REVIEW: Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles, #1)

Finnikin of the Rock  - Melina Marchetta

So, I went into reading Finnikin of the Rock after being in a total book slump. You know the kind I mean - you read book after book, but none of them seem to do it for you.

I found out about Finnikin of the Rock from GR, based on the reviews of some people whose opinions I really respect, and decided to give it a try. This was the first book by Ms. Marchetta that I'd ever read, so I had no author-based expectations going into this book.

Needless to say, like finding an oasis in a desert, after a long slump I finally came across a book that did it for me. With the exception of maybe the first two pages (non-stop italics make my eyes hurt and give me headaches), I was completely sucked in from the get-go.

The world-building was spectacular. No, it's not akin to anything you'd find in an epic fantasy, of course, but Finnikin and co. travel in their adventures so much that you really get a feel for the atmosphere. There are a lot of kingdoms, a lot of politics, and some social structures to keep track of.

As for the characters? I'm so impressed with how Marchetta could make me fall in love with so many characters.

And, let's not forget the story. Finnikin of the Rock is tagged as a YA, I think, but it's actually pretty dark. The events that led to Lumatere's demise, and the situation of the people still in Lumatere, as well as those exiled - well, none of it is for the faint of heart. But it just adds to the main characters' desperation as they strive to take back their homeland, and to even dare to hope that it's actually possible. Following them through this struggle led to the the enjoyment of action, adventure, romance, angst, and then some. Just thinking about it all makes me want to gush.

Also, the author throws in a bit of a twist at one point, and it was one that I completely didn't see coming. I'm not sure if I'm just really dumb, or if Marchetta is just really clever, because once everything was revealed it seemed so obvious! And I mean that as a compliment. After the reveal, I actually wanted to start over from the beginning to find all the hints that I may have clumsily trampled over, and have everything fall into place. I was so anxious to find out what happened next, though, that I resisted this temptation.

If I had one main gripe about Finnikin of the Rock, it would be that after the story's climax, I thought the book dragged a bit. In some ways, though, I didn't mind, just because (as with any good book) I didn't want it to end. But still, I personally would have preferred a cleaner and slightly more concise denouement.

And if I had one *mini* gripe about Finnikin of the Rock, it would be

when Finnikin kept saying somewhat too intense things at the end like, "I'd die for you!" Alright, calm down, Finn - you only have to say it once, we get it. Besides, a simple "I love you" would suffice and be a lot less off-putting.

(show spoiler)

So yes, the 5 stars I gave this book aren't because this book is perfect (but to be fair, it's pretty damn close), but in part because because I completely and absolutely loved it.