Finnikin of the Rock (by Melina Marchetta)
This book was on my to-read list for a long time before I requested it on LitPick, so I was duly excited to read it when it arrived at my house.
It starts off with a bit of exposition about three friends-Finnikin (the son of the captain of the King’s guard), Prince Balthazar (the King's son), and Lucian of the Monts. For a couple of chapters, they are normal children: they dream about the future, play-fight, and make solemn oaths. However, soon come the Five Days of the Unspeakable. Within these five days, their kingdom (Lumatere) is viciously attacked by a neighboring kingdom. Few escape, but amongst those who do is Finnikin, and his father's right hand man, Sir Topher. For almost a decade, Finnikin and Sir Topher wander through the kingdoms, attempting to create a list of all the living and deceased Lumatereans that were forced into exile. Lumatere is gaurded and locked by a mysterious enchantment/curse, and the only way to return to their homeland is to return with the heir to the throne, Balthazar, who is believed to be dead.
These exiled people from Lumatere almost lose hope until one day Finnikin and Sir Topher meet a girl named Evanjalin. Evanjalin claims Balthazar is alive. She can help them bring him back to their rightful kingdom. Without giving too much away, Finnikin of the Rock chronicles Sir Topher, Evanjalin, and Finnikin's trials and tribulations to return Lumatere to its former glory.
I did enjoy this book. I think Melina Marchetta did an excellent job of foreshadowing important events to come in the story, while at the same time delivering the occasional "plot twist" and surprise. The characters truly came alive for me. I could picture myself in each one's position, and to me that is what makes a well-written story. I felt their pain and laughed when they laughed.
Sometimes I thought that the romance between two of the characters (I'm not telling who!) was a little forced or sudden, but towards the end it became more natural.
The pacing was not too slow or too fast, it was a perfect goldie-lock's standard. Melina Marchetta did a fabulous job describing a certain prophecy, which was my favorite part of the book.
I did not think the sentences were all beautifully and ornately written, but I loved the simplicity that some sentences had.
For someone on the brink of requesting/buying this book: GO FOR IT. I do not think you will regret it in the slightest.