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review 2015-01-09 23:40
Quintana of Charyn - Melina Marchetta



   This was a fitting ending to the Lumatere series. I really enjoyed this series as a whole, the writing is incredible, the characters are rich and layered, and the world is both tragic and beautiful.


   Quintana of Charyn was a little bit different from the other books, it was most noticeably the end of things, there were no new characters to meet, and you could see everything and everyone's stories finally tying together and coming to a comfortable ending point. I think I had expected to see a little more inside of Quintana's head (especially considering the title) but we honestly got too see most of the things regarding her more through other beloved characters eyes. It was fine though, I really enjoyed it, but after meeting her in Froi of the Exiles, I was dying to get more from her, and I was a smidge let down not to see some more of her growth on an internal level.


   I really quite liked how everything turned out. It was a little more lovey dovey than the previous books as well, but I think it fit after all that these people had been through. Each one earned their happiness. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows though, I mean it's still a Lumatere book after all, there was plenty of heartache, struggles and loss to tear your heart to shreds. Marchetta just does a more thurough job of patching your wounded heart up in this one.  


   Is it just me or does it still feel as if Lumatere has some more stories to tell?! Maybe that's just me and not wanting to let go of such an incredible story. I'm just saying if Marchetta decides to add more on down the line....I'll immediately be picking that up! I think a book some years in the future, maybe with the little king and queen to be grown up would be amazing. For now I suppose I will just move on and look on the side of wonder :)

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review 2014-12-31 17:22
Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta

(Wouldn't trade a minute of it though)


    Why is it that when something is annoying or drives you mad it is so easy to find a million words to say about it? But when you find something you incredible, nay, so AMAZING, that you can't seem to find the words to say how you feel about it. I am here now. Melina Marchetta, where have you been all my life? Why am I just now reading these books? You HOOKED me with Finnikin of the Rock, but you OWNED me with Froi of the Exiles. This book was enchanting. Every page was captivating. This was epic fantasy at it's very best! I'm not even exaggerating when I say that all I did yesterday was devour this book. I read all 596 pages in a day. I stayed up until 2am marveling at this gem. I want to take this book, wrap it up, cradle it like a baby and keep it near my heart for all of time.



    Froi of the Exiles how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

        The characters. Oh the characters. They are broken. They are ravaged, down deep in their souls. We see how they got that way, we watch it happen or so it breaking down more and more. But we also see a glimpse of light, and hope, at the end of this dark tunnel of despair, and sometimes we get to see this fraction of light grow so bright that it's blinding. Oh what a pay off it is. It's worth every torturous moment in the darkness. No character is inconsequential. Be it a main character or secondary, or even a small role as a villager, they all mean something to this grand story.



     "She is worth nothing, Arjuro had said. If Froi understood anything, it was that in this world one's worth came from others. He had no worth until he crossed the path of the novice Evanjalin and Finnikin. So he found himself writing his own bond to Quintana of Charyn. Her worth would come from him and Lirah and the idiot last borns. She would not die alone. That would be his bond to her."


   I found myself loving Froi most of all in this book. Don't get me wrong, I adored Finnikin and even the novice Evanjalin in Finnikin of the Rock, still do, but Froi was just something more to me. He was even more damaged, and there was such a darkness in him. Where in FotR the beast inside roamed free, you could see Froi constantly struggle in this book to keep his darkness leashed. It made me love him even more. We got to see so much more to Froi in this book. He has grown to be so much more than I could have even hoped for.


    "Most days, he feared that a monster of great baseness lived inside of him, fighting to set itself free. Killing the traitors of Lumatere for Isoboe made sense. But killing also fed the monster. He could not bear the idea of letting that monster free among the girls of Lumatere So Froi kept away from them."



      We got to meet loads of new characters in this story. Quintana was one of my new favorites. She kind of reminded me a little of the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland. There were layers and layers to her, each one you uncovered only made you want to see more and more of what made this madly intriguing girl tick. She was so strong. Even when she appeared weak and useless, it was real a testament to how smart and strong she was.



   Honestly nearly everyone new we met, along with some others that we had but glimpses of, they all weaseled their way into my heart. Gargarin, Arjuro, Rafuel, Lucian, De Lancey (and even his silly children), and sweet Phaedra....just to name a few. Amidst this love fest of characters here, there were a few that broke my heart. People I had grown to trust, right along with Froi, people I liked, they let me down in ways that were heartbreaking. I think that's one of the things I love most about these books, no one person is all good or all bad. The prettiest, shiniest egg can turn out to be nothing but rotten in the end. Likewise, the seemingly cruelest and most standoffish people end up being the ones you need with you the most for they are the only ones you should trust with your life. Nothing really ends up being what you see on the surface, there is always more to people than that.


