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I Belong

Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Title: Froi of the Exiles

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Lumatere Chronicles (Book 2)

Publication Date: March 13, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 596 Pages

ISBN-10: 0763647594 (Candlewick Press)

ISBN-13: 978-0763647599 (Candlewick Press)

Reviewed by: Michelle


Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home… Or so he believes…

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Quick & Dirty: Marchetta does it again with superb characterization and a wonderful world, filled with curses, mystery, and at the very bottom, love.

Opening Sentence: They call her Quintana the cursemaker.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Melina Marchetta is one of my top 5 favorite authors. If it weren’t for a few nostalgia/growing up loyalty reasons, she would probably be my favorite author. With Froi of the Exiles, the follow-up story to Finnikin of the Rock, I saw the depth of emotion and turmoil that Marchetta brought me to. I saw more of her talent that I never knew existed. And, above all else, I learned more about a world that I desperately wish existed.

In continuation with the Lumatere Chronicles, Froi of the Exiles brings us several years after the end of Finnikin of the Rock. Isaboe is finding her place as a Queen, and Finnikin as the Queen’s consort. Froi has grown into a young man, filled with all the teachings and morals that the Lumaterians have to offer. There is a mission, and Froi is the man for the job. He must travel to Charyn and act as a spy. In doing so, he finds out more about himself than he has ever before. He befriends and begins to love, forgetting about his original vows. In the end, Froi must decide where his loyalties lie and who he will have to betray.

Froi wasn’t someone who I immediately connected with, in Finnikin of the Rock. I was hesitant to accept him as a part of a cast that I was already so in love with. But Froi surprised me so much in this book. He matured into this young man with intense personal thought and deep emotional feelings. I respected his actions, and through them I understood who he is and who he will become to be. Froi was a great hero. He really showed me perseverance and determination, all while struggling with his own emotions and conscience. I love him.

The characterization is superb. There are very few who develop and nurture characters as well as Marchetta does. I was perplexed with how Marchetta managed to reveal plots like layers of onions. Each word wasn’t written without purpose and meaning, and it was all flawlessly done in a cohesive way. Marchetta brought these characters to darkness. I know that the theme of Finnikin was a little dark also, but with Froi of the Exiles, she really brought out the evil and creepy.

Lumatere and its neighboring lands are more than just words on a page. For me, Marchetta did more than just develop these places for the imagination. Instead, she created a world to be lived in. Each place, each tree, and each ounce of air was a part of an amazing imaginary experience. It was realistic and memorable, making a mark in my imaginary world map. How can I not love Charyn? It has its own magic and appeal, and with the time spent there, it erased all of my preconceived notions and took away all the pain that I felt from Finnikin.

Froi of the Exiles is written in a third person perspective, and it was perfect for the story. Marchetta tells the tale through the eyes of each character so seamlessly that I almost didn’t notice the switch. There is an exciting thrill factor that I anticipated with each passing sentence. This fantasy structured story wowed me. I love the writing. It’s like her words are like friends, telling you a familiar tale that has been told before.

Marchetta is a literary genius. When I read one of her stories, they really last in your memories. I’ve had Froi on my mind for a week now, and I don’t think this is going away any time soon. I’ve read Finnikin several times now, and I’m sure that will be the same for Froi of the Exiles. I highly urge you to read Froi, Finnikin, and the Lumatere Chronicles. You really won’t regret it.

Notable Scene:

Finnikin rubbed his eyes, shaking his head. After a moment he said, ‘A sad tale, Charynite, but I still don’t understand why you’re here.’

‘Because you have a lad who speaks our language, who is of the same age as a lastborn, and who is not so useless. More importantly, he is trained as an assassin.’ Rafuel’s eyes caught Froi’s. ‘Yes?’

No one spoke. Froi stiffened, his eyes locked with the Charynite’s. Froi could see the man was hiding something. He had been trained to notice the signs.

‘Gentlemen, your kingdom or mine could not have asked for a more perfect weapon to rid ourselves of this most base of kings. Your lad from the Flatlands is our only hope.’

The Lumatere Chronicles:

1. Finnikin of the Rock

2. Froi of the Exiles

3. Quintana of the Charyn (March 12, 2013)

FTC Advisory: I purchased this copy of Froi of the Exiles.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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