Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

* This review may contain spoilers for the previous book, Froi of the Exiles. *

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Quintana of Charyn (The Lumatere Chronicles #3)
By Melina Marchetta
Candlewick Press

To Sum It Up: After holding off their attacking pursuers and taking several arrows so Quintana and her unborn child could escape, Froi needs to recover from his injuries as quickly as possible and find her. As he searches frantically for her, he’s reunited with some familiar faces, often in places where he least expects to meet them. But it’s Quintana whom Froi is most desperate to see again, and he races from one part of Charyn to another, hoping he’ll reach her before those who want to control the kingdom’s future heir do. Quintana is extremely clever, though, and she’s chosen to hide somewhere that not even Froi suspects.

Review: I know I’ve said this before, and multiple times, but it’s especially applicable here: the most challenging reviews for me to write are for those books that I loved so completely that I’m grappling for the proper words to describe my feelings. And I have many, many, many feelings after reading this simply beautiful conclusion to a series that has become beloved to me. Yep, there are probably going to be a lot more italicized, bolded, and capitalized words ahead because if ever there was a series that deserved them, it’s The Lumatere Chronicles.

Final books in a favorite series are such bittersweet things; you want, nay need to know how it all ends, yet at the same time, you don’t want it all to end. Froi of the Exiles left its title character in a state that made me want to cry and smash the book against the nearest wall. Only the knowledge that I could begin reading Quintana of Charyn immediately prevented me from having some sort of breakdown over what happened to Froi. That second book in the trilogy was such a tidal wave of revelations and emotions, and the momentum carries over in its entirety to this book. It’s not so much that I was surprised that Melina Marchetta weaved yet another phenomenal tale with these characters and this world; this is Melina Marchetta we’re talking about. It’s more like awe at how an already perfect series could possibly get any better. The answer is: this book.

I’ve savored every page I’ve read in this series, but I tried to take even more time to fully appreciate this final chapter in the lives of these characters whom I’ve grown to love. Although Finnikin of the Rock began with Lumatere’s story, the series has become as much about Charyn’s tale and the ties that exist between the two kingdoms despite the bloodshed that has also taken place. One of the most powerful aspects of this particular book is the way in which Marchetta creates a parallel look at Isaboe, Lumatere’s queen, and the novel’s namesake, Quintana of Charyn. With the death of her father the king in the previous book, Quintana is now Charyn’s queen, but she’s on the run from the power-hungry Charynites who want to rule through the child she will give birth to. Isaboe is adored by her people while Quintana is considered mad by hers and expendable once she breaks Charyn’s curse and produces their long awaited heir. These two incredibly strong young women face each other in a heart-stopping confrontation rather early on in the novel and once more later on under circumstances that may leave you sobbing. Isaboe and Quintana are so different, yet alike in their unyielding determination, and I love both characters for being who they are. They also share one very important link: Froi.

Thinking back on the Froi I met in Finnikin of the Rock, it’s simply astounding to see the character he has become, from an orphaned boy thief to a courageous, respectable son, father, and man. He’s virtually unrecognizable from the Froi who could barely utter a sentence in Lumateran in Finnikin, and that’s just the way Marchetta works her writing magic. You may start out with a certain opinion of a character, but by the time you’ve finished reading one of her books, you’re almost guaranteed to see that character in a totally different light because that’s how layered all of her characters are. Since this is the last book, I feel I can take the time (and space) to express my love for each and every one of the following: Finnikin, Isaboe, Froi, Quintana, Trevanion, Beatriss, Perri, Tesadora, Lucian, Phaedra, Lirah, Gargarin, and last but certainly not least because his speed with a quip probably made me laugh the most, Arjuro.

Obviously, I found this conclusion to the series beyond rewarding. The Lumatere Chronicles is just a superb YA fantasy series, and Melina Marchetta is one of my absolute favorite authors. I truly, truly hope she decides to write another fantasy because with this trilogy, she’s demonstrated how ingenious she is at writing the genre.

All in All: I. Loved. This. Book. That is all.


  1. I feel you, I'm rendered speechless over super awesome books. When I first got my Kindle Fire, I was still partial to read books but it has completely changed my reading experience. I can no highlight all I want, search for a specific scene and make notes. I make a lot of notes especially with books I love so when it's time for me to review it, I won't be as lost.

    Glad to see this series was very satisfying for you.


    1. I just want to take all of the books in this series and hug them! I'm a big note taker, too, plus I like keeping a separate book with all of my favorite quotes.


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