Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Literary Love Story: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

During my mini vacation from blogging I, well...

I fell in love.

I fell in love with the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.

Finnikin of the Rock, the first book in the trilogy, was suggested to me by the lovely Vanessa in the comments of my Hipster Book List. I happily took her advice and looked it up on Goodreads. So many raving reviews! I got it from the library and soon found myself completely and utterly taken. A true marker of my love is that I immediately bought my own copies. I am stingy, this a BIG DEAL.
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

Here is the synopsis of Finnikin:

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock—to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page

Marchetta writes the most believable, realistic fantasy I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I cried, I gasped, I laughed, I wept. I felt grief and joy and anger and hope and triumph. It was everything, everything.

I could gush for hours (the Goodreads reviews have some epic gushing, so go there if you want more!) but that would be self indulgent. So I have decided to concentrate my love. I asked myself these questions: what is it that I loved most about Marchetta's story telling? What elements do I want to include in my own writing?

1. Emotion. For me emotion is the hearts blood of any story. I can not get into a story if I am not emotionally invested, it is impossible. Marchetta had me going "Oh, Evanjlin!", "Oh, Finnikin!", "Oh, Froi!", etc. every few pages. This is a hard story to read, and I imagine it was a hard story to write. These characters feel so fiercely because of the pain they have been forced to bear and the hope they have chosen to keep alive. I truly ADMIRED these characters, I wanted to befriend them and help them and protect them. I am dedicated to them, I have an intense emotional attachment to them. This has only happened to me a handful of times before. Marchetta deserves applause for this.

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)

2. Redemption. Oh, boy, do I love redemption. Finnikin and Froi of the Exiles have redemption in spades. And I don't mean revenge or good conquering over evil. So many characters are perceived as bad or selfish or reckless or heartless. As a reader I was ashamed of their actions, their words, their beliefs. But Marchetta always turned that around. Here are two great quotes from Finnikin that reflect this:

"Everything is evil that humans can't control or conquer."

"There are worse things than a lie and there are better things than the truth!"

The ambiguity of "goodness" is a lesson I took away from these books. Everybody has a story, everybody has regrets and everybody has a reason for why they do things (and its not always logical). Thanks to Marchetta my belief in human goodness, kindness and perseverance has been reaffirmed. She deserves awards and bricks of gold for this.

3. Secrets. There is mystery in these books, even in the most unexpected places. Of course I don't want to give any of this away. But as a fervent reader I can see plot twists a mile away (the end of  Insurgent by Veronica Roth? Called that in the first book)...most of the time. I was honestly shocked in both of these books. Marchetta fooled me many, many times. She deserves her own castle or small country for this.

My goal is to make every person who reads this go out and read these books. They have shot to the tippy top of my favorite list, without a doubt. Trust me, guys, you will not regret it!

Quintana of Charyn, the highly awaited third book, isn't released in the US until March 2013. However it is coming out in Australia in late September. For the first time ever I am going to hand over as much money as necessary to get a foreign edition of a book. I am as DEVOTED to this series as I have ever been to any book.

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)

Are you enticed to read the Lumatere Chronicles? Have you ever had such a strong affective response to a book or series?


  1. Wow, great praise! Sounds like a great series!

  2. Hey Megan
    Oh thanks so much for this review. I bought Finnikin of the Rock like two months ago. I heard this series is addictive, so I've been hesitant, waiting until I have all three. this review has me thinking I'll be diving in sooner..:D So glad you fell in lvoe with the book!
    New follower.

    1. Hey Cecilia! I strongly encourage you not to put off reading Finnikin any longer. I'll admit I'm kind of dying to read the third one but if Finnikin had been a stand alone (and for a little while I really thought it was) I would be fine. Froi has some major cliffhangers but we just have to put on our big girl pants and put up with the wait ;D

  3. WOOOHOOO! Lumatere Fan Club unite! :P

    And can you believe that FINNIKIN was the first time Marchetta tried her hand at writing fantasy? I AM SO GLAD SHE DID! She's so much better at it than a lot of writers who have spent years writing only that. She's brilliant!

    I'm still really glad you decided to check it out after I mentioned it! AND that you bought copies! (They are definitely books that will be read and reread over and over! And that doesn't happen too often for me.)

    1. OH MY GOD we need to make this fan club a real thing!!!

      Marchetta is seriously my all time favorite "high", traditional fantasy.

      It was so funny, my copies took forever to come because of the holiday. I almost had a fit! And when they did come I screamed and kissed them and was all "My preciooouuuussss"

      I only re-read my absolute favorites too (and I'm considering re-reading them like yesterday :P)

  4. YES! More people appreciating Melina Marchetta's awesomeness!! :D
    Normally, I'd mention her name to my friends/family and they'd be like, "Who??" to which I would facepalm...
    But OH MY GOODNESS this series is AMAZING!!!
    I'm planning on posting my review of Froi tomorrow, but let me tell you, that book gave me SO MANY FEELS.
    I would give Melina Marchetta my firstborn for an australian copy of Quintana...

  5. Hey Joie, thanks so much for stopping by!

    Whenever I encounter someone who has loved these books as much as me I feel like I have come in contact with a kindred soul :)

    Don't give up your first born child! Just fork over extra money for that aussie copy, I have the link above.