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Lumatere Chronicles #3

Quintana of Charyn

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There's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn's unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn's war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

516 pages, Paperback

First published September 26, 2012

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About the author

Melina Marchetta

43 books7,546 followers
Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney Australia. Her first novel, Looking For Alibrandi was awarded the Children's Book Council of Australia award in 1993 and her second novel, Saving Francesca won the same award in 2004. Looking For Alibrandi was made into a major film in 2000 and won the Australian Film Institute Award for best Film and best adapted screen play, also written by the author. On the Jellicoe Road was released in 2006 and won the US Printz Medal in 2009 for excellence in YA literature. This was followed up by Finnikin of the Rock in 2008 which won the Aurealis Award for YA fantasy, The Piper's Son in 2010 which was shortlisted for the Qld Premier's Lit Award, NSW Premier's Lit Award, Prime Minister's Literary Awards, CBC awards and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Her follow up to Finnikin, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn were released in 2012 and 2013. Her latest novel Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is an adult crime novel.

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5 stars
8,104 (56%)
4 stars
3,961 (27%)
3 stars
1,598 (11%)
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345 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,720 reviews
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
October 10, 2012
Quintana of Charyn is a masterful novel. Hauntingly beautiful, powerfully written and the perfect end to this brilliant fantasy series.

But this is nothing different. Marchetta's novels only come in shades of amazing. By far her strongest and most compelling ability as a writer, is the way in which she crafts her characters and their struggles in the context of the world they live in.

If you have read Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles than fear not. Quintana of Charyn will not disappoint.

What sets the Lumatere series apart from many other fantasy novels is it's focus on people and relationships. It's easy, when constructing fantasy worlds, foreign mythology and ensuring you've described the elves' ears right, to forget the heart and soul of fantasy - and that is the people in it. Who are they? what are their struggles? What do they hope for? What do they fear? Often societies and races get boiled down to the language lexicon and dress code that the author painstakingly put aside for them.

There is a rich, imaginative fantasy mythos going on here, but world-building is like movie special-effects. It's usually doing it's job best when you can't tell it's there. When it's so native and natural to the storytelling, that the audience is able to completely forget that it's all made up.

But you guys don't really want to read my wax poetic about how much I love and respect Marchetta. Wait, you do? Okay. Here goes.

Reading this book was like looking at a rainbow - beautiful, something for everyone, filling our hearts with joy, and you assume at least one Unicorn was involved in the making of it.

Reading this book is like being under a spell. It doesn't seem possible, there's magic in the air, and Marchetta eats your heart with how lovely and sad it is.

Reading this book is like having all the fun of sex without pregnancy or STDs. It'll make you cry out, beg and pray to a deity - whether you believe in one or not.

The complaint I hear most often is that Marchetta's books are expensive - especially for non Australians. But look at it this way: Marchetta is like Hipster gold. Brilliant, obscure and hard to get. Do yourself a favour. If you've not read her books before, get them. See for yourself what all the raving is about. Fall in love again, and again. Grow up and learn, live, cry, make a bunch of life-long friends, and then do it all again with the next book.

I promise you, Marchetta's books are worth it.

This review can also be found on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
October 4, 2012
I am a little unsure about this rating because it's Melina Marchetta - how can her books be anything less than five stars? She's the queen of young adult who can jump across genres and still create something spectacular. But, though I really enjoyed Quintana of Charyn, I liked it significantly less than the other books in this series (particularly Froi of the Exiles) and I think I can quite easily pinpoint the main problem: the plot. Or lack thereof. Where I think Froi of the Exiles could easily be read and enjoyed without reading the first book, this installment was far from the same. In fact, this book is an entirely different creature; brilliant, in its own way, but still not as strong, in my opinion.

Froi of the Exiles was a brilliantly complex novel that took us into the heart of Charyn and introduced us to life and politics within its borders. It was such a fantastic novel that I remembered exactly what happened in it without needing a recap, and it also made me completely fall in love with Froi. And he is still my favourite character after finishing this novel because of his many sides, his issues and his complicated background. The road for him has been difficult and he's done many bad things on his way to where he is now... and yet he has earned redemption - in my eyes, anyway. But Quintana of Charyn is a far less plot-focused story, no more main characters are introduced and the story progresses only slightly from where it's prequel finished.

In this book, Marchetta focuses on what she already has and builds on it. Relationships are developed and explored, loyalty is questioned, opinions of certain people start to change. Almost everyone is challenged mentally and physically in this book and the characters experience a very emotional journey. It is, for me, Marchetta's most romantic novel to date. And the one with the most sex scenes. When it comes to Marchetta, neither of these is a complaint because she handles them masterfully, depicting love and sexual relationships in a very honest way that I really appreciate. The saucy scenes include bathtubs and a "game" between Finnikin and Isaboe - you know you're curious.

Quintana of Charyn wraps things up well but I think the land of Lumatere (and all the Skuldenore lands) still has a lot more stories to tell and I hope Marchetta will return to this beautiful story. One of my biggest complaints about this book is that the title character doesn't appear in it anywhere near as much as I'd like. Quintana really interests me and the glimpses of her character just made me more curious; I think if this book was told mostly from her point of view, then she could have been a character I loved even more. But I understand that Marchetta had many different stories to address about many different people in this novel.

Marchetta has definitely not let me down, even though I couldn't love it as much as Froi of the Exiles. This woman is truly amazing and I cannot wait to see what she produces in the future. Bye bye, Lumatere *sob*
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
841 reviews3,773 followers
February 15, 2021
Reread 09/26 : As if I could stop at the end of Froi of the Exiles. Please.

"Our bodies aren't strangers," he said, his voice ragged. "Our spirits aren't strangers". He held her face in his hands. "Tell me what part of me is stranger to you and I'll destroy that part of me."

Original review : Truth to be told, I was wary at first, out of fear to be disappointed by this last journey through Lumatere and Charyn. I couldn't have been more wrong - indeed Quintana of Charyn was wonderful, as it contains all that I wanted and even more : painful at times, heartbreaking, hilarious, I felt all kind of emotions and wasn't always able to control them. This book was beautiful.

Let's deliver some awards, okay?

"Because people aren't interested in the truth, Dafar. They're interested in what keeps them safe. They're interested in being looked after. They're interested in a tale being spun."

Top 4 of the best meetings - you know the feeling - you've started to care for several characters in the first two books and then you get to watch their meeting. Precious.
- Perri and Quintana. Adorable and filled with daggers (yes, that's possible)
- Finn and Gargarin. Men. Nothing more important to do than arguing about mythology. Did I mention that I loved them?
- Quintana and Lucian. Hilariously inappropriate - this meeting took the form of a not-so-constructive discussion about Lucian's sex performances. Yeah, you heard me.
- The Turlan lads and the stupid Lasconian. Is it wrong I smiled so big when they defeated these annoying pricks? Take that for Froi!

"Finnikin laughed. "All I had to do was stop the horse and say, 'I think...' and they were racing back into the woods to you."

Into the category of "words I wouldn't want to use but couldn't help but laugh about", the winner is Quintana with her constant use of "swiving".

Into the category of "you made me want to throw my book on the wall", the winner is Queen Isaboe whose decisions if understandable stayed often incredibly annoying.

Into the category of the best bromance scene, the winners are Froi and Finnikin for the "you fainted/No, I didn't" scene.

"You're not going to start crying, are you, fool? Quintana asked bluntly. "It irritates me".
Tessadora made a clucking sound of annoyance.
"What did I tell you?" she said to Quintana in a reprimanding voice."

✭ Now, into the category of the incredible characters, because they've all their story to tell and because each and every one of them earned a little piece of my heart, the winners are :

- Lucian for the most bittersweet monologues and the way he can't help but care.
- Phaedra because maaan, did this girl had patience to stand these Charyn whinnies.
- Finnikin because he's a ray of light in the story - adorable and kind, comprehensive and patient, this ginger catlove the surname, by the way.
- Perri because every story needs his blunt guy.
- Lirah because she refuses stereotypes and for her half-mean, half-hilarious protective comments.
- Froi, of course, for his courage, his loyalty, his selflessness and his perseverance - because his quest to be accepted for who he truly is moved me like nobody else could.

✭ Yet surprisingly, despite the fact that Froi stole my heart, into the category of the loved-whatever-it-takes character, the winner is Quintana because she's deliciously inappropriate, refreshingly selfish, fierce, proud, courageous, in a nutshell : insanely amazing.

"Because he sang for Quintana of Charyn. He sang for the misery of her life, the poison in her body, the scars on her skin, and the courage in her character."

✭ And finally, into the category of best adorable support, the winner are my boyfriend because he stand my "OMG! FROI!" and other irrepressible giggles I let out during hours, and my lovely Chelsea because I spammed her with the same thoughts. Sorry about that.

PS : I saved so many quotes that it was really hard for me to refrain myself here. I did refrain, even if it seems I'm spamming you ;)

"He couldn't think, and he couldn't breathe ; his head, his chest, everthing felt as if it would explode, and he tried to count, tried to remember anythink..."

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Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,798 followers
July 8, 2017

Volunteer for someone to hold me bc I literally cannot exist right now.
I don’t know where to start bc I can’t encompass the thought that this is the end


Do you know who tells me my worth, Phaedra of Alonso?’
The Princess pointed a hard finger to her own chest. ‘Me. I determine my own worth. If I had to rely on others I’d have lain down and died waiting.”

This book broke me so many times.

