Title: Finnikin of the Rock
Author: Melina Marchetta
Page Count: 416 pages
Summary: At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere.
And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe.
Until the 'five days of the unspeakable', when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne.
And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps.
But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of light...
Review: I loved this book so much. Like with Jellicoe Road, it took me a while to get into the story, especially since when I read fantasy, I hardly ever pay attention to the politics of it. But you definitely have to pay attention to the politics in this book, because it is without the epic magic you are used to in fantasy. But it grew on me and by the time I was done, I didn't want it to be over. I wanted to keep reading about Evanjalin and Finnikin - both of whom I loved as characters. I think that's one of Marchetta's strong points: the characters. They're just so deep and their motivations are so strong. Argh, I can't even put it into words.
The only thing I didn't love about this book - AND THIS IS A SPOILER - is that, at the end, when it is revealed who Evanjalin actually is, she becomes some kind of saint. I know it is because they hold her in th highest respect and because Finnikin is hopelessly in love with her, but it just seemed forced, because throughout the entire book, she has definitely had her flaws. It just seemed stupid to take that away.
Other than that, though, I loved Finnikin of the Rock. It's not one of those books that I could speed through and still get everything that I wanted out of it. It was like a flower - it slowly opens itself up to you, little by little, until you don't even realize how entranced you are by it.
I would definitely recommend this book.
Overall: 5/5 stars