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Fantasy, Don’t Fail Me Now: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Well hi there!

Guys! Fantasy is just so darn good!

Seriously. I recently finished Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock and when I finally put the book down I said “I LOVE fantasy” out loud, to no one because I was alone.

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchettayears. 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.

I’m very guilty of passing over this one at my public library multiple times. Probably because of the fact that it has a male main character…which you know I have issues with. So, I had been intimated by this one but I knew how much other bloggers loved it so I finally decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did!

I was hooked right away. Marchetta’s writing style is riveting. Finnikin of the Rock had some of the most amazing world building I’ve ever experienced. I was so eager to learn more about Lumatere’s strange and dangerous history and culture. The people of Finnikin’s nation are so bound by their history that as the reader you’re right alongside Finnikin and Evanjalin as they feel both frustration and compassion for the people of Lumatere.

Marchetta’s characters are so beautifully sketched. Each person in Finnikin’s circle is full of courage, faith and perseverance that I couldn’t help but admire them. They’re not all perfect, by any means, but they are loyal to their nation which allows them to spur others on at difficult times throughout the story. And Evanjalin?! She’s a badass. Sorry, that is the only word I can think of!  Also, the enemy, the Imposter King, is so terrifying a character…he really is the stuff of nightmares, even though we actually never really meet him. Which proves Marhetta’s skill – to be so frightened by a character that we never see?!?! Awesome!

I had my suspicions but the plot twist was sooo well done that it totally took me by surprise and  made total sense at the same time.  I actually think my reaction was the same as some of the characters upon realizing the truth!

After listening to many audiobooks, I’ve come to realize that audiobook narrators can really make or break a story. This narrator  was incredibly talented and really added so much to the story, although there were a few points where some of his accents faltered.

Is Finnikin of the Rock a great fantasy read? YES! So, if you’re into fantasy you should totally read it. As far as age recommendations, I wouldn’t suggest a middle schooler read this one as I’m pretty confident it has some material that might be too disturbing for those younger than high school (think terrifying king), although a mature eighth grader may be able to handle it.

So…YAY for fantasy! This genre rarely fails me! It definitely didn’t fail with Finnikin of the Rock.

Author: Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (September 29th 2008)

Format: audiobook

Length: 12 hours and 25 minutes

Narrator(s): Jeffrey Cummings

Series: First in the Lumatere Chronicles

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles)