throughout the book. The other Charynite characters were very well done. They were all shrouded in mystery and you just know that they play a bigger role in the story. That kept me turning pages faster and faster. I also adore that the book is interspersed with chapters about Finnikin, Lucian, and Lady Beatriss. Their story continues on in Lumatere while Froi is away.
There were just a few tiny things that kept me from loving this as much as Finnikin of the Rock. I think that the pacing was a bit slower. In Finnikin they were on this epic journey and there was action all the time. Not to mention all the twists and turns. This book is a lot of back story. I felt a little lost during the first half of the book. I think I was a little too sleepy when I read the first explanation on why Froi was going to Charyn, so then a felt just a few steps behind for awhile. I did eventually get caught up and I think the second half of the book has a much faster pace. Things begin to fall in place and it becomes impossible to put down.
Really guys, I love these books. They are so well written and just breathtaking. Be warned that Froi of the Exiles does not end with a nice conclusion like the first book. No, it’s got a mild cliffhanger that left me reeling. I was happy to find out that book three, Quintana of Charyn releases this Fall in Australia. I will definitely be ordering it. Bottom line: READ THESE BOOKS.