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on 24 June 2012
I stumbled by this book at my library - and I'm truly truly glad that I did, because this book turned out to be one of my favorite fantasy book. It is beautiful, dark, funny, romantic, and simply utterly magical. I loved the plot, the character building and the atmosphere of the book. A truly gorgeous read, and if you end up liking it half as much as I did, you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
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on 17 June 2014
“There are worse things than a lie and there are better things than the truth!”

I think what surprised me the most in this book is its worldly, grown-up sadness. Maybe this is what it means to be an exile from the country torn in half by a curse and treachery? You grow up looking into the dull eyes of starving children and desperately learn all the languages you can to plead with the rulers of the country where the refugees are in need of urgent help... which is what Finnikin has been doing since he was a twelve year-old boy.

Finnikin travels through the lands neighbouring Lumatere - his country which seized to exist ten years ago - trying to help the refugees to survive in exile as The King's First Man in training. There is a prophecy alive which might end the curse and save Lumatere, and Evanjalin is the girl who knows what to do with it. A girl, who leads a team of men through danger, battles, adventure, self-search and sacrifice.

Evanjalin and Finnikin are complex, bitter, stubborn and ever so interesting characters. There is depth here, sarcasm, weariness and resolute will to fight till the end.

“She bewitches you," Trevanion said. "And she is yours for the taking. Any fool can see that. So take her and get whatever needs to be gotten out of your system."
...
"Maybe you are right, Trevanion," he said, turning back to his father. "But it is her hope that bewitches me, and that hope I may never get out of my system, no matter how many times she's to be gotten. Can you not see it burning in her eyes? Does it not make you want to look away when you have none to give in return? Her hope fills me with... something other than this dull weight I wake with each morning.”

The same goes for wise Sir Topher, grieving Trevanyon and feral Froi. I loved them all, and I really enjoyed this superb fantasy. Don't get thrown by YA label - this is a violent, dark, realistic and chilling story. Highly recommended.
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on 21 September 2013
Wow guys. Wow. Honestly, this book is probably worth 5 stars, and I might change that later, but I missed some things. Mostly that happened due to me reading this during the first, sleep-deprived, exhausting week of grad school.

When it comes to (I guess YA) fantasy novels, this is the way you do it. Seriously. Awesome worldbuilding. Intriguing prophecy. Ass-kickingly awesome heroine. Cool hero. Romance that is to die for, but NOT the main focus. A book that can very well standalone even though it's in a series.

What I missed out on basically boils down to the fact that I read this on some days when I was completely exhausted and read like 7 pages before falling asleep with my ereader in my hand. And this isn't the kind of book you easily stop and start. Sometimes I was a bit confused about things that had happened way earlier - like the prophecy that Finnikin is given: it's only mentioned full out one time, I think? And then later in the story when all those threads start coming together I couldn't for the life of me remember what the full prophecy was, and kept waiting for it to be repeated but it wasn't. So I guess it's more clarification issues - but again, mostly my own fault for how I read it.

Anyway, this was just great and I can't wait to move on to the sequel. This book alone is definitely worth a reread as well, when I get around to that (say in like 3 years or so).

Recommended for: basically all fantasy fans.
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on 20 February 2012
"Everything is evil that humans can't control or conquer"

What kind of book is Finnikin of the Rock?

It's a fantasy book. Evidently.
It's a love story. Certainly.
But not only.

It all starts with three friends, a prophetic dream and a blood pledge.
It continues with an invasion, a terrible curse and the struggle of one people to take back what they lost.

For me Finnikin of the Rock is a book about identities. About a people, the Lumaterans, losing their national identity and fighting to get it back, about a man who's been imprisoned for 10 years and has lost his identity, about a girl who is concealing hers to save her country and about a boy who really doesn't know who he is.

In unmistakeable Marchetta's style, we are presented with a book that not only has got an intriguing plot, is full of action scenes, adventure, amazing and detailed worldbuilding, and as usual, characterization like only Marchetta can do, but also with a book with an underlying message that goes beyond our mere entertainment as readers.
It is a condemnation of war and of its horrors, it denounces persecutions for political, ethnic or religious reasons, it opens a window on people, at any latitude and climate, whose dignity has been taken away together with their homeland.
The words mass graves and ethnical cleansing are words which will be stuck in your throat during some passages of this book and I dare you not feel compassionate for the Lumateran people.

So, end in end, this is a book that is only disguised as fantasy but that, in reality, is well above that.
It's probably superfluous to say that I really loved this book and I can't wait to read its sequel coming out in October, 2011 in Australia (March, 2012 for the US).

My favorite passage:

"Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?"
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on 9 July 2010
Finnikin has had the world on his shoulders since the age of nine. Although not yet men, Prince Balthazar, Lucien, and he promised to protect the royal family for the rest of their lives.

The boys are unaware that in a short time their world will be torn apart; the royal family murdered, and their country in despair.

In ten years time, Finnikin and Evanjalin, a novice of a Goddess, work towards ending the terrible rule over the people of Lumatere.

FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is spoken through the hand of a true fantasy writer, Melina Marchetta. Validly, a world is created all on its own full of mystery, adventure, and both romantic and horrifying surprises.

From beginning to end, every character is cherished and their flaws and strengths are examined openly - especially in the prolonged development of the relationship between Finnikin and Evanjalin, when each reveal they want something more than companionship but believe the fate of the world is more important than happiness.

Reviewed by: AdrienneBe
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on 29 October 2010
I was so excited to start this book. It had been highly recommended and sounded fabulous. When I eventually gave in and ordered it (could only get the hardcover version from Amazon UK) I squealed with delight when it arrived and couldn't wait to dig in.

The writing style of Finnikin reminded me very much of Lord of the Rings and I have to be honest here, I didn't like Lord of the Rings because of the style of writing and, you've guessed it, I wasn't all that keen on Finnikin either. I found myself `getting lost' in their world, literally. I couldn't 'see' the story unfolding in my head or envisage the characters and found myself just concentrating hard on trying to follow the words without taking it in. I actually feel kind of guilty for not enjoying it.

If you are one of the millions who adore Lord of the Rings then you'll probably love this book too so do give it a try. After all, life would be boring if we all loved the same books wouldn't it?
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on 29 November 2011
Beautifully written, i cannot recommend any of Marchetta's book enough, i was frightened to delve into fantasy but this was beyond all of my expectations, heartbreaking, beuatifully written, courageous and consuming
just read it i promise its worth it

finnikin is swoon worthy, its a book you think about days after the last page, most underated author ever..............
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on 23 January 2012
A magical, believable and unique fantasy with authentic multidimensional characters and an amazing setting.
I really loved this book! Can't wait to read Froi.

-This book became an instant favourite and I can only highly recommend you give it a try, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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