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YA Fantasy Review: Finnikin of The Rock by Melina Marchetta

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


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Synopsis from Goodreads
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page.
 

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
“There are worse things than a lie and there are better things than the truth!” 

I think what surprised me the most in this book is its worldly, grown-up sadness. Maybe this is what it means to be an exile from the country torn in half by a curse and treachery? You grow up looking into the dull eyes of starving children and desperately learn all the languages you can to plead with the rulers of the country where the refugees are in need of urgent help... which is what Finnikin has been doing since he was a twelve year-old boy.


Finnikin travels through the lands neighbouring Lumatere - his country which seized to exist ten years ago - trying to help the refugees to survive in exile as The King's First Man in training. There is a prophecy alive which might end the curse and save Lumatere, and Evanjalin is the girl who knows what to do with it. A girl, who leads a team of men through danger, battles, adventure, self-search and sacrifice.

Evanjalin and Finnikin are complex, bitter, stubborn and ever so interesting characters. There is depth here, sarcasm, weariness and resolute will to fight till the end. 

“She bewitches you," Trevanion said. "And she is yours for the taking. Any fool can see that. So take her and get whatever needs to be gotten out of your system."
...
"Maybe you are right, Trevanion," he said, turning back to his father. "But it is her hope that bewitches me, and that hope I may never get out of my system, no matter how many times she's to be gotten. Can you not see it burning in her eyes? Does it not make you want to look away when you have none to give in return? Her hope fills me with... something other than this dull weight I wake with each morning.” 

The same goes for wise Sir Topher, grieving Trevanyon and feral Froi. I loved them all, and I really enjoyed this superb fantasy. Don't get thrown by YA label - this is a violent, dark, realistic and chilling story. Highly recommended.

* * *
Неожиданно для себя, мне очень это фэнтези понравилось.

Книгу эту ошибочно или обманчиво характеризуют как подростковое фэнтэзи. И конечно часть главных героев остаются молодыми людьми, но чисто физически. Морально, психологически они прошли через столько травм, что их голоса получаются циничными, горькими и довольно резкими. Поэтому и сама книга вышла довольно грустной и очень серьёзной.

Финникин вот уже 10 лет является частью изгнаников Люматере - страны, расколотой напополам проклятьем. Те, кому посчастливилось оказаться за пределами Люматере когда проклятье вошло в силу остались без ничего и теперь скитаются по соседним странам, умирая от голода ит болезней в миграционных лагерях, а Финникин с 12 лет учит языки соседей, чтобы просить тех о помощи своему народу в качестве Правой Руки отсутствующего короля.

Однако Финникин, почти что потерявший надежду найти короля и своего отца, который был начальником его стражи, узнаёт о таинственной Эванжелин - молодой девушке с даром скитания по снам тех, кто остался в Люматере за магической стеной, которая знает о том, где найти короля и как освободить Люматере от проклятия.

И теперь Эванжелин предстоит собрать отряд люматерцев, которым придётся пройти через множество приключений, страданий и жертв, чтобы наконец вернуться на родную землю и восстановить справедливость. 

Прекрасная проза, трагичная, мудрая и в то же время, живая и не лишённая чувства юмора. И Финникин и Эванжелин, а также второстепенные характеры - персонажи сложные и непростые. Множество запоминающихся цитат, и, в целом, очень советую. Шикарное фэнтези!
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