Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Realism & Romance
The gifted Australian author Melina Marchetta has graced us with an amazing trilogy called “The Lumatere Chronicles”. This review will cover the first book of the series: “Finnikin of the Rock”.
We are told that from the age of nine Finnikin’s world takes a turn for the worst when the Kingdom of Lumatere gets terrorized by enemies. Precious lives were lost and their loved ones were left with scarring memories. Now they can no longer consider the cursed nation as their home. We are then given insight into a much more grown up Finnikin who along with his mentor Sir Topher are commanded to search for a young novice named Evangalin who stirred up everyone’s thoughts by announcing that the heir to the throne: Balthazaar who was thought to be dead was still alive and well. This bold statement bothers our hero the most because the Prince was his best friend during childhood. With a mind full of doubt and questions as to who Evangalin really is, the three head towards an adventure that will rekindle the flames of belonging that Lumatere used to bring to their hearts.
Books with fantastical settings usually focus on the world building aspect, informing audiences of the goal and a preparation towards a climax. The story that the author ensues is driven by major character development and is very well paced. Filled with witty dialogues, we get to witness great dimension to the characters. Realism is one of the strong points of this series and it is not often that we get a deep understanding of flawed personalities. The characters have realistic qualities that make them so much more endearing. The characters are so well versed that one can only feel at awe by their passion and morale. Ideology is a topic that is discussed with passionate outbursts. The romance is sweet and has the reader rooting for the couple’s ultimate happiness. While all of this is occurring political tactics are in the works to reclaim what was once their own, beloved Lumatere.
Once I started reading the book I immediately fell in love with Melina’s writing style. She knows her strengths and plays it to them accordingly. The story is mostly character driven and let me tell you that the author knows her audience. Every puzzle piece is mapped out carefully in our minds through the protagonist’s encounters and emotional realization of what he should do. Personally I view nationalism as a dense subject to write about but the author excels in expressing how beautiful patriotism and loyalty to one’s homeland can be. The dialogues never turn mundane. I love that the book is populated with quick comebacks and philosophical sayings. The heroine Evangalin is one of the most likable female characters I have ever read about. She stands for her views in a rational manner that leaves the hypocritical men silenced and cowered by her powerful words. This book proves that words can overpower human’s actions either for the better or for the worst. The author stresses on how close the gap between mediocrity and superiority are if one peeks deeper.
It gives me great pleasure to recommend this trilogy to you all. I am so grateful towards Melina Marchetta for sharing a world where truth, love and selfgrowth can go a long way. It is a beautiful story that will continue for two more books. Open up your hearts and be prepared to fall in love.