25 October 2012

Froi of the Exiles

Author: Melina Marchetta 
Series: The Chronicles of Lumatere # 2
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Viking Australia
Released: 3 October 2011
Summary: courtesy of goodreads.com 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 trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.
And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, from the internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road and The Piper's Son.
My Review: Froi of the Exiles, as I said in my Finnikin review was one of my favorite fantasy novels.  Yes, it is high fantasy, no I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but even if I did, I’m pretty sure Froi would be at the top of my “I love it” list.  Froi is such a deliciously tortured character that I could not get enough.  I couldn’t believe that the annoying little thief from Finnikin grew into such an amazing multi-dimensional character.  And don’t even get me started on Quintana.  Now, I’ll admit after reading some reviews I was a little nervous about the heavy subject material, and the fact that Quintana is half-mad definitely did NOT add to the “I’m enticing! read-me” factor of this novel, but it is Marchetta, and I am weak.   I will admit that Quintana took a LOT of getting used too, I think it was the first time in reading a novel where I was kind of afraid of the character.  I mean, it’s hard to be afraid of villains because they’re so, well, villainous, but with characters that are pretty much crazy like Quintana, where you literally don’t know what they’ll do from paragraph to paragraph kind of freaked me out a little bit.
Not that she isn’t a fantastic well-rounded character, but that she was a little bit harder for me to understand than most of Marchetta’s characters, but slowly I grew pretty attached to her and her strange ways.  I loved the rock kingdom of Charyn and how well Froi fit in there, it was really fun to see him fall into place so easily somewhere, and I liked that Marchetta didn’t waste a ton of time explaining how much different Charyn was from Lumatere.  Obviously as a reader you KNOW they’re different, you know?  I mean, the names say it all.
The other thing that really trumped Finnikin in this one was the curse.  The curse in Froi was a lot more intricate, and, it seemed, more thought out, more detailed, just plain MORE.  I loved it.  I love that Marchetta took me on a ride with these characters, I enjoyed the pacing, I enjoyed the way that the characters acted with each other, and I loved all of the new characters that were introduced.  Not that I don’t love Sir Topher, Finnikin, Isaboe, and every one else in Lumatere, but it was nice to see both sides.  That is something I feel like Marchetta does exceptionally well (as in: I have never had another author be this captivating) she makes me want to read the entire thing, all the different points of view, and I never want to skip.  This is strange for me with multiple viewpoints peeps! I ALWAYS want to skip.  I ALWAYS identify with one character more than the other, but not with her for some reason.  I will warn you, Froi left me exhausted, like running a book-marathon, and I’ve actually taken a little breather before beginning Quintana.  I do feel like all three novels fit together wonderfully, and as far as the first “official” series from Marchetta this is definitely one of my favorites because it doesn’t read like a series, Marchetta has put thought into every word, into every plot twist, into every single bit of this novel.  Froi didn’t feel like a filler (thank heavens!).  I will give this review with one warning: If you were worried, or you felt like Finnikin was a little bit darker than you would have liked, do NOT read Froi.  Froi takes the darkness in Finnikin to an entirely new level.   The major themes and scenes in Froi are incredibly dark, and to be honest, although I was on the fence with Finnikin being a “Young Adult” book (somewhere between YA and Adult Fiction) Froi definitely falls into the “Adult Fiction” category.  There are a lot of mature elements and themes here, so consider yourself warned. (PS Froi reminds me a little bit of Tom Mackee…anyone else?)

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