- This kid doesn’t stop fighting man
- AFTER EVERYTHING, hes still so loyal and honest and sacrificing IM FRICKEN CRYING AGAIN
- You’re an a*s but I love you so much oh my god
- Isaboe was a fricken boss in this book
- Not that she usually isn’t
- But she was exceptionally BOSS
- FRICKEN HELL the stuff she went through
- Gosh dammit I cant exist with all this pain in my heart
- Quintana
- She’s a fricken savage, shes a monster, but shes also strong and dedicated and genius and SO BLOODY STRONG
- Phaedra
- My sweet, sacrificing Phaedra
- I honestly wasn’t her biggest fan in book 2
- Shes legit one of my favourite character
- I was cherishing her chapters
- The writing bewitched me I’m not even kidding
- I could have just read for hours and felt like it was 10 minutes bc its so vivid and deep
- What a monster
- She’s so bloody precious
- And all the other characters that shattered me
- I love them and this series
- And Melina Marchetta for ruining my life
- Bc I don’t think any trilogy will be able to compare with the likes of this one
- Im so broken
- And distraught
- I’m done with the series
- Im done
- I wont be able to see my children again
- I wont be able to cry my heart out for them
- I wont be able to clutch my heart in happiness
- I wont be able cheer them on bc its over
- description
- (s)

Froi saw the foolishness of dreamers, and he decided he’d like to die so foolish. With a dream in his heart about the possibilities, rather than a chain of hopelessness.

I don’t know how to live
Can someone direct me to the nearest hospital? I don’t think its healthy for me to be feeling these many emotions at once

I need therapy. Im too attached to these characters and this world.


“Land?' Froi whispered. 'You're giving them land? I'm not worth the valley.'
'You're worth a kingdom,' Finnikin said.”

You win, Melina Marchetta, you win.

5 stars!!


I'm back to being Marchetta Trash :))

Buddy read with the only one who gets my Marchetta obsession, Mihlean
Profile Image for Hira.
153 reviews395 followers
October 6, 2012
Perfect ending to the story, Melina Marchetta, I fall in love with your writing more each time. Never stop writing, please. Review maybe to come later. Read it in one sitting.

October 2012?! Too, too long...

Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews946 followers
May 12, 2020
This poem does not contain spoilers for Quintana HOWEVER if you haven't read Froi of the Exiles, be off with you. Shoo.

Here she is. Crazy as ever…

You may think that it would be difficult to get behind
A heroine who snarls at people, keeping them at arm’s length.
But, for me at least, Quintana will always be my ultimate heroine,
As she’s a girl who survives because of her resilience and strength.

And I want her to be my life coach, my best friend,
Because I can’t imagine a life without her savage little stare.
(I also feel it’s of the utmost importance that a girl from
Manchester knows how to kill, gut and skin a hare.)

I adored how we, with the help of first person account,
Are allowed to creep inside the madness of our girl Q.
We get to see what makes her heart beat (or maybe...who makes it beat.)
And it’s easy to see there is a little Quintana in both me and in you.

But I guess this leads me to the only quibble that I have with this book.
Gasp. I know! Sacrilege. But…. OK, it’s the name.
Because this book may be about our crazy queen.
But there were other stories and I loved them all the same.

This is the story of Phaedra and the girls in the valley.
And it’s about the Charynites who fought for peace.
It’s about a woman full of anger and a bitter man, and the one they both adore.
And Luci-en; possibly the only guy who could look hot in a fleece.

And it’s about the “ginger king” and his beloved queen,
Who made me hate them one minute but love them the next.
The couple who started it all and hold everyone together.
With a love so fierce and pure and mind-blowingly complex.

And let’s not forget about the powerful white witch
Who keeps a warrior as her lover, the one with the scar.
And “our boy”, my favourite, with the story like no other,
He grew up to be pretty much everything, not at all “Dafar”.

This book isn’t about just one girl and what she does,
It’s about hundreds of voices, greater than the sum of their parts.
And it’s that that makes MM the queen of writing about families,
Friends, lovers and enemies and the connections of their hearts.

Q of C is about journeys, both of the physical and mental.
It’s about not giving up for the one you love, no matter how much you’ve bled.
It’s about connections, circumstances and trusting those you never did.
OH and it also has girls telling the boys exactly how they want to be treated in the marital bed.

I was genuinely concerned that crafty Double M
Would end this series in a way that would make it difficult for me to cope.
And while I do not want to spoil this book for you…
I can divulge that there’s an ending full of “Hope. Hope. Hope.”

Words or pitiful rhyme cannot express how much I adore this
Series and the characters that live within these pages.
And I have a horrible feeling that if I want to read something
That will affect me like this series has, I will be waiting ages.

Why do I always feel like this after I finish fantasy books?
The ones that speak to me the most, that make me cry and smile.
It’s because, I think, that they’re the books that let me
Escape from reality… if only for a little while.

I am distraught that it’s over but I know I will revisit Skuldenore
And catch up with Froi, Lucian, Gargarin… is that odd?, Trevanion completely and utterly, how old is Jory? Forget I said anything… unless he’s about 20. Then we are a-go!  all my old friends and greet them with my arms open wide,
Because all I have to do is visit my bookshelf, and once again I’ll be back with them.
And that’s me looking on that wonderful, wonderful wondrous side.

I received a copy of this book from the author.

No more Jo-etry for a while now, Brownie promise. ;)

Profile Image for Basuhi.
32 reviews243 followers
August 26, 2013

Book, did you just try to kill me ?

With that epilogue, I swear, you did.

With the serrated edges of sorrow of bidding farewell to Lumatere and Charyn.

With the indelible silence of completion.

That is fraught with joy so consummating that it aches.

I guess I got carried away, but that happened because I loved this book. I don't know if I was expecting any different but I still feel that it has surprised me.

I must tell you that this review is going to be long, because I have so much to say and no one to say to. This is my reprieve and this is my closure to the Lumatere chronicles. And I may inadvertently switch to my poetic idiosyncrasies, so.

I want to dissect every word of this book and present it to you. With it's beauty and with it's innate significance. How every sentence, every chapter is the quintessence of the whole. How every character is a being you come to love, love with their flaws and their weaknesses. Love like it means to love. And I will try to do that.

The fact is that I started loving this book because of it's characters.

Because it made me love every one of the characters. Maybe love is not quite the right word, passionate is more like it.


The little Sarnak thief.
Froi of the exiles.
The Lumateran.
The flatlands lad.
The Charynite.
Dafar of Abroi.

When I first met Froi, I wouldn't have thought in a million years that I'd be saying this,
But I love you, Froi.
That was the only thing in my mind as I was reading the last page of this book.

He feels everything with an ardor that it entrances you.
With a mesmerizing clarity of emotions that it unnerves you.

In the second book, I wanted to feel sorry for him but I know he doesn't want me to. One might be wondering why I'd feel sorry for someone who was heinous in the first book and tried to rape Evanjalin. Because, there's forgiveness on the victim's part and guilt on the perpetuator's.
The easiest way might have been to forget this past of his and never mention of it. But that didn't happen.
And I appreciate that.

Froi's tenuous relationship with his parents is awkward.
And Lovely. Yes, together.
I craved his easy charm with Finnikin and Isaboe and his loyal mien with Trevanion or Perri. But there was something bewitching about the gossamer path he trudged with his parents.
Like he was in his own elements.

And every time, Now that I think of him, it's like I want to weep.
With happiness ?
Because I'll miss him.
Yes, I will.


Quintana of Charyn.
She has forgotten what trust is.
Forgotten what means to be loved.
Lost and insecure and frightened is what she is.
Hauteur and arrogance and insolence is what she bares.
A madwoman, a fierce savage beauty.
Quintana the useless and the hopeless.
Quintana the brave, the lovely and the little King's mother.

Do you see the cover ? Yes, this one. So, do you like it ? When I saw the cover, I instantly fell in love with it. With the savage girl and the verdant hues.
Her gleaming eyes and her haughty countenance. Her honest pain, unmasked and bared.
If it's ever been possible, I think that I understood Quintana better after a look at this.

Quintana is not one you take to your liking. It's difficult to get to know her because Marchetta has not written her PoV a lot and honestly, I don't think her PoV would help matters.

Her early life was a tormenting ordeal that has shaped into the insane raging woman that she is.

Unflinchingly brave.
And wildly ravishing.

As much as I didn't feel sympathetic to her predicament, I can feel reality marring the esse of her and believe that she is truly a brilliant character despite or more rather because of everything raw and dark she holds within.

At moments I've hated her so much that I've wanted to choke the life out of her and then at others I've wanted to hold her tight and whisper that she's not alone. She makes me feel those emotions that are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Sometimes, all at once.

Now there's one thing misleading about the title of the book, neither is this book all about Quintana, nor is it in her point of view. She's the hope for Charyn. Many things revolve around her but it's not very apparent throughout the book.

The Twins and Lirah, the Serker.

There is simply something so hypnotic about the charismatic chaos they share, Arjuro, Gargarin and Lirah that I get lost in them.
They share a past, a past of regret, of guilt, of retribution.
And of love.

An unusual love amongst themselves and love for Froi that knows no boundaries.

When Froi was with Lirah, Gargarin or Arjuro, I wanted sob with the sheer joy of it. A mother and a son. A father and son. The beloved Uncle and son. After all these years.
But when they were all together, I wanted to go numb all over.

Finnikin and Isaboe.

The Queen and her Consort.
The Ruby Ring.

I'd be lying now if I said that their saccharine love despite it's cloying order doesn't bring a smile to my face.

It's like seeing a childhood friend and listening to them speak about their life now and relating it to the memories of the past.
Just like that.

Lucian and Phaedra.

Lucian of the Monts.
Queen's beloved cousin.
Finnikin's and Balthazar's beloved friend.

....And the Charyn wife he sent away.

See, what I told you about distinctive characters. Here they are, in all their glory.

I liked Phaedra and Lucian's romance because it has the highs and lows, the animosity and the passion and at times, unrequited hilarity too.

The book is as much about the other characters as much as it's about the strain between Charyn and Lumatere. On the sidelines there were Trevanion and Beatriss with Vestie and then Perri and Tesadora.
I liked them all especially, Tesadora, a strong willed woman who yields to no one.

The Story.
The Amazing Tale of the lost and the living.

It is unique. When you say something again and again, it loses it's meaning.
But I'll say it again because I want to.



The story is also virile, as if it has a life of it's own.
Because it's raw and potent in everything it bares.

Raw in the grief.
Raw in the pain.
In the anguish and the anger.
Raw in the eclectic desires.
Raw in it's joy as well.

And who can deny the amazing eloquence that pulls you in and never lets go.

It's like sadness and happiness are woven so close together that you can't differentiate and you feel them both, at the same time, guilty of feeling them simultaneously.

Am I rambling ?
I don't know.
Do I care ?

This is highly recommended for High Fantasy lovers known to possess a modicum of patience.
Yes, patience is the key to unraveling this finely woven enigma.

Blood Sings to Blood.

But more than that, it's Love and Humanity and Forgiveness that have a tune so melliferous it alleviates grief, despondency and anger and everything scathing there is.

And, Beautiful, this book was.

Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
January 10, 2015
Buddy read/reread Starting Dec 29 with my friends over on Buddies Books and Baubles formerly known as the Lumatere Group Read

Loved it just as much the 2nd time through. What a great, emotional, beautiful story.

let me love you photo: Friends Letmeloveyou_zps9a48634c.gif

Overall Series Rating = 4.75
Quintana of Charyn = 4.5

I will not be able to do justice how much I loved this series, it is impossible. Not all of it is happy and the feelings I felt throughout the series ranged the whole spectrum of emotions. I laughed, cried, got angry, hoped beyond belief and could not set the story down for anything else. If you are a fan of fantasy at all it is a must read.

“It is what a man does for strangers that counts more than what he does for his family.”

It is a beautiful thing when an author takes their story to completion and ties everything together. Not every author seems to be able to do that, some lose their message along the way and never recapture it but Melina Marchette was able to tell the story of two lands, both cursed and the boy that unites them. If there is a message within the story I think that it is this:

“And through all the misery, she said that some of us in this lifetime experience a moment of beauty beyond reckoning. I asked her what that was, and she said, "If you're one of the lucky ones, you'll know it when you see it. You'll understand why the gods have made you suffer. Because that moment's reward will make your knees weak and everything you've suffered in life will pale in comparison.”

Our heroes have been through so much suffering in this tale: A Princess forced to suffer the stigma of being a whore so that the other last born girls of her land would not be touched. Twin brothers separated by a deception and forced to bare the punishment meant for the other. Lovers torn apart for almost two decades and parents separated from their child for nearly as long. And finally Froi connected to all of them in some way saved by the Lumateers and unacknowledged father of the future king growing in the crazy princess Quintana’s belly. Each has a devastating tale but all are also so full of hope for that moment they are willing to trudge through all the struggles to make it happen.

“And if the gods were to give me a choice between living a better life, having not met them, or a wretched life with the slightest chance of crossing their path, then I’d pick the wretched life over and over again.”

At 100 pages into the story I had no idea how Marchetta was going to bring the story together. It was such a tangled weave where everything was in upheaval. But in the end she pulled it off beautifully. She was honest to the characters and while sometimes that made me mad at them, because I just wanted everyone to get along, each character had their own journey to make and their own priorities.

I really don’t want to give too much away because the story was so well thought out and executed it should really be experienced without any spoilers. But much like Lord of the Rings there are multiple stories going on at once that all have to come together in the end.

The stories revolving include but are not limited to:

Quintana is in hiding in the Valley on the boarder of Lumatere and is being helped by Phaedra who most think is dead. She is also stuck with a few other women who would not be the first choice for help in a situation like this but they are along for the ride. Phaedra and Lucian, two people who have finally discovered that they are in love but still torn my duty to their prospective kingdoms/queendoms. Froi who must find an army for Quintana and his babe but find resistance everywhere along the way. Gargarin, Lirah and Arjuro who have the most tragic of pasts and are trying to help Froi build a future for Charyn no matter what future sacrifices they must make for him. Isaboe and Finnikin who need peace for their own kingdom but still have so much hate for Charyn and Quintana. The upcoming war against Bestiano and the army he has acquired in order to get Quintana back on the throne.

With all of those stories going on I could not walk away from this book. This had some of the most poignant moments in it of any book I’ve read that will stick with me probably forever. The cave scene between Isaboe and Quintana being the one that I think I will always associate with this book. It was heart wrenching, hopeful and showed just how well thought out all of the characters were. How even though the people were from different lands in the ferocity of love for their people they were the same.

I’m so sad to leave this world. I wanted to stay immersed in it even longer or come back to it in the next generation of characters when Froi and Quintana’s son comes of age to take the throne. This is a series that I’m sure I’ll read again and again. There was something for everyone and it is so hard to walk away at the end.

Dec 29 2013
My actual review to come but I want this marked as finished before the new year.

I really want to do this book and the whole series justice in my review and that will take a little more thought as there was so much, so many feels. But all I can say is that if you are a fan of fantasy this is a series that should be on your must read list.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,164 followers
December 14, 2012
Rating: 4.75 Stars

Well, call me a coward, but I have been avoiding writing this review like the plague. Actually, worse, considering I'd run towards a plague before I ran towards writing a review for this. I always have two feelings when I finish a Melina Marchetta novel. One, of being incredible happy, content, and simply awe-struck for the novel is always amazing beyong belief; and second, of feeling ever-so-slightly nervous because, let's be honest, how could I ever possibly even think or imagine how to write a review that would do the book I read justice of any kind? Well, I can't. What I can do, however, is tell you that I loved Quintana of Charyn. It is a beautiful, provocative, and gorgeously written novel that ties up all loose ends, concludes this series without flaws, and renders me speechless. Yet, for the first time, I have to admit that there is something about this book that fell just a tiiiny bit flat for me. I feel like a traitor saying this, especially considering I've given every single one of Marchetta's novels 5 Stars and even went out of my way to order this novel from Australia because I couldn't wait to read it and it was only releasing in America around six-ish months later, but, when compared to all of Marchetta's prior works, I feel as if this just might have been her weakest novel yet.

When I began Quintana of Charyn, I thought for sure that it would wind up being my favorite of the Lumatere Chronicles. Well, Finnikin of the Rock still is, although I suspect Froi of the Exiles would be if I re-read it, knowing all that I do now about Quintana's character. Nevertheless, somewhere a little after the half-way mark of this story, Quintana began to steadily lose me. It wasn't that the story lagged or that I was bored, it was simply that it was too overly dramatic. I didn't need that many scenes or that much build-up and prolongment to the happy ending we all knew was awaiting us. I found myself wondering why so many pages were still left when not so much of the actual story was left at all. It was a very well-written conclusion that brought a smile to my face, but the fact that it fell into the let-me-be-a-dramatic-conclusion trope was rather disappointing.

Nevertheless, Quintana of Charyn  is simply breathtaking. Marchetta has a gift for weaving together multiple story lines and the gradual manner in which the lives of Finnikin, Froi, Isaboe, Lucien, Phaedra, and Quintana herself all came to be together,  intertwined  and  interlapped  with one another, was truly beautiful. It is evident, with every novel that she writes, that Marchetta takes on astounding themes and valuable life lessons, but perhaps what I loved the most about Quintana especially was just how real everything felt. We often go through life and reach points where everything seems to fit together like a puzzle piece; we realize that things all happened for a reason and that reason was to bring us to this point. Well, reading this novel is a little like that too. It never feels forced or rushed, but all flows so naturally that it's easy to forget you're reading about people who aren't real, who aren't there in front of your eyes, whose suffering isn't your own because it certainly feels that way.

Another one of the best things about this novel was its heavy emphasis on friendship and the growth that each of the characters experienced, despite the fact that we had met them before and seen them grow before; like humans, they still had a long way to go in their lives and were never finished fully growing after all. Isaboe and Finnikin, for example, are the characters we've known the longest, but the turns their relationship took, the hurdles they still had to cross, were so very realistically drawn-up and handled. Quintana, too, faced immense change as she formed bonds of friendship with Phaedra and the other Charynites in the Lumaterean valley. Theirs was a friendship reminiscent of that from Saving Francesca, my favorite Marchetta novel to date, and their gradual trust and understanding of one another moved me beyond words. Yet, it was the story of Phaedra of Alonso that tugged the most at my heartstrings. Phaedra is a character that is easy to overlook for she isn't in-your-face courageous like Isaboe and she isn't strange-but-beautiful like Quintana. Instead, her strength lies within, in her resolve and belief and faith in others. It is easy to paint her in the picture of a saint, but her inner struggles and the constant hurdles that she faced and even the times when even she seemed to lose hope only added to the realistic quality behind this story and the whirlwind of emotion that came with it.

Moreover, Lucien and Phaedra's relationship is, without a doubt, my favorite of all the young couples in this series. Although Finnikin is my sweetheart, I couldn't keep the helplessly wide and cheesy grin from my face whenever Phaedra and Lucien interacted, or just whenever Lucien made an appearance. Note, however, that I said young couples. You see, my favorite couple in the entire novel is the one between Gargarin of Abroi and his wife, the beautiful Lirah. For some reason, seeing couples who have weathered storms and still managed to stay together, acting so sweetly even after having children and as they age, always yanks my heart in weird directions. Furthermore, this may have something to do with the fact that Gargarin, with his (admit it) social awkwardness at times, his scholarly role, his shyness at admitting his true feelings for anyone, his (rather) pessimistic thoughts, and yet his deep, deep depth of feeling for his family, is somehow one of my favorite characters of all time, perhaps because he tends to remind me of myself at times. It is Gargarin's story line, with the flurry of feeling that he holds for his twin brother, that broke my heart a million times over in this novel. Truly, these brothers never cease to amaze me.

Froi too, whose life is intertwined so closely with Gargarin's, is a character that continues to astound me with every novel, especially due to his rocky relationship with his parents and  his constant inner struggle between his Charynite and Lumaterean selves. I love how Marchetta explores dedication to ones nation, ones Gods, and ones faith. It's all so beautifully intertwined that I can't even describe it properly only to say that it brought me to tears on so many occasions. It is evident that Marchetta knows what it feels like to be an immigrant, an exile in ones own nation, and she captures this paradoxical ideal perfectly. While I did feel as if the amount of Froi and Quintana time was significantly lower than that of any other couple in this novel, I enjoyed seeing Froi's affection grow with distance and see his bonds with his family finally come to a full, blooming, and caring circle.

Melina Marchetta is an author I can count on to bring me to tears, to make me just lay there on my bed, thinking for hours on end every time I finish her books, and  Quintana of Charyn  definitely did not disappoint. It may not be my favorite novel of hers, but it is a memorable one nevertheless. It's one that won't stray too far from my thoughts for the messages this series extols about love, patience, hope, faith, belief, and friendship. Now, looking back on this series as a whole, I can truly admit that everything has come around in a full circle and Marchetta continues to render me speechless with the beauty of her work. If it isn't evident already, here is a woman who can write, who can capture emotion, who can convey belief, and who has managed to take on one of the toughest, most complex and intriguing series I've come across and truly make it work. If this isn't a testament of Marchetta's skill, then I don't know what is. All I can do now is wait for the Jellicoe Road film that is currently under production and keep my fingers crossed for another Marchetta novel soon, because I simply cannot get enough of this writing...this beauty.

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews524 followers
September 1, 2016

”Do you love me?” he asked instead. “because if you don’t, I’d wait until you did. I’d wait weeks and months and years.”

I fell in love with that line without knowing who said them or the context of those words.

This was such a breathtaking reminder on why I read books.

Because in the culture fostered here in Goodreads, underneath the insurmountable TBR pile, the endless galleys that you burden yourself to review before their release day… it’s so easy to lose sight of that. It becomes easy to nitpick and cry stereotype at the slightest clue, critique the geo-cultural soundness of world building in high fantasy and almost reflexive to completely write-off a story that makes use of rape as a plot device. It’s like picking a string, any string to pull and you can ruin a well-crafted book for yourself.

Quintana of Charyn made it difficult for me to fall back on those patterns, seeing as how it treads in the side of wonders.
There���s a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi.

The prologue starts with Quintana speaking to Froi, coming from a place that was completely out of left field. Froi, on the other hand, is with Arjuro in Sebastabol having separated form Quintana after Olivier’s betrayal outside Paladozza at the end of Froi of the Exiles. Isaboe is with child, sending her best men and her consort Finnikin to intercept Gargarin of Abroi, the former first advisor to the Charynite king and suspected of being the hand responsible for the death of her family. Lucian, and the Monts join the Charynnites in the mourning of the death of his wife, Phaedra and their women. Together with the oppressive presence of the Street Lords of Citavita, the desertion of the provincari of Alonso and the refusal of Isaboe to provide for them, the valley seems as desolate and abandoned as ever.

Confession: I purposely delayed reading this trilogy (which really felt like a duology to me, by the way) for more than one reasons. Having been introduced to Marchetta’s oeuvre through her contemporary work, there’s an element to her writing that makes me wary of putting that in the context of high fantasy. She doesn’t give her story easily. It takes a bit of patience and more focus than I’d usually give in fiction. Meshing that with building a world from ground up I thought would drive me up against the wall. Also the fangirling over this series was just too extreme! I might lose friends over this admission but the harder you push me to read a book with incessant gushing and fawning, the more I delay reading it.

Quintana of Charyn made me eat all of my assumptions and more.

In more ways than one, it was the reward at the end of all that tedium. All that incessant traveling, characters whose backstories you can’t seem to care about as much as you want (i.e. Lirah, Gargarin and Arjuro). It felt a lot like you’re left to marinade with all those ingredients for a good long while, simmering in low heat so that it permeates through your skin, down to the bones, until its part of who you are. This is the book where you get thrown into the fire and come out repurposed and recalibrated…

Annnnd… I just made myself hungry.

Remember that John Green quote about Imperial Affliction? How there are books that make you want to violently push down everyone’s throats and there are books that make advertising what you feel about them seem like a betrayal of sorts? This was neither for me. It’s not my Imperial Affliction yet I also refuse to embarrass it with my juvenile gushing and platitudes. But it did change me as a reader.

What I liked most about this series was that Marchetta illustrated it best how to believably redeem a character without insulting her readers’ intelligence. The fact that the focus of the series shifts from Finnkin and Isaboe to a character as deplorable as Froi may be a prime deterrent for some. But in the hands of this author, that single act of depravity was never forgotten, both by Froi and the reader, evolving believably as a part of the character as the story progressed. It was never really an issue with me to begin with, never felt it as a gratuitous plot device and always considered it a poor excuse for giving up on this story. This series honours you with the expectation that you are a thinking reader and it deserves to be honoured back by one’s open heart and non-judgmental mind.

I love the way this made me fall in love with every single character. This was told in multiple POVs with Quintana the sole character given the first person perspective when she speaks to Froi in her mind. The way I am made to care about the backstory of supporting characters such as Tessadora and Perri by viewing their relationship through the eyes of Lucian or Isaboe was brilliant in its plight to make me sympathetic for everyone. Quintana was a revelation in this book, one that will stand apart from every strong heroine stereotype I’ll be coming across from hereon out. Dancing, crooked teeth notwithstanding.
”Our spirit is mightier than the filth of our memories, Florenza of Nebia. remember that or you’ll be vomiting for the rest of your life.”
Florenza stared up at Quintana, and something passed between them as she nodded solemnly and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
“And Tippideaux of Paladozza, the provincaro De Lancey’s daughter, has the prettiest face in Charyn,” she continued to inform them all. “Not you. So don’t believe a word your mother says.”

She probably had the best lines form this book and four out of five of them are the most epic burns.

Apart from the impossibility of making Quintana fully-formed in my mind this time around, this book also made me love Phaedra and Lucian even more. To the point that I wanted to take one star away from this for not giving them the main story instead. I felt emotionally disconnected with Lirah, Arjuro and Gargarin’s side of the story in Froi of the Exiles only to be sent sobbing repeatedly whenever they turn up in this book.

And no, I am not the sort of reader who sobs.

The series all throughout was rooted in multiple conflicts among the richly detailed history of its characters: mothers, fathers and sons, husband and wives, brothers and sisters, survivors and oppressors, a queen to another queen and so on and so forth. And within each of these characters lie the complexities behind a traitor, of the motivations behind a deserting mother and the rhyme and reason behind hatred and forgiveness without force-feeding the sentiments. You just willingly fall for each and every one of them.

Outside this book, with the sheer volume of subplots, neglecting one or the other seems an inevitability. It’s often a conundrum you feel in high fantasy: choosing between the characters and the world building, their motivations, their sorrows and their joys versus the politics, the socio-cultural issues and making it relatable to current realities. This story was generous in both counts, the relationships fully-embodied and emphatic, making you clutch desperately to stay in this world just a while longer as you reach the end, wanting to know what becomes of Rafuel or Olivier… or Jasmina and Tariq.

It wasn’t perfect for me. It nearly was but despite the blitz of the overwhelming feels, the many new beloved characters that fills very crevice of my heart and the niggling desperation not to see it end yet, I found it a bit of a stretch for me to buy into the whole conflict between Froi and Quintana versus the provincati. After all that has happened, I thought as an entity, Charyn’s provincati failed to cut across the gravity of their worth in the story.

A small imperfection that I almost missed from having my eyes constantly blurred by tears.

I’ve gone on too long yet again! It’s always the best ones that reduces me to a babbling, incoherent fool and I will hate this review soon as I put it up. Days will pass, other books will be read, stars will be handed out and the details of The Lumatere Chronicles will not be as clear to me as it is today… but no, outside of that, not to be dramatic, but nothing will be the same in the after for me.

Also on Booklikes.


Felt like I was chopping a barrel full of them getting through this.

How do you say "I love you" in Marchetta?
“Step away,” he whispered. “If you step away I’ll learn from you. I’ll find the desire in me to live without you. Much the same as you want to live without me.”
“I didn’t say I wanted to live without you,” she said, angry tears springing in her eyes. “Only that I can. I’ve practiced. I’ve been very good in that way.”

I am going to review this. Somehow. Once I can.

Fucking onions....
Profile Image for Kells Next Read .
528 reviews534 followers
February 25, 2016
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This Book Destroyed Me.

