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Lumatere Chronicles #1

Finnikin of the Rock

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

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

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

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

399 pages, Hardcover

First published September 29, 2008

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About the author

Melina Marchetta

30 books7,553 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
16,258 (37%)
4 stars
14,183 (32%)
3 stars
7,702 (17%)
2 stars
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1 star
2,269 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,598 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
784 reviews12.5k followers
April 25, 2023
Dear Finnikin of the Rock, what happened? You and I were supposed to be enjoying the beginning of a beautiful friendship, walking into the sunset together.

Alas, no walking into the sunset was meant for us. Instead, our date ended with me awkwardly fumbling for keys and muttering, "Well, I'll call you sometime, I guess", knowing very well that you also acutely felt the absence of that proverbial chemistry, that necessary spark, and that none of us would be reaching for the phone any time soon.

Dear Finnikin of the Rock, you *do* understand why I thought it was going to work out, right? You seemed to have the whole package, after all.

(1) A medieval-ish fantasy setting with strong emphasis on the modern-day values of tolerance and political correctness (judge me all you want, but I believe in getting rid of any 'authenticity' when it comes to misogyny and other forms of intolerance in my pleasure reads).
(2) A strong-willed female protagonist who is NEVER in any need of rescuing.
(3) Melina Marchetta's prose which I have praised before on several occasions.

What's not to like, right? Right?? Right???

But just like in the aforementioned "Friends" episode, the delicious-seeming ingredients just did not produce a mind-blowing final product - to my utmost disappointment and sadness. Sadness, you hear that? Because I *wanted* it to work out between me and this book! (I mean, Catie liked it, and she's my go-to person for good books - so what's *wrong* with me???)

I think my first stumbling point was the puzzling childishness of this story - including the 'epic' bits and all the 'dangers' the characters faced. Never ever, not even for a moment, was there any sense of danger to our characters. Never ever was there a feeling that they are about to embark on a journey that could be painful and lead to losses. No, nothing like that - even if we are faced with prison mines, a battlefield, a refugee camp plagued by deathly illness. No, everything was presented in a bright and happy light simply as another adventure at the end of which Finnikin and friends would - of course! - come out victorious, with no lasting consequences, physically and mentally, with Finnikin perpetually acting like a lovable brat and inevitably earning some appreciation from one or more father figures. Yeah.

My second stumbling block was the characterization of Evanjalin. I think there is a difference between a strong female character who is able to be a tough leader - and a bratty liar who is worshiped, for no apparent reason, by everyone she comes in contact with. So many things would have been much easier (and much less frustrating) had Evanjalin at any time decided to just talk to her companions instead of manipulating them into doing what works for her.

And what does everyone do after learning about the aforementioned manipulation and lies? If you guessed that they treat her like gold, you're right. Because clearly she knows what's better for everyone, and is qualified to make choices for others.

Thirdly, a question - how exactly does the nation of slightly over 6000 people develop several ethnic subgroups that are very distinct and apparently almost never intermix, all while living in close proximity? In a nation where it appears everyone knows each other and each other's business - and yet they manage to not intermix and lose their very distinct physical characteristics? It just does not appear possible, and felt quite grating throughout the story.

Fourthly, so many storylines and ideas seemed to be introduced just to be dismissed a few pages later.

Fifthly, there seemed to be more posturing between our male characters (namely, Finnikin and any other male he meets along the way) than I have seen since middle school.

It was getting a bit ridiculous. The number of times Finnikin charges someone, has a fight (without any physical consequences EVER!) - just to become their BFF afterwards was getting too much to count.

Anyway, I was more than willing to overlook the flaws - I do that all the time, in the countless books that I love. But with this one, I just could not.
In 11/22/63 (a perfect example of a book I loved enough to forgive all kinds of flaws), Stephen King quotes a Japanese proverb that apparently goes, "If there is love, smallpox scars are as pretty as dimples." Well, with no love all I see is smallpox scars. 2.5 stars.
Sorry, book, I will be walking into the sunset alone. Without you by my side. It was not meant to be, Finnikin.

Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
March 15, 2012
Whew. So much WIN I can hardly stand it!


Girls rule and boys drool!

Oh my sweet... just gimme the next book now!

First, a cavet: This review will probably be the most unhelpful review you might ever read because nothing I say will do the book justice. I'll just use this space to ramble and hopefully it makes some sort of coherency.

I remember the first time I heard about Melina Marchetta and her special fragrance of awesome she regularly emits whenever she publishes a novel. I had seen reviews of On the Jellice Road, Saving Francesca , and The Piper's Son popping up left and right in my GoodReads feed all proclaiming that this woman was the cat's meow. But still I resisted the urge to hop on the Marchetta bandwagon for whatever reason. I was the Grinch sitting comfortably on my hill watching all the citizens of Whoville fangirl.

Yup, that's me. Especially when writing a 1 star review.

Finally, my co-blogger, Kat Kennedy, shook me fiercely and demanded I get off my ass and head to my local library. Naturally, I did exactly as she said because when the Boss Lady gets bitchy, you don't ask questions. Unless, of course, you don't happen to favor your head. *shrug* Your choice. Always your choice.

So, I stared at the book when I got home and silently told myself, "This better be good or I'm going to troll the shit outta Kennedy's review." It wasn't a threat, it was a promise.

At about 15% into the book, I completely forgot about my vow to make her previous trolls look like cute bunnies.

At about 25% in, even though I checked the book out from the library, I purchased the Kindle edition for my iPad so I could read late into the night while my household slept.

At about 35% in, anyone who attempted to talk with me while I was glued to the book was met with silence or a growl. My husband made the snide remark that the iPad would be permanently affixed to my forehead if I remained in "that ridiculous reading position."

This is actually a real photo taken by my hus­band for mock­ery at a later date. Don’t worry. Vengeance will be mine!

At about 40% in, while at the bookstore, I raged because they didn't have Finnikin in stock. What the hell was their problem anyway?!

Somewhere between 50-100%, my husband began to worry I would run away to Australia and proclaim my love to Melina Merchetta. I won't pretend the thought didn't cross my mind.

Its been quite a long time since I added a book to my "All Time Favorites" shelf and out of all the books that reside there none ever truly came close to competing with my number one favorite: Harry Potter. Until now. Oh my god, this book was amazing!

Melina Merchetta, you humble me. This is one of the best books I have ever read. The rich world building. The realistic characters. The heartbreaking romance. You created a world I never wanted to leave.

Authors please take note. THIS is how you create a believable world, societies, and cultures. THIS is how you write a strong female character. THIS is how you show the unfair treatment of women in a society, having a heroine rise above, and yet your book still proudly waves its feminist flag. THIS is how you create memorable minor characters. THIS is how you write from a male point-of-view without him sounding like a wannabe. THIS is how you write an epic book.

Badass, Marchetta. Badass.

A piece of advice from the hard-to-please, Grinch of Book-land: Read this book. It is amazing, fantastic, brilliant and everything in between. When US readers get their hands on Froi of the Exiles, and later this year Quintana of the Charyn for those lucky Aussies, I'm sure GoodReads will resemble nothing short of gnats flying into the bright, blue light. And I will be proudly be one of them.

*clears throat* Now if you'll excuse me, I have a plane to catch.

So, yes this review was probably not helpful, but I hear there is a giveaway for a signed copy of Froi of the Exiles up on Cuddlebuggery!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
May 17, 2015

Whenever I write a review of a Melina Marchetta book, I risk sounding like the same old broken record... but, whatever, it's not my fault if she constantly manages to deliver the stuff I love! I'm not sure what'll happen if I ever dislike one of her novels, probably the sky will fall in and the world will end. Don't you know what to expect from Marchetta by now? If not, then I'll fill you in briefly: interesting, memorable and the very opposite of cliched characters, flawless writing, a plot that is gripping even though it isn't about supernatural creatures taking over the world (yet - but I'm actually curious to see how she'd handle that genre)... I feel confident enough to say that she is one of the very best modern writers (in any genre).

Okay... so Finnikin.

