Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Author:  Melina Marchetta
Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher:  Penguin Australia 
Publication Date:  3rd October 2011
ISBN:  9780670076086
Stand alone or series:   #2 Lumatere Chronicles
Pages:  608 pages
Book Received from:  Penguin Australia (Publisher)
First Lines:  They call her Quintana the cursemaker.  The last female born to Charyn, eighteen years past.

Possible spoilers for those that have not read Finnikin of the Rock
Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.
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 trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.
And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

My Thoughts:
I was a bit hesitant to picks this up to begin with.  The size alone is large for a YA novel and not only that, this was going to follow Froi of the Exiles.  The POV's do change throughout the story but I wasn't sure if I was going to like Froi.  In Finnikin of the Rock, he's almost savage, knowing no manners and being reduced to the most base of boys coming of age.  To my surprise, the story of Froi of the Exiles takes place three years later and he has come a long way.  In saying that there are still hints of his dark past laced throughout the book but I found myself completely absorbed with his POV all the way through.

We get to see what is happening with Froi, Beatriss, Lucian the Mont and Finnikin and Isaboe throughout the story but alot of my attention was drawn to Froi's travels to Citavita and the curse that lay about the Charynites 18 years ago.  While not going into too much detail we get to find more about Froi's past as well which gives him more depth as a character.

Another character in this book that we are introduced to is Quintana, a strange princess that lives in the Citavita.  One moment she's strange the next she's almost normal, and I really liked how this character stood out from the rest of the others even if she was a little crazy.  Actually now that I think about it, it was because she was crazy that I loved her.  So blunt and to the point at times then others as innocent as a little girl.  Such a complex character.

Like I said, the story is long but it's one that you will want to savour every page and absorb the words completely.  I love how Melina has created the land of Skuldenore.  She has really brought them to life that I can see the places, the landscapes, the people.  I also love how there are maps situated at the beginning of the book and I felt myself constantly going back and forth following each characters journey throughout the lands.   This is a big winner for me as I used to struggle to visualise purely fictional places when I was younger.

After reading this I'm itching to read the third book in The Lumatere Chronicles but I must say I felt this was for the higher end of the young adult market, possibly for at least fourteen and above as there are discussions of mature nature laced throughout.

If you haven't picked up Froi of Exiles yet I recommend this read but make sure to read Finnikin of the Rock as there are references throughout the book that link back to the first book.  Don't be intimidated by the size of this book either.  After turning the last page I wished the book was just a tad bigger.  Just sayin'.

Fave Line:  "..it is what you do for strangers that counts in the end." Page 163

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