Monday, April 29, 2013

Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta

[Please note that this is the second book of the series. While this review is mostly spoiler free, perhaps you'd like to read my review of Finnikin of the Rock (Book 1) instead.]

Froi of the Exiles book cover
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Series: The Lumatere Chronicles #2
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

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 taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood ... and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen. (from Goodreads)

Don't you love it when the second book in a series you've started is even better than the first one? That happened for me with Froi of the Exiles, the second book of The Lumatere Chronicles. It certainly has something to do with the fact that I was already invested in the characters and their world after reading Finnikin of the Rock. But, more than that, it was the fact that the novel boasted an epic adventure that I had the hardest time putting down for breaks.

Right off the bat, I was pleased with the fact that it is a story we experience through Froi's eyes. His character was very fascinating in the first book, and his story just furthered my appreciation for him. There were still a few qualities that remained from when he first appears in Finnikin, such as his temper and his impulsiveness. However, thanks to his life in Lumatere, he possesses a bit more maturity, control and discipline when it comes to his actions. His loyalty to his king, queen and the guard was unparalleled, and the fact that he really persisted in keeping his bond was testament to that. What really got to me in this book though, was the fact that Froi demonstrated quite a bit of compassion and unselfishness, even when it came to the Charynites.

I won't say too much about Quintana here, as I'm sure I'll have more to talk about after I read the third book. But she struck me as a strange, complex, cursed character. It was really confusing to first meet her, but upon learning more about her and her situation, my heart just really went out to her. That's quite a burden for anyone to have to deal with, and I'm dying to see how it all plays out.

As with Finnikin, the secondary characters also get a chance to shine. While it was a pleasure to revisit Isaboe, Finnikin, Tesadora, Perri, Beatriss and Trevanion, my favorite characters from this time around were Lucian and Phaedra. They begin the book completely misunderstanding each other, but to watch how their relationship develops over time was pretty wonderful and heartbreaking.

While I loved the characters, the story was definitely the reason I gave this one a 5 star rating on Goodreads. Unlike Finnikin, it was jam-packed with action, reflection and interactions and I loved that. The story is intense, fraught with revelations that made me drop my jaw and moments that had me holding my breath. While we mostly follow Froi's experience in Charyn, we're also given little glimpses of the others: Finnikin, Isaboe dealing with things in Lumatere, Beatriss dealing with the problems of her people and Lucian dealing with the Monts and the Charynites seeking refuge. Though this could have potentially been confusing, it was  easy to follow and not lose track of the story for each character.

I got so swept up in the story that the ending of Froi of the Exiles nearly killed me with how much of a cliffhanger it is. Unlike Finnikin, which felt resolved at the end, there was still a lot hanging in the balance at the ending of this book. I can't imagine how it must have felt for the people who read this when it first came out and had to wait for Quintana because just the idea of having to wait makes me squirm. There are so many unanswered questions - and I'm so glad that I don't have to wait since Quintana is releasing in the USA today!

Froi of the Exiles was obviously an excellent follow-up to Finnikin of the Rock. I loved it a whole lot, especially because it was reminiscent of fantasies I've read and loved before. I loved getting to know the characters from Finnikin a lot better, as well as meeting the new characters. I loved exploring Charyn, which sounds like a place that's foreign and strange and very, very interesting. I loved, most of all, the twists and turns of this story and how Marchetta seems to have carefully fixed everything into place  for this tale. This is such a wonderful fantasy novel, and I'm eager and nervous to read Quintana of Charyn.

(If you're a fantasy lover and haven't started this series yet, please do. And if you've started it, but haven't read Froi of the Exiles, please do. Based on my gushing in this review, I'm sure you can tell that I'd totally recommend this series.)

6 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to read Finnikin of the Rock but I'm also hesitant because fantasy and me so rarely get along. BUT everyone loves it SO MUCH that it's like peer pressure or something. Like unintentional peer pressure! All the cool kids are reading it! bahaha. Anyways I'm glad the sequel was awesome as well it sounds like it lives up to expectations! It also sounds very character oriented which is definitely a good sign for me! Great review, dollface! <3

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    1. I think, in all honesty, you will have difficulty getting into Finnikin of the Rock. It's a good, solid fantasy, but it's also slower and a bit more tedious than I'm used to. However, because I love fantasy and I love Melina Marchetta, I found myself readjusting and loving it a couple of chapters in.

      Froi of the Exiles, however, is another story. It's a PHENOMENAL sequel!

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  2. I am so glad you loved this! I preferred it to FotR, too! It was really great to already be familiar with the world and characters and I really liked seeing Froi grow.

    I can't wait for you to read Quintana!

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    1. I am so, so excited to read Quintana! Well, I'm torn between excitement and nervousness. There's a lot at stake at the end of Froi, and I can't stand the thought of anything even more awful happening to the characters I love!

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  3. Ah!! I totally know what you mean about the ending of Froi being a killer if we hadn't have read it as close to Quintana as we did. I had a few issues with Froi, but if I hadn't been able to look at it and Quintana as one whole story, it would have driven me mad! Together, I really enjoyed them, I can't wait for you to read it, ESPECIALLY since you gave Froi 5 stars.

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  4. The ending of this really was a killer! I was SO happy that I had Quintana ready and waiting for me to dive in - I can't imagine having to wait months and months to find out how everything ends. I can't wait for you to get to the last book because I have a feeling you'll really love it.

    I'm so glad you read these along with me - and I loved getting to hear your reactions to everything along the way! And I completely agree about this one being even better than Finnikin. The best part for me was that Quintana was my favorite of them all :)

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