Let's just say that this year - well, the past few months - has completely changed the way I view traditional fantasy. The kind with made up worlds and magical realms, that sort of thing. In the past I just haven't cared. The Lord of the Rings? Wake me up when it's over. Kushiel's Dart? A steaming pile of WTF. I was actually afraid to start this book a few months ago because I didn't want to face the disappointment of reading a Marchetta book that did nothing for me. But then my opinion was forever changed by Megan Whalen Turner and her wonderful Queen's Thief series. This sudden change in my opinion of the fantasy genre was only solidified by reading Finnikin of the Rock.

It's difficult to pick a favourite character when they are all so well developed, and also difficult to pick a favourite part of the novel when it's full of some of the best-written action, adventure and romance scenes. The women kick ass and even the toughest of men have their weaknesses that only serve to endear us to them more. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll be saying it again: Melina Marchetta never ever wastes characters. They are all important to the novel, nobody is a throwaway.

There is no such thing as a perfect novel and certain parts could have been slightly improved - like the climax - but this is about as close as it gets. I'm even more of a Marchetta fan after reading this than I was before. Now I just have to sit and sulk until I get my hands on Froi of the Exiles.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
September 20, 2011
As seen on The Readventurer

My second reading of Finnikin of the Rock and I am changing my mind - 5 stars!

Now, when I have more fantasy under my belt to compare this book to, I am pretty confident it offers something that many others in the genre don't. This is a fantasy that is not drowned in clunky, 1000-pages long world-building, this is a book about people. People whose country is torn into pieces, people exiled from their homeland, lost, damaged, abused men, women and children. As a story of a displaced, broken nation that fights to rebuild itself Finnikin of the Rock is almost without a flaw.

But of course there is more to love. All the nuances of the narrative, plot lines that make Melina's works so rich - there is a love story in which a couple struggle for the upper hand in their young relationship; there are scenes of friendship and loyalty; there are intricacies of the relationships between fathers and sons, respect, pride and competitiveness all tangled; there is a heartbreak of a love once powerful but now sullied by years of violence and abuse; there is an enemy, despicable and crass, but now not reformed but changed; there are strong men and there are even stronger women. It's hard to list it all, but Melina writes everything with such power, managing to break your heart with a sentence, a word, a glance.

I still think the pacing could have been better though. The climax, the high point of the story, is simply too short, too understated. There is not enough feeling of a lot being at stake, it lacks danger and excitement.

However, there are so many other things about Finnikin of the Rock I loved that I am happy to overlook the obvious flaws, to stick to my 5 stars and to wait for Froi of the Exiles with eager anticipation.
Profile Image for Shannon.
3,097 reviews2,383 followers
March 12, 2012
I think this is the point where Marchetta and I go our separate ways. I read Saving Francesca and didn't enjoy it, and thought maybe it was just my aversion to realistic/contemporary fiction that was keeping me from riding the Marchetta love-train. After this second attempt I think she's just not for me. There isn't one thing I can point out that makes me say "this" is why I don't like her books, but there are numerous problems I can draw attention to.

My biggest gripe is that the plot hinges on assumptions made by numerous characters. What I mean by this is: if Evanjalin had revealed her secret early on then a lot of the problems that cropped up wouldn't have manifested. Although, Marchetta does address this by having one of the characters point out to Finnikin that if he knew the truth then he wouldn’t have made the right choices. So we have assumptions on top of assumptions now. Evanjalin constantly keeps secrets from them: both big and small ones. She puts everyone on a need to know basis, and makes their journey harder by doing so. I can’t even count how many times I wanted to shake her and tell her just to be straight with them. It was beyond frustrating.

And THEN, when her secret is revealed, everyone treats Evanjalin like she’s a saint and did no wrong-doing; suddenly, she's up on this pedestal and can't be touched. This felt so manufactured and inorganic. Everyone acts differently and practically out-of-character from how they were just a few chapters ago. I can understand some of this to a point, but the complete 180 everyone did just didn't sit well with me. Surprisingly, Finnikin was the only one who still acted marginally the same.

Evanjalin manipulates everyone and everything around her, without any regret. She is largely of the mind that "the ends justify the means" and does whatever the hell she wants. Evanjalin knows best and everyone else can just suck it. I understand she went through more than any person should have to endure, but her actions and her attitude throughout the book did not endear me to her. I liked Finnikin until he decided that he was in love with Evanjalin; which was yet another thing that didn’t occur naturally. Evanjalin lies, manipulates, and somewhat betrays everyone in her traveling party, even Finnikin, and everyone just accepts this and falls in love with her. It's so mind-boggling.

Then we have Froi. I will never get over what he did, and I honestly don't understand why Marchetta had his character do what he did, because it didn't fit with the image she created of him for the rest of the book. You want me to like him? Well, don’t make him I don’t care what sort of environment someone grows up in, I can't imagine anyone

Then there are two nit-picky things that were always in the back of my head. Finnikin learns the Yut language within a few days. And, from what I gather, the Yut language is very different from any of the other languages, as it’s described as being guttural and full of grunts (166), so it’s not like it’s just a dialect of another language or even a close sister-language. Finnikin is also a wiz when it comes to learning new languages, and I understand that, but to be able to make complex proclamations in a language you’ve only been taught in a matter of days is incredibly implausible.

Also, we have the multiple races (different skin/eye/hair color combinations are constantly remarked on) all living on one tiny island. There is a reason that almost 99% of the people in Japan are Japanese (even taking into account their tendency towards xenophobia). You just won't find so many different ethnicities living on such a small land mass, and even if this did somehow exist, they would eventually interbreed to the point where everyone would be a mix of everyone else. And, considering the remark Trevanion makes about the Yuts being at war for the past 10,000 years (175), this makes the fact that there are so many races even more unbelievable. And why are the people who live in the hot tropical climates fair-skinned with pale eyes (171)? The closer you are to the sun, the darker you’ll be in order to survive. This is such a weird thing to overlook.

I also felt like the magic and religion of this world were thrown together rather haphazardly. Nothing is really explained all that much and you’re just supposed to accept things for what they are. I don't mind not having info dumps about everything, but at least eventually let me into the club so I know what the rules are. Evanjalin explains And the religion seemed pointless as well, when it didn't even factor into anything other than having a place to sequester people. I didn’t understand placing so much emphasis on Sagrami and Lagrami worshippers, other than to have a convenient group of people to persecute.

Marchetta is a competent writer, but I don’t think she’s a good story-teller. There are too many things I can pick at and too many issues I have with her characters that I just find myself unable to enjoy her books as a whole. This is likely my last chance I'm giving her, because I normally like fantasy so much more than contemporary, and this one had almost as many issues for me as Francesca did. I know lots of people love Marchetta, but in this book lots of people love Evanjalin too, and I think in both instances I'm just not drinking the right Kool-aid.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
December 16, 2021
this was fine. not horrible, but nothing amazing either.

i definitely think i would have enjoyed this more if i had read this when i was younger. it has a veryyy outdated feel to it, one i dont think i would have noticed if i hadnt continued to read the YA genre into adulthood. but this very much feels like a book stuck in the time it was written.

i also think it would have been more enjoyable for me personally if it didnt feel like such a prequel book. its just… theres not plot? i mean, there is an overall story arc for the series that the characters are trying to accomplish in general, but the pacing is sooo slow in this that i had nothing to look forward to in the present.

if you enjoy long journey stories, where the focus is on world-building and character development (which is actually top notch), then this is the book for you. the writing is also quite lovely at times. but i was just in the mood for a little more excitement.

so im sad i didnt love this as much as MMs other books, but for her first try in the fantasy genre, i dont think its a bad effort.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews945 followers
May 12, 2020
This is not a review. This is a badly written poem.

“Then I choose to drown,” Finnikin said. “In hope. Rather than float into nothing.”

Since I was a nipper I have come to the conclusion
That when it comes to fantasy: I am strongly opposed.
When I read a book with long, confusing names
And swords and maps, its pages remain closed.
So imagine my surprise when I finished this one
(In the early hours of this morning, I feel I should note)
That my stomach was rumbling (I had no time to eat!)
And my heart was in my throat.
A tale of hopeful heroes, sacrifice and loss
History, homeland and prophecies told,
Of faraway lands, identity and faith
And love and flower fields of gold.
I learnt a lot from the tale of Finn and his friends
Like how to remain fierce in a threadbare smock
And how to fight thieves and how to hold a sword
(FYI: Similar to how you’d hold a….*cough*)
MM’s heroes are not made of puppy dog tails
And they don’t mope around being rude
It appears you can be a great character (and get the girl)
Without being in a permanent mood.
They are complex, compelling and always sexy brave,
And they treat their chosen one like an equal except Will.
From Jonah to Mackee to good old Trevanion Finn.
(On Froi, the jury is out ‘til the sequel)
But this book isn’t about the boys for the ladies are the ones to watch
With their passion and love and their unrelenting loyalty
And determination to show they will fight for what’s right
From the goddesses to the lost ones and, of course, the royalty.

But it’s easy to see, from my other reviews, that I am smitten
With every single book that Ms Marchetta has written.
And it’s safe to say that if her next book was about
Broody boys who are mean and think it’s sexy to shout
Or crying girls and fairies and triangles of love
Vampires and angling or all of the above.
Even if it was called “The Mating Habits of Eels
Or “Puppies Aren’t Just For Christmas: 100 Delicious Meals
I’d still read it and laugh and swoon and cry
And then place a copy in the hands of my friends and say
You need to give this a try.”

I received a copy of this book from the author.
March 11, 2013
Unreadable. I hated Evanjalin (I should have known from the spelling of her named). The POV and storyline kept jumping back and forth and gave me a headache. We're also supposed to care about the entire history from the day of creation of this world and all of its nation, it seems. Too much world-creation crammed into a lacking plot and failed to capture my attention.

And Froi. I'm supposed to feel empathy for and look forward to reading the next book about a boy that tried to rape the female protagonist? No. Just no.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
395 reviews696 followers
February 12, 2018
Yeah thank you very much Melina Marchetta for the biggest lump in my throat for hours on end reading this. People say the word 'slow burn'. This wasn't particularly slow but by god, it BURNED!!
It burned bad.

I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotions I'd feel for the characters & this Kingdom. Despite glowing reviews from many trusted gr friends, somehow I still underestimated the effect this book would have on me. Maybe it had to do with the fact I'd never read anything by her before but either way, I was floored.

So much courage, so much love.
Such hope and unity.

Lumaterans were scattered. They were destitute. They were exiles. Yet there was always this sense of togetherness, belongingness.
And gosh it was fucking magical!

I needed to conciously holding back my tears when

I know. I just know that I will always have a warmest place in my heart for Evangalin, Froi, Finnikin, Sir Topher, Trevanion, Lucian, Lord Augie, Lady Abie and even Balthazar.

And I also know that that is such a small as to be almost insignificant thing to give to these characters who'd been through so much cruelty, so much heartbreaks, just so much.

I was so emotional - at times my heart was so full with the pride of them all yet other times I could NOT stopped laughing! I remember this particular scene :
"sheep shit"

^I love the friendship between Finnikin & Lucian (lol)

rating: ★★★★½
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,643 reviews1,512 followers
December 8, 2016
12/07/16 Kindle deal today for 1.99 here

Buddy Read/Re-read with a great group of people at Lumatere Chronicles Group Read starting with Finnikin on Dec 1 2015

So wonderful, the second time trough I loved it more so I'm bumping the rating up to 4.5 stars.

I laughed, cried and was just amazed by the complexity of the characters in the story Marchetta tells.
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Original Review Dec 2013

4.5 Stars

Finnikin of the Rock was so much better than I expected. I thought it would be about Finnikin and it is but the character that really stole the show for me was Evanjalin. If you like fantasies with strong heroic characters that fumble along the way then this book is right up your ally. It is another very well done YA fantasy novel that is smart and intricate enough to be for adults but face paced enough to appeal to YA as well. The world is intricate, the lore well thought out and the overall story line was fantastic.

“Balthazar pledged to die defending his royal house of Lumuatere. Finnikin swore to be their protector and guide for as long as he lived. Lucian vowed he would be the light whom they traveled toward in times of need.”

There are too many characters and so much going on throughout the story that it is hard to give a good detailed review. So I will do my best to just give a generalized one. The Royal family of the Lumineers was slaughtered and an Imposter King sits on the throne. A witch put a curse on the land when the people turned against her religion and since that day some of the Kingdom was trapped inside the walls of the curse while others were trapped outside and cannot enter. It is thought that perhaps the son of the king Balthazar might have gone into hiding and still be alive years later. Evanjalin is a mystic of sorts and convinces Finnikin it is his quest to help her return a king to their people and help them break the curse and so our quest begins.

It seems like Evanjalin is playing by a set of rules no one else can knows and right away it is unclear if she is a force of good or bad, but it is certain she is a force to be reckoned with. To be able to convince the exiles of Lumineer to journey back to their kingdom they must rescue the former Captain of the Guard and find the men of the Lost Guard to help them.

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

There is a slow burning romance that is building between Evanjalin and Finnikin. He is torn because she is complex and intricate and wants so much from him and as far as he knows she might be promised to the Balthazar if they ever find him. But he can’t deny that what he feels for her he has never felt for another. Their moments together good and bad made the story all the better.

""Is she not the smartest girl in the land?"
"And the biggest liar and the most unpredictable" Perri Muttered."

This is full of mystery, action, adventure and hope. I was enthralled after the first few chapters and couldn’t walk away from the story. There are many hints along the way and I really wanted to find out if my theories were right. Some definitely were and others were not but the culmination of the story of a peoples journey home was an epic tale.
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There are sweet moments, horrifying moments and moments of the greatest hope. I can’t wait to read more from this world in the next book Froi and the Exiles.
757 reviews2,349 followers
April 22, 2017
3.5 stars.

This book put me in a slump. I've been reading this since January 9, 2017 and it is now January 29, 2017. This wasn't a bad book. It's fun and enjoyable, but I, however, wasn't able to enjoy it because I was dragging this book for almost an entire month. I think I kind of forgot what happened in the beginning, whoops.

This was my first High Fantasy read and I can successfully say, I enjoyed it. It wasn't anything original, typical, my-kingdom-has-fallen-and-someone-claims-the-real-king-is-alive-so-off-we-go-to-revive-the-kingdom. So off goes Evanjalin, Sir Tropher, and Finnkin in hopes of finding their king and claiming back their land.

I would be lying if I said I loved this. I really wanted to, but this thing called a fucking slump made it impossible for me to enjoy anything. I didn't hate this, hence the 3.5 stars. The world building, imo, was great. There were so many different kingdoms, languages etc etc and it was really fun to read and learn about.

I loved all the characters. I know many people found Evanjalin annoying, but imo, she was badass and full of surprises. She's not your typical weak heroine (though sometimes she cried too much), she's strong, clever, and she is just #goals. Okay? Okay. Tbh, like I probably mentioned before, I kind of forgot things while reading this so I'm not sure if there is anything special about Finnikin. To me, he was a bland and boring character. I felt like the author didn't describe much about him, despite the fact that the entire story is told from his view in third person. He was okay, but extremely bland and boring.

Froi is my son and I love him sm and I can't wait to read his story. And I apologize for the shitty review guys.

Overall, this was an interesting experience and I'm pretty sure High Fantasy people will love this. Give it a try, I'm sure it won't disappoint.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
March 3, 2019
Initial post: A weak 4 stars from me. I liked a lot of things about this story, but I have Issues.

Six months later: Well, I should have written a full review a long time ago. At this point, all my efforts to gather my thoughts about this book have just resulted in something all stream-of-consciousness, namely this:

"man, this is taking a long time to get going and it's all depressing and angsty and I can't even with all this grimness and death ugh why does this person think she's so cool seriously annoying me with all her secrets that she can't tell just because wait WHAT?!? why would you even keep an attempted rapist around why are people so stupid okay this is getting pretty good FINALLY."

So probably 3 1/2 stars for me, and in retrospect I've decided to round down my rating. I wasn't that excited about it, and I'm not motivated to read the sequel(s). But I'm an outlier here; most of my friends loved this, so just ignore me sitting in the corner here muttering darkly.

