Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Title: Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Pages: 608
Publisher: Viking Australia
Release Date: October 3, 2011
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.

Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, from the internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road and The Piper's Son.

My Thoughts: It's been about two days since I finished this book, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. All I've been doing is skimming through the entire book and rereading my favorite parts and coming up with theories on how Melina Marchetta is going to resolve everything. When I started it, I stayed up really late the first day because I just could not put it down! It's definitely the fastest I've read through a Melina Marchetta novel. I can't say that taking my time and savoring it ever crossed my mind. EVER. There was no way I would have been able to do that. It was my most anticipated novel for 2011! And usually when I really love a book, I can't keep my mouth shut about it on GoodReads. But I'm glad I've managed to pretty much stay quiet about this book, even only for a little bit, so that I can go back and savor it this time and figure out what I want to say in this review.

Froi of the Exiles was as epic as Finnikin of the Rock but a whole different experience! It's HUGE. Not only does it come in at about 600 pages, but I felt like the story was even bigger because of the fact that Froi of the Exiles is from more than just Froi's perspective. There was a nice balance of chapters from other characters such as Beatriss, Finnikin, Lucian, Lucian's wife Phaedra...and we get a lot more characters through them. It was so great catching up with the characters from FotR (what happened with some of them exceeded everything I ever imagined and made me very happy!) and getting to know the new characters in FotE. I honestly could not decide who I wanted to read more about. Always at the end of each chapter I would start thinking: 'Noo! Chapter, don't end! I want to read more about [insert character's name here]!' But then I would start the next chapter and, by the time I was done with that one, I would think, 'Noo! Chapter, don't end! I want to read more about [insert character's name here]!' That's basically how it went for me throughout the majority of the book.

There are so many characters and relationships I would love to talk about... But I'll have to stick with a few because I don't want to end up giving spoilers.
  • Froi and Quintana: These two have some of the most heartbreaking stories in the book. I wanted to hug and comfort them both. Froi has changed so much since he first appeared in FotR. He's such a great person and proves himself over and over again. Even through all the ridicule and trauma she's had to endure from her people, Quintana continues to do whatever she can to protect her country of Charyn. I really admired their strength. Both Froi and Quinanta want to feel worthy, respected, and loved. There is a romance between them, and I have to say it wasn't easy. Neither has experience with romance, and it didn't help that Froi didn't trust himself at first and Quintana didn't trust Froi. I loved reading about them and their developing relationship, and the way the book ended...let's just say I'm really rooting for them!
  • Finnikin and Isaboe / Beatriss and Trevanion: Squee! That's all I'm going to say.
  • Lucian and Phaedra: I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about reading from their perspectives. Phaedra's a new character, and while Lucian was in the previous book, I didn't really know his character. I thought it would take some time for me to warm up to them, but that wasn't the case! Both ended up being favorite characters of mine. Even though I wanted to slap Lucian in the beginning for the way he treated her, I came to understand why Lucian acted harshly and why Phaedra felt worthless. (I admit I was swooning a bit over Lucian... There's just something about him.)
  • Rafuel: I had to give a quick mention to this character! This guy is cool. I really hope I'm not wrong about him, and I kind of hope he appears more in the next book.

US cover
Now, the cliffhanger. I didn't think it was a mean way to end the novel. Cliffhangers really don't bother me. They just get me even more excited for the next book. The last couple of chapters were pretty devastating when it came to certain characters. It was so sad! But having the epilogue actually made me feel a bit relieved for the most part, since at least I got to know what was going on with those characters before it ended. Plus, so much happened in the book, and there's many things left to be resolved that I don't believe the story would have been nearly as great if it the ending was rushed to make it feel like it had complete closure. And I loved where Finnikin of the Rock ended, but if I hadn't read Melina Marchetta's blog interviews or her website after finishing that book, I would've had no idea there was a sequel on the way. There would have been less time for me to get anxious and excited and fully prepared for FotE! And the fact that there's a cliffhanger means I can look forward to MORE, which makes me extremely happy.

Everything you expect from a Melina Marchetta novel can be found in Froi of the Exiles. It was amazing, and I loved it! If you haven't even read Finnikin of the Rock, what are you waiting for? I'm so looking forward to Quintana of Charyn, but I'm wondering how Melina Marchetta is going to top FotE! My theories as to what'll happen next haven't gone far... Good thing the next book is only about a year away from being released! Cannot wait!

Finally, big shout-out to Joy @ Joyous Reads for letting me borrow her copy! THANK YOU! Be sure to read her awesome review of this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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