Melina Marchetta you have left me needing therapy after reading this Trilogy of yours. You blew breath into each character that you pen, made me love them, hate them, cry with them and experience every freaking miserable fictional feeling. I'm (at present ) trying and failing to think coherently *sob sob*

I can rave enough about this read, this book was a fantastic end to it all. The #Feels were real and the action plentiful. I'm going to sincerely miss all these characters that I have grown to love and admire. My personal bit of advise for those of you that have doubts about reading this Trilogy, may I suggest that you just follow our Lumatere mantra above; and just do "what needs to be done" and ----> Read The Dam Book Already!!

I'm gonna go and take several drinks and hope I recover from all this blasted crying soon: Hey, don't judge me, if you read this book you would be in my exact state of mind...hmmm...*Drinks Cries Drinks Some More*
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Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews605 followers
October 31, 2012
Melina Marchetta's Lumatere Chronicles is like the crowning jewel of the young adult fantasy genre, so of course I had huge expectations coming into Quintana of Charyn. Twice now, Marchetta has delivered indescribable stories of a cursed land, a nation of refugees, a series of powerful characters who exemplified hope, vengeance, and forgiveness rising from great tragedy, all through two unforgettable books. And with so much on the line, a lot can go wrong, but I’m happy to report every word is well worth the wait, Quintana of Charyn ends the series on a high note.

I don’t think I need to recap how much I enjoyed Finnikin of the Rock, a book so moving I didn’t think it could be topped - until I read Froi of the Exiles. By now, every one of these characters, Froi, Finnikin, Isaboe, Quintana, Lucian, Phaedra, and so many others, are like familiar friends, and many a scene in Quintana of Charyn brought a smile to my face simply by reminding me of how much I’ve grown to care for each of them, their friendships, their families, their loyalties, their struggles, their triumphs. And Quintana really brings this series full circle - with her attention to detail, her gift for subtle character development, and her ability to make even minor events of the first book hugely relevant to the current plot, Marchetta’s done a wonderful job tying together the three books in some really neat yet intricate ways. In a way, it’s fitting too, because Quintana of Charyn is a fairly straightforward story, the plot does an admirable but relatively simple job of connecting the futures of its characters with the fate of Charyn, just like Finnikin of the Rock connected the futures of the characters of that book with the fate of Lumatere - I’d definitely say this final book is stylistically closer to the first than its direct predecessor. For me, Quintana never approaches the sheer complexity of Froi of the Exiles, but it doesn’t have to, Froi already does the required work by setting up these wonderfully complex characters, and all Quintana has to do is bring them home.

Of course, it’s not that easy, going home. Even though the title of the book is Quintana of Charyn, plotwise it’s really Froi of the Exiles, Part Two, because the focus of the story is still Froi’s journey. He’s torn between his home with the Lumaterans and his home with Quintana, Gargarin, Arjuro, and Lirah in Charyn, and his conflict over where he belongs, like an extension of the wider conflict between Lumatere and Charyn - but on a personal level, just resonates throughout the book. It’s incredible how effortlessly Marchetta’s writing seems to emphasize all these conflicting ties in one person, with Froi’s loyalty and friendship with Finnikin and Isaboe balanced perfectly against his love for Quintana, Gargarin, and Lirah. So no matter where Froi happened to be, no matter what he happened to do, I was always rooting for him to find his place in the world, even though both sides are written so pitch perfectly I couldn’t even decide myself how he should choose, that’s how powerfully every single one of Froi’s relationships feels. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but the way it’s resolved, it’s one of the most appropriate endings I’ve ever read, and it just kept reminding me of Froi of the Exiles’s most memorable line, ‘blood sings to blood’.

But even if the focus is on Froi, so many other stories, Finnikin’s, Isaboe’s, Phaedra’s, Quintana’s, they all seamlessly intersect to combine into one incredible book. Quintana made such a huge impression on me in Froi of the Exiles with her tragic character and strange demeanor, and here she demonstrates once again how she’s much more than just Froi’s other half. In hiding, she’s got a lot to do, building slow, inspiring friendships with Phaedra in particular but also with a couple of other strong female characters, demonstrating just how tough she is, heck, opening not just my eyes, but the eyes of her fellow Charynites. I always looked forward to the few sections from her point of view, there’s a certain strange poetry to her tortured words, but even from the point of view of any of the other characters, she shows why she deserves to headline this book even if the story is ultimately about Froi. A quick read of just the epilogue alone reveals just how far she’s come as a character, not just from the tragedy surrounding her birth and childhood, but from Charyn’s entire history. Hers is the kind of ending that leaves me hopeful for the future.

Of course, even if Froi and Quintana are obviously the two main characters, their stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Quintana of Charyn is such a fully character driven novel, I can spend days covering every single character who made an impression on me and I still wouldn’t be finished. Isaboe and Finnikin, sure, Finnikin annoyed me at first with his overpossessiveness, but I meant it when I said Finnikin’s friendship with Froi, like so much of the book, shines through in a way that brought a smile to my face. Isaboe even more, not just her obvious love for Finnikin, but the incredible way her character develops through the book, shedding her stoic Evanjalin guise to reveal a far more multifaceted character, someone deeply hurt by the events of Lumatere’s recent past but, in the end, is still a big enough person that she’s capable of demonstrating just how powerful small gestures can be. Or Phaedra and Lucian, their story was kind of out of place in Froi of the Exiles but Quintana ties their plotline with the main story so well, and yet somehow still manages to retain everything that made it special, their mutual respect for each others’ strengths, the emotion in Phaedra’s sacrifice. And I haven’t even talked about Gargarin and Arjuro and Lirah and Tesadora and De Lancey and Beatriss and Barakah and Lord August and Perri and Olivier and Dorcas and even Celie who makes an appearance from Ferragost, truly, I am going to miss every single one of these characters.

So, I have good news and I have bad news. Good news, Quintana of Charyn is a wholly character driven fantasy that shattered all of my expectations for the final book of the Lumatere Chronicles. Bad news, this may be the final book by Melina Marchetta for some time. But if, like Gargarin, I look on the side of wonder, her hiatus really only reinforces my appreciation for how truly special this series has been.
Profile Image for Maggie.
431 reviews430 followers
November 2, 2012
What can I say about this book but faith rewarded? How do I begin to talk about a series that turned me onto a new genre?

Marchetta took me on a journey through an unfamiliar genre and story landscape, through curses and the Citavita. Looking back on Finnikin, I couldn't even finish my review because I was so unused to fantasy. I was exhausted by the little I did manage to write. By the time I read Froi , I was better prepared and any exhaustion I felt was due to the emotional ride from the book.

With Quintana, I could talk about how Lucian and Perri should star in their own buddy cop show, or how being in Quintana's head seemed like the most natural place to be. I loved so many of the characters, but for me, this series comes down to two people -- Isaboe and Froi. The things that bond them are at the heart of the series. They are the faces of children of war.

In Isaboe, we see what war does to a once beloved, sheltered child. Her experiences in Sarnak and Sorel shape the fierce queen she’s become. She’s unflinching. However, sometimes that results in a harshness that had me wincing. It's how she survived on her own, but it may not be the best way to ensure her people's survival.

For Froi, it was Sir Topher who prevented him from going down an irreversible path, but that and a belief in a girl with magic, shaped the man he became. His journey of redemption -- never once forgetting what could have been -- is about overcoming all the experiences that can break you and turn you into someone you're not. I loved seeing the person Froi came to be when given love and when he gave his love in return. It was so wholehearted and pure. It was devastating to think what war did to the boy with that much heart.

One character I didn't feel much affection for was Lady Zarah. To quote the great Dionne Warwick, I got your number, hussy!

Quintana of Charyn tested the bounds of loyalty, friendship, and family, and what it meant to be Lumateran, Charynite, Queen, husband, wife, lover, and friend. It's about having faith first, like a boy with cats once did, so it can be rewarded later. I loved being in this world and I hope Marchetta revisits it again, as I know I will.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I leave the playlist-making to Noelle, but one song that played over and over in my head while reading Quintana was This Woman's Work by Kate Bush.

This review appears on Young Adult Anonymous, along with Part One of the Lumatere Boxset.
Profile Image for Ariana.
938 reviews1,303 followers
February 3, 2021
———— 2019

I can’t measure the worth of this book (this entire story) in number of stars.
Entire constellations would never be enough.
The known universe might not make it justice.

All that I know is... the endless love I hold for these characters, the deep respect for the brilliant author, the sorrow and happiness that followed me throughout the story, the intricately woven plot twists by which I was left aghast and teary-eyed, the satisfying sigh I gave at the end. My heart never stood a chance, it fell in love over and over again, from the first page to the very last.

How does one measure that?

“[...] today, I think I’m leaning on the side of wonder” and I have no idea what you’re reading, but I hope it’s just as spectacular as this series is to me!

———— 2012

If there is a book that I can read with my eyes filled with tears and my heart full of happiness, it is one of Marchetta's stories..


This story took my breath away!
It's an ocean of emotions that I've been sinking in and it's not like I haven't expected it, because I really did. I knew it was coming and even thought I was prepared for the force of it, it still blew my mind away - I loved it from the first page to the very last one .. and I guess my love for it will still go on forever.

Be warned, this is what this series might do to you: it might drown you while you try to breathe in all the beauty of this world and with every word you'll only want more and more; oh, such a wonderful addiction that will leave you breathless, speechless, crying and smiling all in the same time.

There is no one in this world (and I really mean NO ONE) that could write like Melina Marchetta. I hope that she already knows what an amazing writer she is, because if there is a book that I can read with my eyes filled with tears and my heart full of happiness, it is one of her stories.. Her words 'sing' to us and we can hear them from all around the world.

