Finnikin of the Rock
by Marchetta, Melina






Finnikin reluctantly joins forces against the imposter who has ruled Lumatere for years with an enigmatic young novice who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne.





Melina Marchetta is the acclaimed and award-winning author of JELLICOE ROAD, the Michael L. Printz Award winner, SAVING FRANCESCA, and LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI. She lives in Australia, where FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, her first fantasy novel, won an Aurealis Award.





*Starred Review* In her latest title, Marchetta, author of the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award winner, Jellicoe Road, steps deftly into the fantasy genre. Ten years before the story's start, assassins crept into the kingdom of Lumatere and murdered the royal family, with the possible exception of Balthazar, heir to the throne. As rumors circulated that Balthazar survived, a mystic cast a curse that created a magical barrier around the kingdom and prevented thousands who had fled from returning. Marchetta focuses her tale on 19-year-old Finnikin, the son of a former royal guard, who is serving in exile as an apprentice to Sir Topher, a former advisor to the murdered king. While aiding refugees, they meet a young novice who can enter others' dreams and claims that Balthazar has chosen Finnikin to "take his people home." As Finnikin gathers forces to return to the kingdom, intrigue and double-dealing ensue. The skillful world building includes just enough detail to create a vivid sense of place, and Marchetta maintains suspense with unexpected story arcs. It is the achingly real characters, though, and the relationships that emerge through the captivating dialogue that drive the story. Filled with questions about the impact of exile and the human need to belong, this standout fantasy quickly reveals that its real magic lies in its accomplished writing. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.





Cursed by a dying wise woman, the land of Lumatere waits for its lost heir to open the walled gates and free the population from a depraved and predatory usurper who killed their royal family. Finnikin of the Rock, his mentor Sir Topher and the mysterious novice Evanjalin trek through a variety of kingdoms (two maps are included, for which readers will be grateful) freeing exiled leaders and accumulating an army. Standard fantasy characters people this book, but they develop in surprising, non-stock ways. Finnikin, the hero, surprises with contradictions: A linguist, a scholar and a sometime diplomat, he's also warrior, leader and barely reformed hothead. Although it's a long story, fantasy readers will enjoy the rousing and complex plot, filled with political intrigue and frequent red herrings and dotted with abductions, arrests and close escapes from a variety of dangers. Buy it for lovers of Marchetta's school stories, but its true audience is readers of fantasies like Kristin Cashore's Graceling (2008) and Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series. (Fantasy. 14 & up)  Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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