February 16, 2013

Lumatere Chronicles Read-along: Finnikin of the Rock, Weeks 1 + 2

(For more about the read-along, click here!)

I cannot tell you guys how excited I am to finally, finally be reading The Lumatere Chronicles! It's been a long time coming, especially since I (a) love Melina Marchetta's writing and (b) am a sucker for high fantasy. I'm enjoying my time with Finnikin of the Rock so far, and I can't wait to keep on going!

I missed out on posting my answers to last week's questions, so I've decided to do a two-fer this week and include them in my post. I'll also be posting my answers to this week's set of questions! As always, many thanks to the amazing Hannah, who is hosting the read-along.

1. Does anyone else LOVE having a map in the front of the book? 

I’m a sucker for a good map. I absolutely adored the fact that there was a map at the beginning of the book. It helped me place the story better visually, and I totally felt like an insider that could navigate because of it. 

2. Who is your favorite character so far? 

My favorite character, at the moment, happens to be Evanjalin. I admire her bravery, intelligence, wit and determination; I also think she chooses… interesting methods to make things happen. All in all, I thought she was very intriguing, and I absolutely cannot wait to discover more about her. 

3. Does standing by and allowing the murder and torture of innocent people make the Lumaterans complicit in their deaths? Or is the horror of them standing by silently, likely out a mixture of fear and self-preservation, somewhat lessened by those very reasons? 

Oh, this is a tough question to answer! I really did not know how to feel about this part of the book. On the one hand, I would think that having grown up with these people and known them, the others should have done their best to defend them and keep them from harm. But on the other hand, I felt like I would lack the courage to stand up for them because the fear of torture or death would cloud my mind. It’s such a difficult, heartbreaking choice – and of course, either way, it wouldn’t have ended well. 

4. Did you fall in love with Evanjalin when she showed off her badass fighting skills? 

I totally did! I was initially unsure of how I felt about Evanjalin, but when she spoke for the first time, I knew I was going to like her. And, other than that, she's got insane fighting skills - which is always interesting to me, because I love a kick-butt heroine! Girl's definitely got game.

5. Who loved the scene with Evanjalin and Finnikin shouting from the rocks? 

I loved this! I feel like it was a powerful way for both characters to reaffirm who they were, even in the midst of the struggle they were facing. It also served as a powerful reminder that there’s something important to be taken from knowing who you are and where you’re from. 

(Plus, it kind of made me want to find a rock in Central Park to climb up on and do the same.) 

6. What did you think about the scene with Froi trying to force himself on Evanjalin? 

I was so angry! No one, especially a defenseless young woman, deserves to be treated that way by anyone. It doesn’t matter what sort of circumstances you lived through, that’s still abominable. However, like Hannah, I’m curious to see what happens next, since Froi happens to be main focus of the following book. 

7. Were you struck by Evanjalin's comments to Finnikin about honoring the living (in reference to the Book of Lumatere)? 

I loved this quite a bit, as I’ve always believed in something similar. Honor the dead and the past, yes, but it’s also important to fight for and honor the ones who are still living. They represent the future, what is to come and what could be – and honoring that is very important. 

8. Did you find it interesting that Marchetta included the information about Finnkin spending time with the prostitute? 

I didn’t expect to see that in the book, if I’m being honest, so it kind of shocked me. I’m not sure what to think about it. Perhaps it was Marchetta’s way of showing us Finnikin’s character, as well as highlighting Evanjalin’s feelings towards Finnikin. 

9. What do you think about Sir Topher and Finnikin's conversation about hope? 

This was one of the moments where I wanted to raise a fist in solidarity. I thought it was a very strong moment, one where we see Finnikin experience a real turning point. I honestly feel like he grew up a lot in that moment! 

10. Did you feel a little weepy inside when Evanjalin told Captain Trevanion that Beatriss remembers what he whispered to her? 

Oh my goodness, just thinking about Captain Trevanion and Beatriss makes me want to cry. They’re definitely one of my favorite parts of this story! I think it was so, so sweet and entirely emotional when Evanjalin mentions this. I remember just clutching my iPad and sighing, hoping fervently that Trevanion and Beatriss would be reunited…

1. In the first chapter of this week's reading, there is a line about how it was "as if [Evanjalin] could barely raise her head from the demons that weighed her down" (135). How did you feel about what we learned this week about her past?

Honestly, Evanjalin has been through so, so much in the short span of her lifetime. I think it's incredible how she's managed to become this strong, determined person. I love that she appears to be courageous and strong when she needs to be, but that she also knows how to tap into her vulnerable side. It made me want to protect her from all these horrible things, but I also wanted to cheer her on for what she managed to accomplish.

2. Trevanion describes Perri and Tessadora as "victims of hate" when he tells the story about them. Did that strike you as also being an accurate description for Froi and Evanjalin?