I loved with all my heart the first two books in this series and this ending (Quintana of Charyn) was all that I've expected and then much more.
This is a powerful story that still burns into my soul; it's like a symphony of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love.. and hope (above them all there is hope, because this is the only gift she can give to her characters after all the suffering they've endured for all those years).

As usual with Marcheta's books I am somehow at a loss for words.
How can I describe its beauty if I can barely gasp it all?
My husband asked me to tell him about it, and I didn't even know where to start. Everything seems important to me, every character has a voice and a destiny worth telling, every scene made my heart ache for joy or for sorrow..

I could never make justice to this book, to this fantastic world. Because this was such a complex story (the whole series is) with so many destinies to follow, with so many entwined lives, with so many turnarounds, with so many wonderful or terrible scenes, with so many tears to shed, with so many cries of emotion.. There is so much beauty in the writing and the world building that it hurts.

This is not only a story about Quintana (not even a story about only Quintana and Froi).
It is a story about Charyn and Lumatere, a story about 2 queens, about two curses, about a cave with 5 completely different women trying to protect the truth and the future of a kingdom. This is a story about a man and his parents on their race to safe the unsavable, a story about a king that is to be born and give hope to a world of dispair.. This is a story about friendship, and trust, and forgiveness, and hope. It's full of death, of blood, of tears, but also full of life and joy and smiles..
But she stepped forward and placed a finger to his lips and there it was before him. The greatest prayer to the gods he could muster with a heart so broken. "Don't let me outlive this woman. Don't let me exist one moment without her".

So this is goodbye...
It's becoming a habit - me saying goodbye to a series I love, with my hands trembling and my vision blurred.. And here's what I'll miss from Lumatere and Charyn:

- I'll miss Isaboe and Finnikin, their strength, the beauty of their hearts, the love for each other and their people, their happiness shared with their friends and their daughter.
- I'll miss Finn's father (Trevanion) and his family (Beatrice and Vestie) - even though we didn't see much of them in this book, I will always hold them close to my heart.
- I'll miss Lucian and Phaedra, the valley, the people they cared and protected, I'll miss Tesadora and Perri... I'll miss Lumatere as a whole - with the dark and the light, with the dreams and the horrors, and everything in between.
- And also, it hurts to say goodbye to Froi and Quintana and their family. There was so much pain in their lives, there was so much suffering in being apart from each other, but their love was strong and I won't forget their story, nor will I ever forget the twins (Gargarin and Arjuro) or the beautiful Lirah. It's been a long, long way full of deceit and pain and struggle, so I wish them all the happiness in the world and a very bright future to warm their hearts.. And my wish is not only for them, but for all the friends they have, for all the people that helped them, for all the people that survived the curse and fought for its breaking.

And there is more: three books filled with reasons to love, hundreds of pages to steal your heart and break it and put it back together only to break it one once more... And even then there might be more...

Minnor spoilers:

A book will be closed as others will be opened...
... may all Marcetta's future books be as good as this series, because we really couldn't ask for more.

Happy midnight dreaming!

* This review can also be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com



Re-read June 2013 - I might write soon a new review for the series, as it blew my mind once more and I still love it to pieces. Just know that this is a heartbreaking story that I will always hold close to my heart. Absolutely fabulous!!!

———— 2019

PS: I noticed at least 3 new open doors (I'm not saying that the author will come back to this world, it's just an observation I made during my re-readings - and of course I wouldn't mind it one bit if she DID write some more) with the repeated wonder of the open ocean, the Yutlind South matter, and the talk (between Finn, his queen & the priest) about who else is marked for a meaningful path.


Before reading:
I swear time is standing still or going backwards *sigh*

October, please come faster.. Pretty please!


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Profile Image for Kristalia .
383 reviews612 followers
January 5, 2016
Final rating: 6/5 stars

This was.....fantastic. At least for me. I always loved Lumatere, especially after Froi of the Exiles, which was NOT what i expected of young adult fantasy to be. Great job Melina, great job!

This book was so wonderful, I just didn't want to put it down. Every sentence was beautiful and her writing style is amazing.

I am very, very sad to see that this is how it ends. There are those times where I love to read long series (more than 3 books) and when I don't. This series falls into: why you not longer, you make me sad category.

The whole time while i was reading it, I had no idea how it would end.

Anyway, this was really interesting, because i had no idea how it would end. Anyways, there were many things that made me shocked, there were times when i cursed the villain and times when my eyes filled with tears.

Damn you Froi, why u not real

As for the ending: It ended really satisfying, and i screamed in happiness because I was glad this turned out to be series with a strong ending.


● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●


Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)
Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)
Profile Image for Liz* Fashionably Late.
435 reviews387 followers
April 1, 2020
Reading a Marchetta, always:

Re-read 2020 under quarantine. Just as perfect as the first time.

...leaning on the side of wonder.

I'm genuinely moved by this series, I really am. I'm not good with words, I'm not good expressing myself and that never upsets me until moments like this when I really need words to work.

I'm in love with the Lumatere Chronicles series. Even when it broke my heart at one point, I will probably read it again in the future because this was perfection, from beginning to end.

Every character, every love story and every tragedy was so brilliantly portrayed they stopped being ficionals characters a while ago. I've read amazing books in the past but I suspect it's only with Marchetta's stories that I fall completely and undoubtedly in love with them. She could make thousands of spin-offs (C. Clare Style) and I wouldn't mind a bit. I know I'd never get enough of Froi and Quintana, Isaboe and Finn, Luc-ien and Phaedra, Arjuro, Gargarin and Lirah.


Even if the story gets predictable sometimes (and I say sometimes because there was some serious shit I didn't see coming) Marchetta writes in a way that you just want to live it through, you're in for the journey.

In my bookish life, I've cried only once and On the Jellicoe Road is to blame, until now. You know, just a few tears. Sob of laughter, as Marchetta likes to describe it. Because there were moments like this when I broke:

'A pledge, with you blood mixed with ours,' Finnikin said.
Froi nodded, unable to speak.
'Brothers always. Balthazar is with us, too. We make this work,' Finnikin said fiercely. 'We bring peace to these kingdoms. We deserve it. Our women do. All of us have lost too much, Froi. We've lost the joy of being children. Let's not take that from Jasmina and Tariq and those who come after them.'

Yeah, that did it.
Finn's intensity and fierceness did it.

The love of this brothers, the memory of what was lost, the greedy hope for a better future and Jasmina and Tariq as a reminder of what can't be destroyed... and I thought of Evanjalin and the useless, wild princess. I though of every sacrifice, every scar, the misery and the courage.

Oh, you've outdone me twice, you queen of forgiveness. The ring's a promise of peace and I'm greedy with hope. It's a song that we sing in a tongue that we share. And though you say it's a gift from a king to a king, I say it's a sign from a queen to a queen.

This is amazing not just because is about our beloved Isaboe but look how mature and lovely Quintana sounds, once wild and unpredictable.

I have so much I'd like to say about this book yet words seems to fail me, so I'll just say that it's one of the best YA Fantasy I've ever read and not just because the amazing world building, perfect character development or exquisite writing but because inexplicably this books feel like home to me. They belong to me as much as I belong to them.

'When do you get to be ours for always?' he asked, his voice low.
'Do I have to be here to belong to you?' Froi asked. 'Can't I belong to you wherever I am?'
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,077 followers
February 4, 2016
The whole time I was reading this book, I was thinking "This. This is what those Syrian refugees are experiencing. The despair, the frustration, the terror, the unexpected acts of kindness, the persistent hope for a better future..." For a book that is not, presumably, written as an allegory, it is eerie how representative this book (and Froi of the Exiles) are of the state of affairs today.

I loved Finnikin of the Rock. It was a mostly straightforward epic fantasy-type book, written beautifully (as is usual for Marchetta), and moving and engaging from the first word to the very last. But the other two books in this series are an entirely different beast. They are scary, thought-provoking, heartbreaking and yet full of the poignancy and humor that afflict everyday life.

Froi, oh Froi... what a journey for a "little feef" from the streets of Sarnak. I fell a little in love with Froi way back in Finnkin, when he had a couple of chapters from his POV. And he just grew and grew and grew from thereon, until he now firmly holds a piece of my heart (Marcus Darling, move over!)

Isaboe was possibly the most annoying thing in these books. I have noticed that a consistent fantasy trope in these epics fantasy is to make sure that the ruler of a kingdom, especially when they are a protagonist, or otherwise a sympathetic character, is often forced to make "hard decisions" and these decisions generally tend to be of the type that calls for the abandonment/death of another sympathetic character/cause for "the greater good". Whatever, man. Isaboe's consistent hostility to the Charyn refugees often felt like those Americans and Europeans who refuse to accept the refugees because "all Muslims are bad" (yes, yes, that's a redactive statement, but mostly true), or "they will impose Sharia law in our country". Yes, you have suffered at the hands of the bad apples, but when you cannot see beyond the imposed identity of a peoples to the common suffering at the hands of a common enemy, you stop being a sympathetic character. I don't think Isaboe was all that great a queen, frankly, despite what all those characters kept reiterating. (Like in Scandal, where people keep trying SO hard to keep Fitz in office, saying he is a "great President", when really, none of his actions actually prove any such thing).

These two books (Froi and Quintana) are a beautifully written tale, and one of the best illustrations of the resilience of the human spirit that I have every seen. Terrible, terrible things perpetrated by terrible, terrible people happen to the protagonists (and a bunch of other people) in these books. But none of those terrible things ever quite manage to overcome the hope and honor and humor of the people living between these pages.