Profile Image for Maureen.
574 reviews4,185 followers
September 14, 2015
I'm really emotional don't toUCH ME.

This was so SOOOO good. It was a little overhyped for me (I blame you, heist crew friends) but I really enjoyed it besides that. I loved the characters, even though they frustrated the HECK out of me sometimes, and even though some of their decisions felt more like plot devices than actual decisions people would make.
This book takes a little bit to actually get going and took me about 100 pages to fully get into it, but when it gets good it gets so good.
I WAS SO EMOTIONAL A LOT OF THE TIME LIKE HOW CAN THIS BOOK MAKE ME SO EMOTIONAL WITH LIKE 5 PAGES OF BACK STORY. Idk. But that was its shining glorious light - the emotions it made me feel SO MANY.
Overall, I wasn't super blown away but I still loved it.
Also wanna say CALLED IT from almost the beginning and if you read the book you'll probably know what I mean.
Profile Image for Regan.
457 reviews110k followers
June 9, 2023
I really liked this book, I am finding it hard to write a review on it though.. I found it confusing at times, but that didn't bother me? That sounds bad, but it was sort of the good kind of confusing... I don't even know what's going on with this review. Okay, bye.
Profile Image for Ari.
940 reviews1,314 followers
June 8, 2020
------- 2019

8 years ago I was enjoying for the first time one of the most astonishing stories I've come across so far and the best fantasy series in the bookish world... if I say so myself.

A story of great loss, of curses and anguish, but also hope.
A story with the strongest characters in front and the brightest author behind.
A story that takes my breath away each time I re-read it, one that sings to my heart and fills me with such ineffable emotion.

Finnikin of the Rock is the beginning of a journey, but it's so perfectly defined and refined, it's hard to believe that all that development takes just one book. And as fascinating and intricately woven the magical plot is, just to wait for the next 2 books to see how much more magnificent Marchetta's mind can be...

It might break your heart, it might chill you to the bone, it might fill you with despair, but also glee... and I assure you that it will all be well worth it - because Lumatere Chronicles is one story of a kind!

Book description:

At the age of nine, Finnikin's world is shattered by the five days of the unspeakable: the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, an imposter seizes the throne, and a curse binds all who remain inside the kingdom's walls. Those who escape are left to roam as exiles.

Ten years later, Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, are summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, the heir to the throne of Lumatere and Finnikin's childhood friend, is alive, and she can lead Finnikin to him. Even as he suspects this arrogant young woman, Finnikin also begins to believe that Lumatere might one day be raised.


Wonderful, amazing, beautiful, absolutely brilliant... I need more stars! ★★★★★★★★★★

"Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?"

This was such a powerful story that got straight to my heart. After finishing it I was left speechless - Melina Marchetta has this effect on people. The characters are so well defined, the story is so complex... All that I've felt while reading Jellicoe Road I felt again while reading this book, and these 2 stories are nothing alike.

What I liked
It is hard to tell because there are so many things on this list, I would never finish - I liked the storyline, the characters, their evolution, the description, the twists in the story, and the ending (that precious ending - it was perfect). To keep it short: it was an emotional roller-coaster and it felt so good.

What I liked, but it was not really to like
The world described in this story - all that suffering of the people in exile and the ones trapped in the kingdom - it was heartbreaking. It hurt to know what happened (during those "5 days of the unspeakable" and after that), it was absolutely cruel,

What I didn't like
Scratch this ... what was not to like?

Judging by the other books from this author I had one fear - I thought that the beginning was supposed to be slow, but that was not the case.. I found it rather interesting and full of events from the very first page and this was a very pleasant surprise. This is definitely one of my favorite books and I can't wait for the sequel (even though it was so beautiful and perfect that I didn't feel the need to see what happens next )

Characters & favorite quotes:

- Finnikin
I am starting with him because he is the main character and the reason for all 416 pages of "the story, as told to those not born to see such days, recorded in the book of Lumatere so they will never forget."

Balthazar pledged to die defending his royal house of Lumatere. Finnikin swore to be their protector and guide for as long as he lived. Lucian vowed he would be the light whom they traveled toward in times of need.

- Evanjalin
A young novice that in the beginning does not tell as much, but as the story unfolds there are no words enough to express all that she holds inside, all that she had lived in those 10 years since the "five days of the unspeakable". Also she is the best female character I've read about in a while.

- "It takes great character to handle Evanjalin and Froi," Finnikin went on. "You would have much to fear."
- "What is the worst that can happen?" Aldron scoffed.
- "She could have you imprisoned in the mines. Or sell you to the slave traders of Sorel," Finnikin said with a shrug.

- Sir Topher
Let's accept our path, Finnikin, and hold our tongue, as the novice does so beautifully.

- Froi
Looking back, I didn't know what to make of him in the first book, but just wait for the next ones, there's so much to him that doesn't meet the eye.
"You never do anything stupid like that again," she whispered with fury. "You could have been killed, you idiot boy. It's part of your bond that I give instructions, not you."
Froi mumbled, and Perri leaned closer to listen. "That's very rude, Froi. And quite impossible for her to do with a bond."

- Trevanion
"Finn, listen!" Trevanion said, his voice raw. "I prayed to see you one more time. It's all I prayed for. Nothing more. And my prayers were answered. Go east, I'll lead them west."
"We have a dilemma, then," Finnikin said fiercely. "Because I prayed that you would grow old and hold my children in your arms as you held me. My prayers have not been answered yet, Trevanion. So whose prayer is more worthy? Yours or mine?"


My favorite moment in the book:

This review can be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com


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Later Edit:
Re-read in May 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!!!

Re-read, Jan 2016

Lumatere Chronicles is my top favorite fantasy - one of the best series I have ever read; and it's so complex and twisted, it breaks my heart and it puts it back together again and again.
And so I've made my husband read it (he only reads technical stuff). And it doesn't matter that he was with this terrible cold and nothing else to do, he enjoyed it, we talked about it, and for some reason this makes me so damn happy and giddy.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

4 stars - 4.5 stars - 5 stars? Oh, well, I don't know people. Sorry.

Finnikin of the Rock is the story of people who try to step forward, and forward, and forward... Until perhaps, one day, perhaps they'll share a land called home again.

"Speak, Finnikin wanted to shout at her. Lay blame. Shout. Rage. Rage!"

Ready to travel with me?

Finnikin of the Rock is a journey. The journey of Lumatere people who struggle to survive after their exile. I'll be honest, I didn't expect it to move me so much - and yeah, I realized pretty fast what a fool I'd been to underestimate Melina Marchetta's ability to take my heart and squeeze it. Hard.

The fact is, I'm always fooled in the same way with this author : I'm travelling through her words, confident, conceited even, until I come across a sentence which breaks my heart. Repeatedly.

"Men who in Lumatere had voices loud and passionate, who provided for their families and were respected in their villages. Now they sat in silence and relied on their children to translate for them as if they were helpless babes. Finnikin wondered what it did to a man who once stood proud. How could he pass on his stories without a language?"

There's a lot of talking in this book but it never bothered me. Why? Because as Sir Topher expresses it, stories and languages and well, talking are links we don't want to destroy. They're bonding, history, family .

People of Lumatere are going through all the trials refugee have to face. Yes that's fantasy, yet their suffering sounds so real and reminds me so much of what happens near every one of our houses I got chills. Sadly, I don't think there's a country in the world which doesn't have its refugee, somehow, and yeah, sure, we could argue that their country didn't disappear magically like Lumatere - no, war and poverty and corruption and selfishness did it. I'm not sure it isn't worst.

"You are evil," he seeted.
"Oh, the way that word is thrown around!" she said. "Everything is evil that humans can't control or conquer."

In addition to the necessity to forget their own language, entire families find themselves scattered throughout the kingdoms closed to Lumatere after the disappearance of their home. Desperate. Abused. Threatened. Hopeless.


There's so much to say about the plot and yet I'm feeling as I've already said too much. The only thing you need to know is this : following Finnikin, Evanjelin, Sir Topher and all the other *cough* Froi! *cough* has been a meaningful experience for me and I can only hope you'll feel even a glimmer of the emotion I felt.

