Review: Finnikin Of The Rock - Melina Marchetta

Pages: 416 pages
Published: September 29th 2008 by Viking Australia
ISBN: 0670072818 (ISBN13: 9780670072811)
Edition language: English
Series: The Lumatere Chronicles (Book 1)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis:

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


The Kingdom of Lumatere is not what it was before the five days of the unspeakable. Before the unspeakable, the King and Queen ruled their people with love, honesty, and dedication. Before the unspeakable, Lumatere flourished in trade. Before the unspeakable, Lumatere was a land of peace. Of happiness. A land of prosperity.  

Before the unspeakable, Lumatere was not a land ruled by an imposter king, its people persecuted to the point where men would kill their own beloved daughters so that the king's forces would not violate them, where adults feared to bring children into a world fraught with darkness, desolation and despair, where people's houses and farms would be burned, where innocent men, women, and children were murdered without a bit of mercy from the King.

Enter the dark age of Lumatere. 

The land is cursed. There are Lumaterans trapped inside the kingdom, suffering through the worst kinds of torture and abuse known to man. There are Lumaterans shut outside their kingdom - the Exiles - living through the most brutal conditions.Their lives mutilated.

 As they entered the exile camp the following day, Sir Topher was speechless. But it was the look on his father's face that stayed in Finnikin's mind for days to come. He knew Trevanion had never seen a camp before, had never imagined the way their people lived these past years, so nothing could prepare him for such desolation. His father understood punishment, imprisonment, and retribution. But this? What crime against the gods had these people committed to condemn them to this life?

But then, amidst all the pain, despair, and torture, there is hope. Hope that one day someone would come topple the imposter king and return Lumatere to its former glory. 

The turning point of Lumatere's fate arises when Finnikin meets Evanjalin, a girl who claims to walk the dreams of those trapped inside Lumatere. And she insists that Prince Balthazar is alive. 

Finnikin initially doesn't believe her, but in his heart, he is dying to meet his childhood friend Balthazar again, to help him rescue Lumatere from the clutches of darkness, to put an end to the Lumaterans' grief. A romance blossoms between Finnikin and Evanjalin, and he starts trusting her instincts and wild claims even when others were doubtful. And he is all ready to march to Lumatere with his father's former Guard, but then he discovers that Evanjalin is hiding her true identity, her true purpose. She's hiding a royal secret. Like, literally. 

Now that the situation has taken a shocking change, now that Finnikin is aware of reality, he is faced with more than he could ever have come across in his wildest imagination. Marchetta does an amazing job at portaying the despair of the broken kingdom, the bond of friendship, the love between two young Lumaterans fighting for their kingdom, the beautiful relationship between a father and his son, and the hope of broken people, the hope that their beloved land will one day be cured of the curse. 

“Somehow, even in the worst of times, the tiniest fragments of good survive. It was the grip in which one held those fragments that counted.”

This book is everything I hoped it would be, and then some. The plot, the storytelling - everything- will knock your mind cold and tug at your heart, because this book truly is a gem in fantasy.


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