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 words.
©2008 Melina Marchetta (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Filled with questions about the impact of exile and the human need to belong, this standout fantasy quickly reveals that its real magic lies in its accomplished writing." (Booklist)
WOWSA!!! "Finnikin of the Rock" is possibly the best fantasy book that I have listened to in *years!* I'm not even exaggerating a little bit. This is an epic quest told in this deliciously compact format. The writing is beautiful AND brilliant. The characters are drawn with precision and finely layered. The journey is worthy, the fight is "what must be done," the relationships profound and complex. I'm pretty sure I could flail around and continue to list praises for this book for most of my day! I won't do it justice.
This is a book full of men - boldly drawn men, warriors and priests and nobility and peasants and thieves. The narrator created wonderful voices for these characters, and I could see every one of them so clearly in my head as I listened to the story. He did an equally good job with the female characters, and I thought the tone and pace of the narration was spot-on.
The relationships in this story blew me away. The author did not pull punches. People are messy. Relationships can bring as much pain as joy. And we see relationships of every kind here - familial, brotherly bonds, warriors-in-arms, families created by choice rather than blood, mentor and ward, master and slave, lovers and friends. This author is a master craftsman, and she delivers an amazing story in "Finnikin." I could not recommend this more highly - 5 stars!
Good narratation, but the story didn't hold my attention. To me, it felt boring and long, with some compelling scenes. I kept waiting for the plot or the characters to engage my interest or emotions, but it's hard to fall in love with juvenile, bratty, manipulative protagonists. Basically, I didn't much care for Finnikin or Evanjalin. She's controlling and deceptive. He's full of himself, and believes some minor thing that he did when he was nine years old brought about the end of the kingdom of Lumatere and the exile of thousands. His guilt-tripping got old fast.
I like to laugh occasionally, even in fantasy novels, but this book isn't lighthearted, with a few exceptional scenes. There's lots of bickering among friends and family across this book, which seemed mostly like male posturing on Finn's part. Even when the tone should have been celebratory -- when old friends reunite -- the characters fell to squabbling (Finn and Lucien).
The dialogue felt like it was written for 12-year-olds, but then there are references to sex, sodomy, and rape. Was that meant to appeal to mature readers? It just felt like a misfit to me.
The world-building didn't add up (or was poorly accounted for and explained) in terms of the magical sleep walking and the dark mist, and the two goddesses, dark Sagrami and light Lagrami, which together make the goddess complete (yes, so what?? I kept waiting for the drum roll, the big boon).
Odd, the varied races of humans on such a small island (they walked from end to end in a few weeks).
On an up note, the theme of exile was rather well done, and brought to mind the Diaspora of the Jewish / Hebrew people, or the fragmentation of the Native American tribes, etc.
Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel
Finnikin is the 1st of 3 in the series, but is the only book that can exist on its own. To me, it is the best of the 3 books. Nothing really new or inventive for the genre.
Book 2 ends in incomplete storylines whereas the Finnikin book could be fine if it were the only book you listen to. There are many parts of all 3 books that are very moving and well-written. The repeated problem with the series is that situation after situation resolves around someone not saying the MOST obvious thing at that time. Arguments, flights, entire chapters revolve around characters simply not stating the obvious facts they know, but decide not to share - no rationale why - they just don't communicate. The pattern starts mid-way through Finnikin, but it does become repetitively predictable through books 2 and 3 - to the point that every major plot point depends on it There are times you just want to yell because no group of characters could be this stupid at communicating with each other.
It's Melina Marchetta, people - do you expect anything less than 5 stars? She's amazing.
This is some seriously good Fantasy. Fans of Graceling will love.
Im a good listener
It was weirding me out cause at times the narrator's voice sounded like certain characters on South Park. It was like Trey Parker was reading it.
This is NOT a grim dystopia-- thank goodness. Though I do love a number of books that are dystopian, i want to read a variety of fantasy stories. This story is inventive and enjoyable. And hopeful.
Speaking of grim, the precipitating event is very grim.
Mountain Cabin revelation
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