As per usual with Melina Marchetta, the characterization is flawless. Really, I'm in awe of this author for her ability to create characters so real. Far from perfect. Both loveable and detestable. Each and every one of them found the path to my heart, each in their own way. Although I can be annoyed by their doubts (yes Finnikin, I'm totally staring at you - but yes, I still love you), amused by their repartee, in love with their courage, frightened for them - and sometimes, by them, they can make me feel restless, proud, mad, confused -

If I you ask me to tell you one thing about them, it'd be that they never ever leave me indifferent.

Finally, what can I say about the writing apart from repeating how beautiful it is? I always trusted Melina Marchetta to create complex and so dynamic characters. Now I know she can also deliver full-detailed settings. Indeed her words resonate within us, mesmerizing, alternating between descriptions full of details and short sentences when the action requires it.

Well, I think that's pretty clear that I loved this book, even if in some parts I felt a bit lost and wavering, especially in the third part which was a bit anticlimatic. But then, in my opinion no book is perfect, and I enjoyed so much this journey I can't hold a grudge.

I'll let you with this quote -
"Perhaps they would act as a deterrent. He could not believe anyone who heard such stories of wickedness would allow it to happen again."

Oh dear Finnikin, if you knew...

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews1,001 followers
July 26, 2015
Often times, when an author is highly talented in their genre, they don't do as well when trying their hand at another. Especially when the two genres in question are as dissimilar as realism and fantasy. Naturally, this sort of thing isn't a problem for an author like Melina Marchetta. As if being the fan proclaimed Queen of YA realistic fiction wasn't enough, she had to go and write Finnikin of the Rock and prove to her fans and critics alike that labels and genres mean nothing to her, that she's in the top tier no matter what the task calls for. Bravo, Marchetta. Bravo.

In the land of Skuldenore, there is a kingdom called Lumatere. Like all kingdoms, there is a King and Queen who rule over its people. These people and their rulers were happy until the day when a neighboring kingdom's rulers decided to use Lumatere as the means to eventually take over another kingdom, Belegonia. This leads to the slaughter of the King and Queen and their heirs, and soon after they are replaced by an imposter king and the majority of Lumatere's people become exiles. This is the ground work for what promises to be an epic fantasy saga.

I can't say that I expected anything less than a remarkable male lead from Marchetta (especially after recently meeting Jonah Griggs in another one of Marchetta's masterpieces, Jellicoe Road), but Finnikin still took me by surprise. I imagine it is very different and probably much more difficult to write a character in a fantasy world than in the real world, and for this reason I was curious to see how Finnikin would compare to Marchetta's other male characters. It turns
out that he is just as brilliantly crafted as his competition. He feels envy, lust, and rage, just as any human does. But those emotions are equally matched by his level of compassion, endurance, and love for his father, his homeland, and one lucky lady.
And what a lady Evanjalin is! She stirs the blood of the hopeless exiles and gets them on their feet and fighting. She carries a heavy burden, of which is unbeknownst to the reader for most of the novel, but she is resolute in her quest to restore the kingdom of Lumatere. I always appreciate characters who make you want to stand up and right the wrongs in the world, and Evanjalin's fierce determination did just that for me.

Because of her fabulous and utterly realistic portrayals of human life, Marchetta has garnered a legion of the most devoted fans an author could ask for. And I am proud to say that I'm among them. I'll be perilously balanced on the edge of my seat until the release of Froi of the Exiles.

P.S. If you'd like some snippets of info on Froi's book to tide you over until its release, check out this and this.
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,070 followers
January 13, 2018
If I expected the book to be as good as I’d thought it would be after I couldn’t even finish reading the blurb because it was just too boring, it was probably my fault.

Except!! NOT!! Because the devil recommended this book to me and I wouldn’t have had to suffer through this if it weren’t for her.


My first complaint out of many is that this book was WAY. TOO. LONG. When I was at page 200, I wanted it to end right then and there, “it” meaning both the book and my life. Usually 200-paged books are WAY too short for me, and salt is a look that should last a long time on me, but I just wanted to end it all?? Right there????

I hate travel stories. The travel aspect makes everything so much slower and so much more boring. I also hate epic fantasies, because everything feels too historical-feeling for my taste, and the women are treated horribly. Yeah, I’d rather,,,, not.


The characters were interesting enough, I guess. They felt very flat at times and I didn’t feel like they went through much development??? (Except for Froi, and even then it wasn’t that much.)

Honestly at this point I’m just questioning who dropped me on my head as a baby for me to be this STUPID to pick this book up?????

F*nnikin was boring and also annoying. Male hero who wants to save the day and his country but is also secretly angsty and craves the attention of a female but also refuses the female when and also is just generally all-around, how you say,,, BORING??? Uhh I think I’ll pass.

Evanjalin was the only character I actually LIKED. She was very strong and sassy and she deserved much better than whoever F*nnikin is. Not much development either, but I’ll take strong female characters in fantasy, especially when literally all the other characters are male. Fun.

Froi was. uhhhh. Well I liked him, but I would’ve liked him more if Evanjalin hadn’t let him get off easy on him trying to rape her??? And there was literally only ONE time of reprimanding from someone who wasn’t Evanjalin???? No thanks.

Then there were some other minor characters, but I don’t care enough about them to talk about them so.


On top of literally feeling my life slowly drain away from how much the book dragged, the romance made me want to die even more!!! Strong female characters deserve better than boring, sexist pieces of trash. The cuddling scenes, “gripping her tightly against his chest” scenes, and kissing scenes made me actually choke on my saliva.

The plot twists were cool, and I didn’t see them coming. (But then again, I don’t usually see things coming, like how much I’d be disappointed by this book.) But they weren’t SHOCKING??? Like they were definitely a surprise, but unfortunately I really didn’t care, which seems to be a common theme with me.


I honestly don’t know why I’m not rating this much lower,, but I think it’s because this book is just very meh. It’s not a great book, but it’s not a HORRIBLE book. I personally wouldn’t recommend it because I almost fell asleep numerous times, and no one should have to put up with F*nnikin for a whole 400 pages.

But if you want to try to read this, I literally don’t care. I just don’t want this in my life anymore bye.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,838 followers
March 23, 2017

I’ve put off writing this review for some time now because I know I won’t do this book justice. (Also, I was lazy and I have an exam coming up, but details, details.)



- The writing is gorgeous. It has a poetic touch yet the book remains dauntingly mysterious
- Complex and developed plot
- The characters – I would die for them
- I felt like I was being stabbed in the heart, multiple times
- Melina Marchetta is the author
- S L O W B U R N
- I cried harder for this book than I did while watching TFIOS (and that’s saying something)
- Everyone should read this book
- description

- I should have read this sooner
- That’s my only regret
- There are no real cons
- My BR partners ditched me so I couldn’t scream about the book to anyone
- No cons
- This list shouldn’t exist


Do yourself a favour and read this book.

“Because any hope beyond that, my boy, would be too much. I feared we would drown in it.”
"Then I choose to drown,” Finnikin said. “In hope. Rather than float into nothing.”

5 stars!!

Fake buddy read with Pragya and real buddy read with Silvia it was all a lie

bc everyone knows I'm Marchetta Trash™
Profile Image for Kristalia .
394 reviews615 followers
February 11, 2017
Buddy read with my darlings Nab & Basuhi & Hershey

Final rating: 5/5 stars
Final rating - for the whole series: 5.5/5 stars

“Be prepared for the worst, my love, for it lives next door to the best.”

This is not the first time that i have read this book. This is my second time and i love it as much as i did back then. My feelings stayed true to it, and that wont change easily as it seems. So, you should know that i am writing this review while having in mind that i have also read the rest of this series.

Melina Marchetta is captivating author. I love her stories, her writing style, her characters - basically everything. This series is for me one of her best works, when looked as one piece. And even though this book can be read as standalone, i strongly encourage you to read the other two books in the series too, as they get so much better as the story progresses (after all, they are masterpieces - at least for me).