As a lifelong fantasy enthusiast, I have to point out that there is minimal worldbuilding, some characters/storylines are mentioned in passing, or just vanish without resolutions (the heir of Yutlind Sud, anyone?) and there are many, many tropes that regular fantasy readers will recognize in an instant. But the thing is, this series is not beautiful in the same way a Sanderson book is beautiful. A Sanderson book is technically perfect (and amazing and riveting and all the other good words), but this series is beautiful in spite of its lack of technical perfection, because of the warmth and realness (not a real word, I know!) permeating every character and every scene.

Read it, read it, read it. But beware - it'll make you cry. A lot.

(But maybe not as much as Daughter of the Forest)
Profile Image for Elena.
570 reviews180 followers
October 8, 2015
A brilliant (and VERY underrated) trilogy just came to an end.. I will miss these characters so much!

Everybody who's looking for a YA high fantasy series: Read this. Just do it. You won't be disappointed!
Profile Image for Joy (joyous reads).
1,468 reviews291 followers
March 12, 2023
Quintana of Charyn is the third and last book from The Lumatere Chronicles. Questions will be answered, curses will be broken, romances will be rekindled (one will be reborn) and a kingdom will be rebuilt. As usual, Melina gave us everything we wanted and left us screaming at the injustice of having to wait for another one of her books. BUT. This trilogy ended the way it was meant to end, regardless of how much I want this to go on.

The story begins with Froi recovering from his injuries while he waits for word on Quintana’s whereabouts. In the meantime, his people from Lumatere are hearing unpleasant news about his possible betrayal. The remaining Charynites in the valley have learned to live under the reluctant generosity of Queen Isaboe while Lucian of the Monts grieved for the wife he lost.

It’s never easy to write a short synopsis for her books; because as always, Melina’s stories are never about just her characters and a tidy plot. It's a weaving of complicated tales and twists leading to amazing stories of uninhibited love and unending sacrifices. I am always at a loss when I endeavor to describe her novels because it's nearly impossible and I can't give them justice that they deserve. Her characters tell stories from their hearts, their souls. I feel a profound loss with each book I finish because her characters are like those temporary people you meet and learn to care about in the short time you've known them. I rest easy in the knowledge that I'll always have her books. I can always go back; reread and get to know them over again.

The trilogy is simply flawless, faultless and breathtaking. This is not your cookie-cutter fantasy. Nope. There are no dragons to slay just so the prince could rescue the princess. There are no woodland creatures, fae, and wizards. Nope. What it lacked in mythical creatures is compensated with stories of courage from people whose incomparable love for their own knows no bounds. Hope. Hope. Hope. You’ve never known stories about hope lest you read Marchetta’s books. Her stories are always borne out of heartbreak and impossible challenges; difficult relationships, unforgiveable sins. But see? It’s that foundation that makes her stories so amazing. It’s not so much as the happy ending but the difficult journey it took to get there.

Ms. Marchetta is a trailblazer; you'll never find her keeping up with the norm or writing about the ordinary. You just...just need to read her books to experience the love, the sorrows and the unbelievable strength each of her characters possess. Her words are like love poems; her phrases like uncomplicated sonnets that are easy to decipher. Reviewing her books is always a daunting task. I feel so much but words don't come easy. How could it? She hoarded them all.

So to you, Ms. Marchetta, I hope you will have a nice break from writing. But please know that it’s a sad literary world without you. Hiatus. I don’t. I can’t. [Goes fetal…proceeds to suck thumb] I am left in the void of emptiness, folks. I don't know how to deal.
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews333 followers
September 29, 2012
How do you even begin to do justice on a review for such an amazing end to a truly amazing series? I have yet to read a better series because 1) the stories had me intrigued; 2) the characters moved me and 3) the books made me think the whole way through and kept me on my toes.

First of all, I think it's a bit of a misnomer that the book was entitled "Quintana of Charyn" because I thought this book was going to be about her. I actually didn't see very much from her perspective, and I felt she showed far more character development in book 2. This book was about SO much more.

Each character - no matter how big or small - played their role in each intricate detail of this elaborate web Marchetta has woven. For me, the stars of this book were Lucian and Phaedra (much like Trevanion and Beatriss in book 2) because the two of them showed far more character development than all of the other characters combined. I was very moved by their love for each other, as well as each one's own struggles (that I mentioned in the first spoiler).

But going back to the point, Marchetta created such masterpieces because this book, and all the others for that matter, had it all - past tragedies and how they have brought such suffering to the land, action and adventure as the characters made their journeys through the land, strong character development from all of those involved, and such a clean yet masterful way everything tied together in the end.

The kicker was that the gears in my head were constantly turning as I thought of different theories to explain the curse; trying to figure out who was who and who belonged to which parents and how the story of the day of weeping affected each individual character; or guessing what was going to happen next only to have Marchetta throw in another twist. And mind you the twists were never things that made you say, "What the hell?!?" Nope, they were things that Marchetta dropped hints along the way - some you did picked up on and guessed right but some that totally caught you by surprise.

There were two things that I was disappointed with... First was The other was But neither disappointments were enough for me to knock down the rating.

I'm sadden to see the end of such a wonderful series, but I just loved how Marchetta tied it all together - tidying all of the different side stories; Finnkin coming to terms with his jealousies; Quintana saying hello to everyone like she did when Froi first met her and she greeted everyone at the table despite them not responding back to her; and everyone looking on the side of wonder. What a way to come full circle. Marchetta has truly outdone herself, and I wonder - though totally hoping - if she will ever be able to top this.
Profile Image for prag ♻.
588 reviews587 followers
September 25, 2017
i could build a shrine in marchetta’s name and you wouldn’t even see one hundredth of how much i love her for writing this series

📢📢 friendly reminder that gargarin and arjuro smiled because with froi they found the better future they were dreaming of twenty years ago 📢📢

it's been more than a week since i finished this book but i can't stop thinking about it (or crying about it) so life's #fun

ibelieveinlove.jpg (in which five strangers make me sob because they’re a family)

● listen
● i'm not even kidding
● the second gargarin called them a family I LOST MY SHIT
● it’s been so long since i broke down crying over a book
● it’s. just. so good.
● if you want emotional connect: THIS IS YOUR SERIES
● if you want to be hit in the gut: THIS IS YOUR SERIES
● if you to experience good worldbuliding: THIS IS YOUR SERIES
● if you want to read about well developed characters: THIS IS YOUR SERIES

‘Land?' Froi whispered. 'You're giving them land? I'm not worth the valley.' 'You're worth a kingdom,' Finnikin said, turning back to the crowd.

● froi my BOI
● he’s my favorite little shithead
● will i jump off a cliff for him? gladly
● his character has so many layers i’m literally so jdkshzahjgs
● if you were going to ditch this series like me after book one DON’T DO IT
● i’ll admit it was sort of . . . garbage
● but compared to this . . . it was trash
● honestly compared to this everything is the trash

anyway look reviews are not my skills soz matey but pls pick this series up i’d give you all my money to bribe you into doing it if i had any
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,527 followers
September 8, 2014
I couldn't possibly do this series justice with a review. It's honestly unlike anything else I've read...just the style of writing that Melina Marchetta has...it's unique to her. Her characters are flawed...some to the point that you never really like them, but you can certainly relate to them. Quintana is a great example. I don't think I really like her all that much. But I understand her, and she makes Froi happy. There's so much more to that but what a fantastic character.

This is the biggest selling point of the story for me. While the plot is great and the fantasy is subtle but pervasive, it's how character driven the story is that makes this trilogy stand out. Not one character is even similar to anyone else I've ever read about. You'd think in only three books, I'd not have enough time to become so intensely devoted to everyone, but I did. Finnikin, Isobel, Froi, Trevanion, Lucian, Phaedra, Gargarin, Arjuro...the list goes on and on and on.

Are there some things that I wish she'd have added to the story to finish out the "happy ever after" aspect for everyone? Sure. However, the story ending as it did left me feeling like it keeps living on...its the kind of book that I will think of often, and seriously, literally wonder in my head how Froi and Quintana are doing, and are Phaedra and Lucian content now? Is the valley in turmoil now, with all that is going on? What about Rafuel? Did Arjuro sing the souls all home? All the tiny loose ends will play on in my head until I swear the story is never ending. How powerful is that? I read and forget hundreds of books a year. But this series, I'll never forget.
Profile Image for Wendy.
588 reviews43 followers
October 13, 2012
I'm just ... speechless at this point.

I need to ruminate.

If I could sum up this series with one word, and MM uses it copiously throughout the entire series is fierce . It's a fierce story, full of fierce characters and stories with even fiercer emotions.

It has the ability to tear you to shreds, believe me.

So, last night I finished reading this and I want to say that it just really hasn't hit me yet. The full impact that a story I've invested a good threes years of my life in.

I was so so so looking forward to reading this that I think it's almost unfair to have to rate it. Do I give it 5 stars because I just KNEW this would be awesome and epic? Do I give it less because it didn't go in a direction I wanted or was too heartbroken?

I know that I'm going to re-read this very soon, as there is just a lot going on. In fact, even though I read Froi just a few weeks ago, I think I need to re-read that again too!

Spoilers below...ye be warned. Also, the more I think of things, I will be adding to this review.

Profile Image for Joie.
178 reviews
May 3, 2013
Me before reading a Marchetta book:


Me after reading a Marchetta book:



Melina Marchetta (authoress divine) is one of those rare authors whose writing is constantly improving, constantly pushing the limits of how much I think I can love a book. When I read FINNIKIN, I felt like I had found The Best Book Ever (aside from Jellicoe Road, of course). But then she wrote FROI and now QUINTANA and I just have no words. At least, none that I haven't said before.

