Finnikin eclipsed by Froi of the Exiles

Froi of the Exiles (The Lumatere Chronicles, Book 2) by Melina Marchetta; published by Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2011 (2012 first U.S. publication); 593 pages.

Three years after coming to Lumatere, Froi has pledged his bond to Isaboe and Finnikin.  Refugees from Charyn are amassing on Lumatere’s border.  In an attempt to prevent another imposter king from taking over their beloved homeland, Froi is sent to Charyn as an assassin spy to kill their king.  Pretending to be Olivier, a “last born” consort of the king’s mad daughter Quintana, Froi learns that things are not always as they seem.

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged a review.  This book, and the book reviewed in the next post, are the reasons.  I’ve needed time to process what I’ve read.  Oh, but don’t let that comment, or the length of the book, prevent you from reading Froi of the Exiles!!!  You’ll miss one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Marchetta’s ability to weave a story has grown exponentially as this book exemplifies.  Finnikin may have been the narrator of Finnikin of the Rock but it was really Isaboe’s story.  So it is with Froi of the Exiles: Froi is the narrator, but this is purely Quintana’s story.  Subplots involve the stories of characters we were introduced to in the first book of The Lumatere Chronicles.  Through them all we get a view of the tragedies of war from multiple perspectives.  We are also reminded that there are always at least two sides in every war.  Is Lumatere completely without blame in their battles with Charyn?  Is Charyn the breeding ground of everything evil or could there be enlightened citizens there?  Many of these questions could be explored in real life current events.

I was most affected by Marchetta’s exploration of corruption in many forms (political, spiritual and personal) and the subsequent ripple affect.  At times, her subject matter was very difficult to read.  She was restrained in her descriptions and left much to the imagination; so for me (as an adult), the abuse of women was thought provoking and disturbing.  For teens, or young adults, the subject matter is delicately handled but might need to be discussed with younger teens.  In my opinion, this book puts Marchetta on the cusp of young adult vs. adult author.

Read. This. Book.  In my experience, reading Finnikin of the Rock, the first book in The Lumatere Chronicles, is mandatory.  The first few chapters of Froi of the Exiles will offer subtle reminders of the first book (a nice refresher asit’s been awhile since I read Finnikin) and help establish the direction of Froi’s story.  Marchetta’s ability to describe setting is at its best in this book as well and takes up much of the detail in the first third of the book.  Infrequent pauses in Froi’s story are offered in chapters which relate the experiences of certain Monts and Lumaterans which help drive the theme.  By about the middle of the book, I was on a slippery slope of reading without sleep as I desperately needed to know how the story ends for all of the characters.  Alas, the cliffhangers are breathtaking and demand resolution.  But the next installment is not due to be released until October, and that’s just the Australian release; we’re talking 2013 in the U.S.  I need the third book, Quintana of Charyn, and I need it NOW.  Anyone know how I can get my hands on a coveted ARC of this?  Anyone in Australia willing to mail me a copy in October?  Please?  Please?  Please?

Is it possible for a companion novel to be considered for the Printz award?  I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here predicting that Froi of the Exiles will be considered for multiple awards in 2012.

4P     5Q     Grade Level: 11 and up

Cover Art: I was slightly repulsed by Froi’s face–his eyes are too creepy, too corrupt.  But that’s how he is described by those in Lumatere and Charyn alike.  And once again, one shouldn’t judge a person by appearances.  The medieval looking sword and tumultuous sky together with Froi’s visage are intriguing.  Fans of the genre will be intrigued.

From Reading List: The Way It Could Be (Science Fiction or Fantasy)

RSS Braingle’s Teasers

  • Today's Daily Brain Teaser (Aug 21, 2017)
    Missing Word 14 A 3-letter-word has been taken out of each of the following words. Can you figure it out? G_ _ _E T_ _ _OD C_ _ _PLE _ _ _ ARIAN Check Braingle.com for the answer.