I have to start with writing style - it was beautiful, captivating and magical. It felt like someone was telling you a story of Lumatere... a country which had fallen under a curse.

“Because any hope beyond that, my boy, would be too much. I feared we would drown in it.”
"Then I choose to drown,” Finnikin said. “In hope. Rather than float into nothing.”

I also love how she characterized characters: they all have faces. They are all well developed.

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



The story is dark and beautiful, there is no other way of saying it. I can say that is unique, and also not unique cause i know of only one story similar to this one called Tigana, but i wouldn't call them the same. This story is about a country called Lumatere, now cursed land which doesn't allow anyone to enter or to leave. It began with royal family being slayed, and with witch cursing the land in her dying moments. The people in Lumatere are devastated cause they can't get out, and people out of Lumatere suffer because they have no home to go back to. On the other hand, in Lumatere sits an imposter king, terrorizing citizens. And then, there is a prophecy of heir who will return to break the curse. If only there is a heir left in the world. But people of Lumatere won't give up easily - Finnikin of the Rock, Evanjalin of the Novices and Sir Topher travel to find the lost heir to the throne, prince Balthazar.

The world building is amazing. Even though when you first read the book, 1/3 of it may seem like info-dump, but i assure you, it all becomes understandable.

I also think that this story is more like a combination between mature young adult and new adult, so you know what to expect.



Finnikin of the Rock, son of the captain of the King's guard, searches and hopes to find his childhood friend, the rightful heir to the throne, Balthazar.

Finn, the main character of the story is not an usual protagonist. I don't love him, but more like him. He had his faults, and for some i blame him, but i also understood him. He wants to believe, but he finds it impossible to do it. He is complicated, maybe sometimes even more complicated that he should have been. But that is what i loved about him.


Evanjalin of the Novices, who has the ability to walk through the dreams of Lumaterans trapped in their own land, claims to have walked through the dream of the heir, Balthazar.

Evanjalin was absolutely complicated, strong leading heroine, and she does everything that she thinks is necessary for things to go as planned, also getting the title "Spawn of the Devil" by Finnikin. I love her, she is just amazing and fantastic character.


Froi is the thief from Sarnak we first encounter in the story. He did some things that cannot be forgotten, but he also reedemed himself as the story went.

Froi is one of the characters that is somehow left as a mystery, which is also good, since he is the one the next book is about. And i promise you, his story has so much to deliver. I don't remember how i felt about him before, i can only remember how i feel now, but its clouded since i know his "future" in this series. So, i won't comment him now.


Trevanion is the Captain of the King of Lumatere's guard, sent to prison for being who he is, when the impostor king claimed the throne.

Trevanion is fascinating, strong father figure and great man. I loved his relationship with Finnikin.

Sir Topher:

Man respected by others and also like a second father to Finnikin, he travels with Evanjalin and Finn to find the heir.

I liked him a lot. That's all.

Other characters:

There are so many wonderful characters and all of them were so well done... Lucian, Balthazar, Isaboe, Tessadora, Serannona, each one of them has a story to tell.



I cannot help but feel immense love toward this book, especially now that i have reread it - it made so many things clearer.

If you don't like the first book, keep in mind that they do get better in the second and third book. And although this book could have been read as standalone, second book ends with huge cliffhanger. And the story is filled with so much plot twists and uniqueness that i consider the last two books Froi of the Exiles & Quintana of Charyn masterpieces.

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


Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)
Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)

This review can be found on my blog: infinity-of-time.blogspot.com also known as...

Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
April 5, 2016
Set in the beautiful country of Lumatere, Finnikin goes on a quest to find his King and best friend Balthazar. Along on his journey, the beautiful but wild Evanjalin, his mentor and teacher, Sir Topher and thief Froi come together to find the mystery between the country’s impostor king and the biggest secret that is known in the entire kingdom.

Full of adventure, wonderful story telling, highly developed characters and a mystery that will have you wanting more, Finnikan of the Rock is clearly a winner. Brilliantly written I highly recommend this fantasy to any Lord of the Rings fan. I love big stories with several plots, and the setting just sounds so unbelievably like the medieval time which I love that I couldn’t help but fall for the characters and their problems.

Finnikin is an agreeable character and highly suspicious of Evanjalin for she’s stubborn and always argues with him a lot. In that case, I liked her a lot. Her character is strong-willed and feisty. And you can feel a love story develop a mile away. Froi on the other hand, has so much hurt in his past, which I know after reading the first one, we’re more likely to see him in the next book aptly titled “Froi of the Exiles.”

Add this book to your collection book lovers, you won’t be disappointed!
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,174 reviews8,391 followers
July 1, 2017
Upon re-reading this, I'm definitely not as enthusiastic about this as I was the first time through. Maybe it's simply because I had read it before, and as I made my way through it a second time I started to remember things and there wasn't that initial reaction to be surprised or delighted by. But I've also read a lot of books multiple times where that feeling holds up, and for some reason it just didn't really do that for me with this book. Nevertheless, I still think this is underrated and excellent YA fantasy novel. And I am looking forward to finally finishing the series. I love the characters so much; they're really what kept me going through this. If initially I gave this a 4.5-5 stars, I'd probably knock it down to a solid 4 after re-reading it.
Amazing. Go read this now.
Full review to come.

Alright folks, let's just cut to the chase: this is the most underrated book I've ever read. Yup, I said it. Sure there are over 17,000 ratings of it here on Goodreads, but for people I know personally, only one person has ever talked about it enough to make me pick it up. (So thank you Regan, thank you).

This is YA Fantasy. But this isn't just any old YA Fantasy. This is YA Fantasy at it's finest.

Finnikin of the Rock is a story that captivated me from the prologue. Yeah, the short few pages at the beginning of the book that tells a cryptic, confusing, but creative tale of three boys making a blood oath, seriously captivated me. I just knew that I had to keep reading to find out what these boys were promising, and what would happen, and how it would all end up!

The main part of the book picks up ten years after the prologue. Finnikin is traveling with Sir Topher, after the unspeakable happens in Lumatere: the impostor king from Charyn, a neighboring land, has invaded the country, killed all the royal family, and taken the land for himself. It's terrible, and gripping.

Finnikin, now in the present day feels a calling to travel to the Cloister of Lagrami in Sendecane. There he meets Evanjalin, a young novice who joins him and Sir Topher on their trip.

This is a lot of explanation, so that's all I'm going to leave you with. Just read the book!

My Thoughts:

1. World-building: incredible. The history of the land, the images Marchetta writes, everything is so vivid. And it all makes sense. Everything has a justification and explanation. Nothing just happens because, it happens with realistic reasoning. It's very rich in detail.

2. Characters: Finnikin is snarky, strong, smart, but also a bit hot-headed at times. He is likeable, like the shy, quiet guy in your class who occasionally takes a stand for what he things is right (if that makes sense). Evanjalin is one tough chick. I like her, a lot. All the secondary characters are well built, and as the story progresses you get more and more backstory and a feel for them as people, rather than just supporting characters.

3. Plot: it's always exciting. Even if nothing is really happening, the story is engaging and the dialogue is excellent. It tells enough of the story without being obvious or unnecessary, and it always fits the characterization well. Love it.

Overall you can probably tell I'm now obsessed with this book (in fact, I'm already 1/3 of the way through the second book Froi of the Exiles as I am writing this!).

4.5/5- would obviously recommend. Duh. Go read it, please!
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews510 followers
August 18, 2011
"Everything is evil that humans can't control or conquer"

What kind of book is Finnikin of the Rock?

It's a fantasy book. Evidently.
It's a love story. Certainly.
But not only.

It all starts with three friends, a prophetic dream and a blood pledge.
It continues with an invasion, a terrible curse and the struggle of one people to take back what they lost.

For me Finnikin of the Rock is a book about identities. About a people, the Lumaterans, losing their national identity and fighting to get it back, about a man who's been imprisoned for 10 years and has lost his identity, about a girl who is concealing hers to save her country and about a boy who really doesn't know who he is.