     I really appreciated the dual point of views in this book. While it was clear that Froi and his journey into enemy territory in Charyn was the main focus, it was so wonderful to also get breaks to see things still progressing in beloved Lumatere. It was great how everything started tying together at the end as well. It was clear that the fates of both kingdoms are going to be intertwined. It's such a delicate balance between these to lands, I'm still really unsure which way things are going to go down between them. There seemed to finally be some progress starting to be made between the two races of people but in the end I'm just not sure that it was enough to halt the looming war creeping to their doorsteps. One can only hope, I guess.  It was eye opening to say the least to get a look at the Charynites in this book and see them for more than that of the heinous deeds some of their kin did to the Lumaterians during the curse in Lumatere. It was so easy in the first book to paint them all as monsters, but no so easy in this book where we see the good in their community as well. Also all the plight they bear as their own torturous curse of 18 years has been reeking havoc on their people.  


     "Phaedra shook her head. "If your people mean no offense, they should not speak their thoughts out loud in front of their children, Tessadora. 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."



    I don't know what else to say. This book was flawless. It had me comepletely enamored from page 1 to the very last page. At nearly 600 pages I never skimmed, I never grew bored. I only felt EVERYTHING. I laughed, I cried (seriously, literal tears)

(If anyone has wads of 100 bills that they want to give me to wipe my tears with, I'm not opposed to it)

 I was hopeful, heartbroken, excited, nervous, and about a million other things throughout reading this book. Books like this aren't just a story, they are an experience. I can't sit here and tell you about it and do it any kind of real justice, you need to experience it for yourself. It is one of those rare books that you finish and you think

you feel like no other book is going to make you feel this much again. It's just not possible. This is the best it's ever going to get. Until one day another one grabs you by the heartstrings and drags you through the whole ride all over again, and leaves you feeling exactly the same way. I have a bunch of "favorite" books, but even amongst my favorites there are only a few of these kind of books. My only hope is that the next book in this series, the final book, Quintana of Charyn will be a book I can add to that elite list. If you haven't started this series yet, you should. 


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review 2014-07-27 12:53
Froi of the Exiles
Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles - Melina Marchetta

I read the first book in this series, Finnikin of the Rock, earlier this year. I had always heard good things about it, but while I did like it I adding feel that connection that I always heard about from others. 


Well, Froi gave me a lot of feelings in a good way. Though looking back at the, it doesn't seem like it would. Finnikin I read in one sitting and I did debate about staring Froi since I was interested, but I had the feeling that I wouldn't be continuing it. Which is what happened. It sat around for over a month before I finally finished it and I had to rescind the beginning since I had forgotten it. Even as I read it, I could easily put it down. 


But I enjoyed it much more. It's not 100% dependent on the previous book and focuses obviously on Froi, who we met as in the first book. He's grown up a lot since then and is happy with his life in Lumatere and his service to its rulers. 


Due to his skills in combat and language, he ends up being sent on a mission to Charyn, to kill its King. Charyn has been an enemy of Lumatere since it invaded about 15 years ago. But the country has been under a curse which gives Froi the opportunity to infiltrate the palace. 


What he doesn't see coming is the probably insane princess, Quintana. Their relationship was my favorite part of the book. 


I had some ideas of who Froi was since it was always obvious that he was never going to end up being just a regular person. I thought the reveal was much better done than in Finnikin, which made it obvious from the start to everyone except Finnikin. 


The hotel book has a fantastic new group of characters and while it doesn't ignore the previous book, most of our time is spent in Charyn. The book does end on a cliffhanger for pretty much all the characters and I look very forward to seeing what will happen in the finale. 

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review 2014-05-27 16:54
Second book even better than the first
Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles - Melina Marchetta

It's not often that second books in a series are even better than the first, but as amazing as Finnikin was, Froi topped it. I will read anything that Melina Marchetta writes. It's not that Froi was a better character than Finn, but that the scope of the story was even fuller. Not only did we follow Froi on his quest, we stayed with the Castle people and got to know new and wonderful characters. 

The one thing to realize about this series is that while Finn's story (in terms of the relationship) wraps up in his book, Froi and Quintana are a two parter. Which means that Quintana becomes the protagonist in the final book. 

I, for one, can't wait!

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review 2014-05-19 18:04
Brava, Ms. Marchetta, you've done it again!
Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta

Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake. In my defence, I hear about so many books. Here's the thing, I'd read Marchetta's Jellicoe Road and adored it. It shook me up in all the best ways. So I was totally up for reading anything else by her. At the same time, I kept hearing raves about Finnikin. DId I put it together that she was the author? Well, yeah. About three days ago.

At which point I raced to the library to snag it. Oh joy. Oh happiness. Straight up fantasy quest to reclaim a kingdom. Which I'm all over. But what makes this shine are the characters. Could I be more in love with Finn and Evanjalin? Nope. There wasn't a weak character in the entire book. 

This was a hot damn, one sitting, give me the next book now read. Brava, Ms. Marchetta, you've done it again.

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