Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

* This review may contain spoilers for the previous book, Finnikin of the Rock. *

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Froi of the Exiles (The Lumatere Chronicles #2)
By Melina Marchetta
Candlewick Press

To Sum It Up: Three years have passed since the curse on Lumatere was broken, and its people continue to rebuild their kingdom. Froi seems to have found a home at last, and he’s more than willing to do anything to protect Lumatere. His mission to the arcane kingdom of Charyn is extremely dangerous, but Froi plans on accomplishing his single task and getting out. Many surprises await him in Charyn, however, the biggest one of which may be its enigmatic, and possibly insane, princess, Quintana.

Review: If I could change the past and fix the most egregious book-related mistake I’ve ever made, it would be this one: waiting over a year—yes, a year—to read Froi of the Exiles, the sequel to Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock. What makes this total failure in judgment even more glaring is that I bought a copy of Froi very, very soon after I’d read Finnikin. And then that copy proceeded to sit, unread and unloved, on my shelf until I finally got around to picking it up. I think I was on page 2 of Froi when I wanted to take the book and repeatedly hit myself over the head with it for choosing to read all those other books before it. Seriously, I don’t know what drives my reading selections sometimes.

I’d already thought Melina Marchetta was a genius before reading this, and now . . . . There are no adequate nouns or adjectives to describe her brilliance with words. Page after page, sentence after splendid sentence reminded me how much I adore her writing and worship her as an author. I keep a notebook of my favorite book quotes, and with this novel, I just wanted to copy down every. Single. Line. Lines loaded with awe-inspiring wisdom. Sarcastic lines that made me laugh. Heart-shredding lines that reduced me to tears. Every. Single. Line.

While the book continues to follow the Lumaterans as they carry on rebuilding their lives three years after the curse that trapped some of their people inside the kingdom’s walls and forced those outside into exile was broken, a significant amount of the novel takes place in Charyn, whose invasion nearly destroyed Lumatere. It seems that the Charynites are living under a curse of their own that can only be lifted by their princess, Quintana, around whom rumors of madness swirl. Charyn is a kingdom shrouded in mystery, and it is to this place that Froi, the former thief from Finnikin of the Rock, journeys on a covert mission.

Froi. His character growth from the previous book is nothing short of stunning. The boy who once could barely speak Lumateran has proven to be an excellent student under the tutelage of Lumatere’s priest-king and has found a home among both the Queen’s Guard and the family of Lord August and Lady Abian. Despite coming so far, Froi is as quick-tempered as ever, as well as still haunted by the incident that passed between him and Queen Isaboe, to whom he’s pledged his undying loyalty. And that’s what’s so fantastic about Marchetta’s characters—they’re so real, so human, because they’re flawed. Even the most contemptible characters can demonstrate flickers of light, and even the more noble ones have their faults. These characters love, hate, fear, and show steel-like courage. They inspire you, they make you angry at times, but above all, you care about them like they were living people.

Just in case it wasn’t apparent from the gush-fest that is this review (and it was destined to be this way from the second I finished the book), Melina Marchetta’s novels have an unbelievably powerful effect on me, and Froi of the Exiles was no exception. This is a mesmerizing fantasy in which the blood of a people sings to one another, some individuals are touched by the gods, and the spirits of the departed are sung home. Truly, truly the pure beauty of reading this novel is watching plot revelation after plot revelation unfold and realizing the immense amount of planning that must have gone into creating a saga of such breathtaking complexity. If you loved Finnikin of the Rock, prepare to be just as captivated by the stories of Froi, the twin brothers Gargarin and Arjuro, Lirah, Phaedra, and, of course, Quintana. Also be ready to gasp and scream and laugh and maybe cry a few times because reads don’t get much more emotional than this one.

All in All: All the stars in existence aren’t enough for this book. If you plan on reading it, you MUST have a copy of Quintana of Charyn, the finale to the series, ready to go. You will regret it otherwise because trust me, you’re going to desperately want to know what happens next once you’re done reading Froi of the Exiles.


  1. I have not read Finnikin yet so I skimmed this review but I am looking forward to finally checking it out!

    1. I LOVE this series. I can't wait to see what you think of Finnikin! I'm thrilled to reread it because I feel like I missed a lot the first time around.

  2. I read Froi before Quintana was released and about went INSANE! Haha!

    I ordered an Aussie copy of Quintana since it was released 6 months before the US copy! :-)

    Glad you loved it!

    1. If I'd had to wait months to read Quintana, I totally would have tracked down a copy of the Australian edition, too, because after finishing this book . . . aaaahhh. It leaves you in dire need of the next one!

  3. Ugh, your review made me want to cry cause it reminded me of how much Melina's writing affects me! I'm so in love with this series it's ridiculous! One good thing about picking up Froi late though is that you didn't have a long wait for Quintana. :) GREAT review, you really captured why I love the complexity in Melina's writing and characters! Can't wait for the Finnikin event! :)

    1. Yes! Getting to read Quintana right after Froi was an upside to my waiting so long to read the latter, lol. I am SO happy to hear how much you love the series, too! And I am THRILLED about the Finnikin event next month! I badly wanted to reread it before picking up the series again but didn't have time, and this is just the perfect opportunity. I'm so excited to see what everyone thinks of it, whether they're new to the series or revisiting it!


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