I think, in a way, that also seems like a fitting way to talk about Froi and Evanjalin. Growing up with hate being a strong part of your life definitely changes who you are as a person - and it clearly leaves a mark. It's interesting to think about the characters we end up not liking because they are almost always victims of what other people did to them.

3. What do you think about the idea of the blood curse? And about what might be taking place back in Lumatere since, as Trevanion points out to Finnikin, Evanjalin omits the information about why the deaths are being faked in the first place?

Honestly, the blood curse seemed extra creepy to me when it was first mentioned. Thinking about it made me highly uncomfortable, and I was suddenly imagining how horrible it could be within Lumatere. Blood, as an element, seems to raise the stakes - and it makes me think that something could be sorely wrong with this place. I'm still curious about what's going on, but it definitely feels like something is off...

4. Was I the only person who thought Evanjalin seemed to be running a little hot and cold this week depending on the scene?

There were certainly moments when I found it hard to really like Evanjalin, because this time around she really got on my nerves for some reason. I really tried to be understanding though, considering the circumstances. But her elusiveness, and her reactions, sometimes made me want to shake her so, so bad!

5. How do you feel about Perri? 

I actually really liked Perri! He struck me as that gruff sort of man with a heart of gold underneath. I love how Trevanion was able to see beneath the bluster and the intimidating personality, and to see someone who would do everything he could to protect Finnikin. I can't wait to learn more about him and his story!

6. What did you think of the scene where Evanjalin asks Finnikin if he fears that he's "stolen their life" in regards to the royal children?

My first instinct was to react defensively on Finnikin's behalf, but then I realized that Evanjalin did manage to make him confront something that had been bothering him for a long time. I totally felt for him when I realized the guilt he was dealing with - for the people of Lumatere and most especially for the royal children, who just so happened to be his friends.

7. Did anyone else underline Evanjalin's words to Finnikin about leading with your head and your heart?

Yes! I've actually underlined a few things in this book, but this is probably one of my favorites. This is an important lesson for Finnikin to remember. I love how Evanjalin stresses that both are qualities required in a good leader. It's so subtly said, but it's so, so true.

8. What did you think of Evanjalin's speech to the exiles when she tries to convince them to leave?

Her passion and her conviction definitely came through in this particular moment. I thought it was very brave her to say such a thing! I mean, who is she to tell them that kind of thing? But she took a bold step, I'd say, and I'd wager that it might actually pay off at some point.


  1. Part One:

    1. So glad I'm not the only person who appreciated the map at the beginning! I agree that it totally makes you feel like an insider, right from the beginning.

    2. Totally agree that Evanjalin is such an interesting character! There is so much going on with her, and I definitely love how layered she is. She's not just brave, she's scared sometimes, too. She's not just smart, sometimes she tells dumb lies or is evasive. You know what I mean? I love her complexity!

    3. I think you're right about wanting to stand up for the people but letting fear make that a more difficult decision. I want to think that I wouldn't just sit by silently, but I know that fear of torture or death would make it hard for me not to just keep quite.

    4. Yes, girl definitely has game!

    5. YES TO THIS --> "there’s something important to be taken from knowing who you are and where you’re from."

    6. Now that I've read further, I'm really interested in seeing what everyone thinks of Froi now!

    7. This is just such a poetic sentence: "They represent the future, what is to come and what could be – and honoring that is very important." Wow, Alexa! I totally agree that it's so important to invest in those who will have an impact on our future.

    8. It shocked me, too! Completely. I do agree that it helped highlight E's feelings for Finnikin, as well as show that he's flawed like anyone else.

    9. I think Finnikin grew up a lot in that moment, too. It was definitely a solidarity fist pump type situation!

    10. <3<3<3

  2. Part Two:

    1. I think it's so interesting how Evanjalin can either play up the whole vulnerable/wounded side or the strong/warrior side depending on the situation. She definitely knows how to manipulate, but I don't say that in a bad way. I mean it more in the way that she knows how to act in order to get what she wants!

    2. I love getting to see Evanjalin and Froi move from victims to survivors. I think you see that even more in this week's reading!

    3. YES! Something definitely seems off about this whole thing. So creepy! Although the men getting so uncomfortable was kind of hilarious.

    4. I agree that she got on my nerves a little more in this week's reading! It was strange because I loved her in week one and then it was like... Um, you're kind of annoying me. Haha!

    5. YES YES YES to heart of gold! Totally thought the same thing!

    6. I liked that Evanjalin was able to get Finnikin to confront something that he was dealing with in secret. It made me feel like she knows him and is able to see into his who is and I love that :)

    7. BOTH really are so important - love that Marchetta points it out!

    8. Conviction - SUCH a good word to use for this scene! That's exactly what it was. She was completely and totally rallying the troops and it was AMAZINGGGG.

    PS - So glad you're participating! Love hearing your thoughts, Alexa.


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)