In unmistakeable Marchetta's style, we are presented with a book that not only has got an intriguing plot, is full of action scenes, adventure, amazing and detailed worldbuilding, and as usual, characterization like only Marchetta can do, but also with a book with an underlying message that goes beyond our mere entertainment as readers.
It is a condemnation of war and of its horrors, it denounces persecutions for political, ethnic or religious reasons, it opens a window on people, at any latitude and climate, whose dignity has been taken away together with their homeland.
The words mass graves and ethnical cleansing are words which will be stuck in your throat during some passages of this book and I dare you not feel compassionate for the Lumateran people.

So, end in end, this is a book that is only disguised as fantasy but that, in reality, is well above that.
It's probably superfluous to say that I really loved this book and I can't wait to read its sequel coming out in October.

My favorite passage:

"Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?"
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
260 reviews4,947 followers
August 17, 2016
3.5 Stars... I think?

I'm having a hard time pinning down what I didn't like about this story. There really is so much to rave about... so many beautiful moments. The character depth is MIND BLOWING phenomenal. The world building is just so many layers of fascinating. The plot twists are tear jerkingly gorgeous.

So why only 3 stars? Bah. Okay. I've been thinking about this for a while.. and here's the best explanation I can offer: I felt like a 3rd party viewer- sitting in the stands, watching events happen. I never felt like I was in them. Like I was watching them from afar.

Additionally, the pace was quite slow; and the story is told from multiple POVs -and I just felt like when I was finally connecting to Finnikin or Evanjalin.. the POV would swap and I would have to read another several pages before I get back in with them.

Please, please do not let this keep you from reading the story. It is very emotional and very driven. It is worth a go. (Even if it is for the astounding amount of beautiful quotes.)

My Blog ~ Instagram
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews525 followers
January 9, 2016
”You asked me once what my magic was.
That is my magic.”

I am now convinced Melina Marchetta is made of equal parts freshly-baked cookies, clean laundry, pixie dust and waffles. Something about her books just comforts me in ways I cannot attempt to capture into words. Her oeuvre covers themes that in their simplicity would probably come across emotionally exploitative in lesser hands, but her crafty storytelling effortlessly ties textured characters with my personal reflexes and sentiments towards family, courage, hope and love.

And somewhere in the middle a bit of magic happens.

As with fantasy books, it all started with a blood (and hair - courtesy of Isaboe, Balthazar’s younger sister) promise. Prince Balthazar of Lumatere pledged to die defending his royal house, his cousin Lucian of the Monts swore to be their beacon in times of need and his friend Finnikin of the Rock vowed to be their protector and guide for as long as he lived. Finnkin of the Rock chronicles Finnkin’s conflict in fulfilling that vow amidst despair and hopelessness ten years after Lumatere was besieged by the Impostor King sending half their peoples scattered all throughout Skuldenore while their last remaining royal, Balthazar, is nowhere to be seen. They travel to the Cloister of Lagrami where a novice named Evanjalin claims to walk in the dreams of the remaining Lumaterans within the walls has walked into Prince Balthazar’s dream.

While I’ve read (and loved) nearly all her contemporary books, it took me a bit of time to brave The Lumatere Chronicles. And by the way, I’M HOLDING EACH AND EVERY FRIEND OF MINE HERE WHO DIDN’T TIE ME DOWN AND FORCED ME TO READ THIS SOONER, RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TRAVESTY. Mostly because being familiar with her narrative, fitting that particular style in High Fantasy feels a little… overwhelming. I mean, can you imagine this being told the way On the Jellicoe Road is written? Someone is bound to lose hair over that: pulled or shed. Thankfully this story unfurled in a more or less straightforward almost heist-like manner. Where Finnikin, Evanjalin and Sir Topher gathers the necessary implements and pieces to their fractured hopes to get their people home.

Though certainly, Marchetta's fingerprint is still all over the place: Trevonian and Beatriss had a little of Sam and Georgie while the way the five days of the unspeakable was revealed is pretty much the standard in her books. She writes these characters with such a lovely insight in each and how they relate to each other: fathers and sons, friends and enemies, teachers and apprentices, orphans and the world. And lest you think this is just too heavy…
”Hungry,” Froi muttered.
“And we’re not?” Finnikin snapped back.
“He’s a boy,” Sir Topher admonished, “who needs to eat. You were the same at his age Finnikin.”
“No I was not.”
Sir Topher snorted with disbelief.
“All of you stay here,” Finnikin ordered. “I will get us food.” He pointed a finger at his father. “No fighting with the locals!”

Her perspective is very matriarchal and feminist (that scene where Yata asked Finnikin to meet Lady Abie, Beatriss and Tesadora makes me think of The Piper's Son), but the male characters don’t feel compromised. A very narrow buffer range that doesn’t exist where Marchetta’s concerned.

How does she do it? Why are there so many EL James clones and none of hers????

The scope of the encompassing story of Lumatere was vast, with some Old Testament-y feel to it (I could almost imagine someone crying “Let my People go!” in one scene). The way Finnikin and his crew travelled from one region to another getting themselves enmeshed in the politics and nuanced conflicts in that particular area gave this the gritty adventure I’d most expect in adult HF. Much like in Red Rising, I’ve had to check several times that this is young adult because it certainly didn’t have that feel you get from the usual suspects in this genre: Throne of Glass, Graceling, The Girl of Fire and Thorns… this is perched way above whatever benchmark those fairytales set for themselves. This wears the grown-up pants quite comfortably. I loved it but that may very well be this book’s gift and it’s curse.

Because of the maturity in the story, the characters and the themes this chose to focus on, certain plot points felt off-key and an ill-fit to what this set out to do. I think most of the review here didn’t appreciate that reveal around the 75% mark and what came after. I actually loved that plot twist. I WANTED that plot twist

So when that reveal came, I was a little disappointed with how the explanation felt a little anaemic. Almost as much as the elaborate explanation behind Evanjalin’s abilities.

The POVs jump around a lot but didn’t deter me from forging emotional bonds with most of the characters. What was a little distracting was that there were visible holes in certain scenes where say Sir Topher orders Finnikin to go this way and the POV follows Finnikin on that adventure, but I’m left wondering, what’s Sir Topher doing while all that is happening? It created some lapses in the continuity, as if all the world stops with that character’s POV.

The plight of the Lumaterans greatly outweighed my interest over the romance, if you can believe it. Though make no mistake, the romance was good and there were more than one occasion when I felt some swelling in my heart over characters being reunited and truths being revealed. The side-plots were mesmerising (Team Perri/Tesadora! Woohoo!) but it was that pervading theme of the despair and sorrow by the exiles, their heart-wrenching past and their losses in the present more than filled the very few points where this lacked.

Gah, I’ve blathered on far too long yet again! So hard to review High Fantasy concisely! Okay needless to say I loved it. I foresee a re-read down the line but I’m more looking forward to reading about Froi.
Froi liked the way Moss said “our boy” as if Froi belonged to them instead of belonging to no one. Sometimes during their travels, he had imagined there was someone inside Lumatere searching for him. But there had been no mother like Lady Abian or father like Trevanion waiting. No kin who recognised him as theirs.

Last thing:
Goddess of Light = LAGRAMI
Goddess of Dark = SAGRAMI
Goddess Complete = SALAMI

Also on BookLikes.


Dat charmer of an ending.


Review to follow after the negotiations.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,164 reviews639 followers
October 12, 2010
“Finn, listen!” Trevanion (Finnikin’s father) said, his voice raw. “I prayed to see you one more time. It’s all I prayed for. Nothing more. And my prayers were answered. Go east, I’ll lead them west.”

“We have a dilemma, then,” Finnikin said fiercely. “Because I prayed that you would grow old and hold my children in your arms as you held me. My prayers have not been answered yet, Trevanion. So whose prayer is more worthy? Yours or mine?”

Melina Marchetta fan club??? Sign me up now! If she has more Finnikin of the Rock type books up her sleeve, my pocketbook is in a world of hurt because OMG this book blew my mind away and tugged at my heart the entire time! I haven’t taken this type of fantastical journey since Cashore’s Graceling and Fire.