QUINTANA OF CHARYN is, undoubtedly, a conclusion. All the loose ends are tied up and the reader is left in a satisfied place. Actually, it's a rather heart-wrenching place because it's The End, but nevertheless it was a good stopping place. The characters' struggles have been resolved. You know that they're going to be okay, yet there's still an open-endedness that comes with knowing their lives will go on and they will continue to learn and grow.

With most fantasy books, the authors focus on explaining the world-building. What was great about this series was that yes, Marchetta explained the ways of the Lumaterans, Charynites, and co. But she never took the focus away from the characters and their relationships. At the end of this series, you know these characters: their hopes, their fears, their love of country, and their love for each other. You know their hearts- their very essence. And being so close, so darn attached to these characters made me feel ALL of the feelings.

While reading, I had the sudden and overwhelming urge to just take all these beloved characters and, I don't know, hide them in my pocket or something. Just snatch them from the pages and tuck them somewhere safe so that they could stop hurting. Maybe that's a little silly, but these characters have just gone through so much in just QUINTANA alone, let alone the entire series. There is pain, devastation, loss, grief, and heartbreak. Yet more powerful than all of that is the undercurrent of hope and love that has been there even in the darkest of times. That is Marchetta's true talent—besides the ability to make me want to curl up into a fetal position and sob— she has the uncanny ability to craft these masterful stories of broken people and their broken relationships and somehow make it a story of redemption and love.

The Lumatere Chronicles has given me more heartache than I thought possible, yet I always crawl back for more. And, to be honest, I would sooner swear off of chocolate than say goodbye to this series and its magnificent characters. I hate goodbyes. I hate the knowledge that once I finish a book, I will never get to know more about a character's life. But knowing that everyone I cared about in this book ended up okay made saying goodbye just a little bit easier

All in all:
There's really only one thing to do now...


I'm just kidding. No. I'm really not.

Good books give you a beautiful happily ever after. Great books pierce your hearts with sadness and linger on your mind long after you've finished. And then there are the rare, phenomenal books that manage to utterly shatter your heart, then somehow heal you at the end and claim an eternal place in your heart. QUINTANA OF CHARYN is one of those books.

*Thank you so much, Candlewick Press and the ladies of 132 Minutes for providing me an arc for review
Profile Image for Ellis.
444 reviews232 followers
August 3, 2016
4.5 stars

This book is such a strange mixture of laughter and tears. The strangest thing of all is that it completely worked.

Froi + Quintana forever.

Tesadora + Perri forever, but really just Tesadora forever.

Isaboe + Finnikin forever.

Trevanion + Beatriss forever.

Lirah + Gargarin forever.

Arjuro + De Lancey forever.

Phaedra + Lucian forever.

Lord Augie + Lady Abian forever.

Yata forever.

Jasmina forever.

Tariq forever.

Every single character forever.

Lumatere + Charyn forever.

Ellis + Marchetta forever.

Profile Image for Natalie Williamson.
Author 2 books150 followers
December 30, 2015
Update 11/12/15 - Just realized I've read this series twice this year and I REGRET NOTHING.

Update 3/10/15 - Five million stars forever.

I know I said I was going to wait until I'd done a series re-read before I wrote this review, but, well, I lied. Because I just can't stop thinking about this book, and I really haven't been able to since I finished it at 2:30 this morning (It's gonna be a yawn-filled day). It was that good. It was incredible. And I know that I will revisit this review soon, when I finally make it to the end of Quintana again, but for now I just need to get my thoughts on the page. So here goes.

Melina Marchetta has a talent for writing these characters that worm their way into your heart and stay there. (Hands up if you love Thomas Mackee!) And with the Lumatere Chronicles, and Quintana in particular, it's like you can't turn the page without finding another one. And I'm not talking the kind of love where you fawn over them all the time and babble about how perfect they are. I'm talking about the kind of love where you want to smack them upside the head when they are being stupid, hug them to you tight when they're sad, and be a part of the joke when they're laughing. Because these characters are so human that it hurts, in the best possible way. And Marchetta makes you want what they want and dream what they dream, and she does this so well for all of them that you find yourself torn because they don't always want the same thing as each other and how can you possibly choose?

Here are some examples. I'll start with Lucian. Lucian, how I love you! From his first exchange with Finnikin in Finnikin of the Rock I loved him. The snark! The rivalry! The blood pledge! Oh my! And then in Froi I loved him even more, even when I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him. And then, if it's even possible, in this book I loved him more. Because of his fleece and Phaedra and how he still struggles with feeling inadequate as a leader for his people. How he shows with his actions that he is anything but.

And Phaedra, girl, you go! She took a while to win me over in Froi, but boy, did she. Her strength in the valley, and then in making such a difficult decision to protect the future of her country. And just pretty much everything in this book. I want to be BFFs with Phaedra. For eva and eva.

Then there's Gargarin and Lirah and Arjuro and DeLancey. And Trevanion and Beatriss and Vestie and Yata and the cows, Bert and Gert, and Rafuel and Cora and Jorja and Florenza. And Tesadora and Perri and Japhra. And everyone in the valley and in Lumatere and everywhere. All of them. Except for Bestiano.

And Finnikin, who chooses to drown in hope rather than float into nothing. And Froi, who learns to stop counting to keep himself from smashing people. Whoever thought that the little thief from Sarnak could do so much? And the things he says and does in this book? Wow. Just, wow. Froi forever has a space in my heart. I love both Finn and Froi, but I think Froi wins. A little. Oh, who am I kidding? I can't choose. And then there's Quintana with her snarl and her coldness and her worries for the little King. I think one of the things I loved best was getting to know her better in this book. Getting to hear her song to Froi. It made me love her more. I know I keep saying this, about everyone, but it's true. I am full of love. That's what Melina Marchetta does, I'm telling you.

And then, last but not least, Isaboe. Isaboe has been one of my favorite characters from her first appearance in Finnikin, but I didn't always agree with her actions. She is fierce, and stubborn, and wise, and often right, and sometimes that's hard to accept. She often does the hard thing, and sticks with her convictions even when it makes others uncomfortable. And even though I loved and admired her character, I didn't always like her. But then this books happens, and there are two moments, one huge and gut-wrenching, one small but equally gut-wrenching, that made me forget every time I was ever mad at her and remember all the reasons I loved her. They made me think about the kind of person I want to be. And it was the small one, a scene near the very end, that made me cry. Thank you, Ms. Marchetta, for handing my heart to me on a platter.

I won't go into story details, because this doesn't come out in the US until March, and because I don't want to ruin anything. But I will say this: there were moments when I laughed out loud, and moments where I had to put the book down because I was like, OMG what just happened! And, as mentioned above, there were moments when I cried, and let me tell you, I am not a crier.

Basically, read it. Read it if you've read Finnkin and Froi or if you haven't (but start at the beginning if you haven't read those two). Then read all of Marchetta's other books and ask yourself how you've gone so long without them. That's what I did when I read Jellicoe for the first time. This one too. They're that good.

Okay, rant over. Hopefully it made sense. I'm off to re-read Finnikin again. And maybe take a nap. If I find the time.
Profile Image for Regina.
625 reviews390 followers
April 4, 2013
Check out this review and others like it at BadAssBookReviews

Melina Marchetta, where the heck do you get your ideas? I can't think of very many authors who are able to cross over into a different genre and successfully write a brilliant and captivating novel? *drums fingers on table* Margaret Atwood? Stephen King? J.K. Rowling? I guess it depends on how we are determining the distinction between genres. What is clear is that Marchetta’s earlier books are realistic young adult fiction and the Lumatere Chronicles are epic fantasy. I do, however, see some striking similarities betweens her earlier books and this fantasy trilogy.

The Characters. The Lumatere Chronicles tell the story of people who have been affected by war. Many fantasy books tell the story of nations, kingdoms, magic, families, etc. but Marchetta’s fantasy trilogy is primarily focused on individual characters. The structure of the story, the creation of the world and the political issues are well done but their strength lies, in my opinion, in being a beautifully deep and textured setting for the characters to interact.

The Pain. If you have not read a Marchetta novel before – and I have only read one (On the Jellicoe Road) - -then you might not know that Marchetta has a talent for writing about emotional pain embedded so deep that people are forever altered by their past experiences. She is somehow able to take a starting point, where an individual is seemingly damaged and then weave in the past in a non-preachy way that instead of being confusing or boring is done so skillfully that as a reader I am not sure if I want to be living in the character’s past or the character’s present.

The Joy. There is so much mystery and pain in this trilogy that the end is damned satisfying. It isn’t perfect, but it just feels …. Well-earned. My one complaint is that I saw the resolution of all the problems from the beginning of the book and okay, I have two complaints - -the epilogue was just a little to neat and wrapped up for my dark tastes. But ultimately, I still really enjoyed this trilogy, this book and I still cried with joy at the end.

The sexual tension is delicious and slow building. The men and women are equally matched; there is give and take and there is truly no submission by one to the other except for perhaps by both together to each other.

I highly recommend this series to fans of Marchetta, fans of epic fantasy who also enjoy character driven novels. And if you were not thrilled with the first in this series, I promise you that it is worth it to stick with this series. The second book in the Lumatere Chronicles (Froi of the Exiles) is amazing and Quintana perhaps matches Froi. So if you thought Finnikin of the Rock was only a 3 star book, keep going. You will not be sorry.
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