Marchetta’s writing is magical, flawless and top tier in her genre. She has a seamless ability to catapult her readers into an undefined time that feels both medieval and mythical with a hint of realism that keeps you grounded to the here and now.. Her characters are witty with just the right amount of snark, which is my preferred method of communication. I loved Finnikin and Evanjelin. Their journey through The Land of Skuldendore was filled with intrigue and most of all hope for the people of Lumatere.

About the book: At the age of nine, Finnikin received a prophecy from the gods that warned him about the destruction of his homeland Lumatere. So Finnikin, Prince Balthazar, and the prince’s cousin Lucian, bonded together at the rock to make a blood sacrifice to keep their home safe. Despite their plea to the gods, the ‘five days of the unspeakable’ occurred and Lumatere was destroyed and the royal family was slaughtered. After ten years in exile, Finnikin is led once again to a rock to meet a novice, Evanjalin, who is plagued by dreams of those held behind the walls of Lumatere waiting for someone to rescue them and return their land of light.

This book makes me feel quite conflicted because as I rage on and blast authors that can’t seem to write a stand-alone book now-a-days. However, Finnikin of the Rock is one that I feel is worthy of sequels because simply put, I ♥ Finn. What a great book that deserves to be read NOW and continue on for quite some time. I’ll be sure to keep my eye out for more of Marchetta’s fictional magic.
Profile Image for Sue.
781 reviews1,590 followers
February 12, 2017
I proclaim this is the year, I fell in love with Melina Marchetta.

A fair warning to everyone, this is not a full review of any of the books, but instead a quick overview discussing what, I find thought provoking about the series.

This is a spoiler free analysis.

Proceed with caution.

Lumatere Chronicles are a radical, progressive tale about a nation trying to restore their honor.

Finnikin of the Rock is a great introduction to hesitant readers who’s slowly grasping the concept of the series. It was beautifully written, filled with remarkable characters and gripping plot. Readers would get more than what they asked for. I am simply blown away by its simplicity and spot on narration.

The sequel, Froi of the Exiles is quite difficult to rate. I thoroughly liked it. As a matter of fact, this is where, I met one of my favorite female characters, Phaedra. But, I still find some of the parts lacking. I supposed because I was expecting to form a firm attachment to the new characters. Though, don’t fret because the next installment would be a better company.

The concluding book, Quintana of Charyn, on the other hand is the deal breaker. Marchetta skillfully wrapped up Lumatere Chronicles.

Marchetta deftly established the cultural background, significance, and differences of each nation. It truly shows within the subtle, but rich world building in the text.

Per instance, Phaedra’s accent compared to the native Lumaterean intonation, the rich and diverse languages and vocabulary differs when it comes to various countries. How their clothing and land looks like. What are their traditions and vital livelihood, the color of their skin and more.

Marchetta’s political message was deliberate and calculated.

Lumatere Chronicles also tackled the animosity between societies. Racism, sexism and classism.

Here's one of my favorite passages from Froi of the Exiles. What a very powerful scene. I couldn't highlight it enough.
They meant no harm,” she heard Tesadora say at her shoulder.

Phaedra walked away, scrubbing away tears, not realising she was crying. She was tired of feeling shame. She was tired of feeling helpless all the time.

"Did you hear what I said?" Tesadora asked, gripping her arm.

" They say were dirty," Phaedra cried, pulling free. "Luci-en says were useless. Your queen says were murderers. I overheard the Mont lads say we should be rounded up and set aflame. Were barren. We worship too many gods. Our bread is tasteless. Our faces are plain. We cry too much. Our fathers abandon us. We dont understand kinship. Were pitiful!"

Phaedra shook her head. "If your people mean no offence, they should not speak their thoughts out loud in front of their children, Tesadora. Because it will be their children who come to slaughter us one day, all because of the careless words passed down by their elders who meant no harm."

Tesadora stared a moment and then a ghost of a smile appeared on her face.

"Strange things happen when we stand face to face with our enemy, dont they, Phaedra of Alonso?"

The unsurprising thing that strikes me about this saga, Marchetta didn’t shy away from her usual brand. Who would have ever thought a high fantasy series would also touch the ache, loneliness, and depression with a strong emphasis? It usually gets swept under the rug for the sake of the swashbuckling, tyranny story line. But, Lumatere Chronicles have so many interweaving threads, a reader can’t seem to take a break.

In addition, to this series’ handful of depth and layers, this story is highly fueled by its remarkable characters. I love how Marchetta illustrates the deep and fragility of family and friendship.

From its brilliant world building, bloody politics, the portrayal of justice and feminism. I would heartily recommend Lumatere Chronicles to readers who are looking for a classic high fantasy book. 

Review also posted at Hollywood News Source.
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews501 followers
July 14, 2017

me: this book sucks
me @ myself: ok, but who tf asked ????

you know when someone's like "oh, it hurts me to do this more than it hurts you" and you're just here like ( ͡°_ ͡°) seriously, you mcfreakin juiced carrot ??? i'm offended you would even say that to my face

well, i'm here to say ...... *takes a deep breath* thishurtsmemorethanithurtsyou (tag yourself: i'm the juiced carrot, obv)

i just wanted to start off by saying that because i thought that the day i rated melina marchetta anything less than a billion stars would be the day my very soul revolted against my body because damn. you can't trust no bitch. and i'm sorry. i didn't mean it to be this way.

for those of you who want to drag me into another dimension for this affront, i'm hear you, i respect, you, i'm with you. i will take your hate comments in 12 pt times new roman, MLA format, works cited included.

why this book sucked :

‣ it was boring

‣ i literally decided to get ahead on my hOMEWORK and laundry and scheduled stare of into the oblivion just to avoid reading this

‣ i mean, do you know how many times i refreshed instagram and tumblr

‣ the characters were aight

‣ i kinda liked them, and then they would annoy me, and then i liked them again, and tbh an egg like me doesn't have time for whiplash ok

‣ the romance was very insta-love ish

‣ i don't have time for gROWN MEN who have an issue with hearing about a fucking period. like get over it. it's blood ....... out of where ....... you like to stick your ding dong. like, if you're not mature enough to handle a fucking P*RIOD than you're not mature enough to have sex goodbye

‣ i didn't really care about the characters' plight. which made it hard to care about them. i know they're all going to end up okay, but you have to make me feel like they might not

‣ bc then what's the point ???

‣ i started skimming. and you know once you start skimming, all the characters could die, they world could burn, and you could be physically sucked into the book ala Inkheart and it still wouldn't be able to tread water

why this book didn't suck bad enough for 1 star :

‣ melina marchetta

‣ the world building was there. sometimes too there, but that's fantasy and i've learned to pick my battles

‣ this book somehow still managed to make me laugh sometimes ??? but the kind where you still have resting bitch face but inside you're like ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

‣ the last 50 pages were kinda cute

‣ i have an assignment i've been procrastinating and finishing this book was my excuse not to start it but now i'm done oops

tbh, as much as i ended up shitting on this book, i might read book 2 because (1) it has better reviews and (2) my tbr pile is pathetic and consists of like 80% unreleased books so ...... a girl's got needs


rtc when i find the will to live after rating a melina marchetta book 2 stars :)))))
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,680 followers
June 18, 2015
This book is the literary equivalent of a FREAKING UNICORN.

Here is a fantasy written by someone who cares more about characters than about checking off boxes on the Fantasy Novel Checklist. Here is a YA book that features a love story but not a love triangle.

DID YOU CATCH THAT? THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE. I can't even remember the last time I read a YA fantasy that didn't involve a love triangle. I almost wept with gratitude when I realized that the plot wasn't going to come down to, "Which boy will she choose?"

A UNICORN, my friends.

A beautiful, deadly unicorn.

This was no fairy tale. This was a gritty, well-grounded fantasy that frankly discussed the effects of war, rape, famine, and bigotry, among other topics. It felt real, it read like the best of historical fiction, with hints of magic woven throughout, illuminating and enhancing the story, rather than overshadowing it. There was no deus ex machina, nor did the story end on the battlefield with everyone aglow with victory and no thought to who was going to clean up the mess the next day. It showed us the journey, the battle, and then the aftermath, and did it all beautifully.

Good stuff.
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