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BOOK REVIEW – Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta

BOOK REVIEW – Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina MarchettaQuintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3)
by Melina Marchetta
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

There's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn's unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn's war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

“Our bodies aren’t strangers,” he said, his voice ragged. “Our spirits aren’t strangers”. He held her face in his hands. “Tell me what part of me is stranger to you and I’ll destroy that part of me.”

Truth to be told, I was wary at first, out of fear to be disappointed by this last journey through Lumatere and Charyn. I couldn’t have been more wrong – indeed Quintana of Charyn was wonderful, as it contains all that I wanted and even more : painful at times, heartbreaking, hilarious, I felt all kind of emotions and wasn’t always able to control them. This book was beautiful.

Let’s deliver some awards, okay?

“Because people aren’t interested in the truth, Dafar. They’re interested in what keeps them safe. They’re interested in being looked after. They’re interested in a tale being spun.”

Top 4 of the best meetings
– you know the feeling – you’ve started to care for several characters in the first two books and then you get to watch their meeting. Precious.
Perri and Quintana. Adorable and filled with daggers (yes, that’s possible)
Finn and Gargarin. Men. Nothing more important to do than arguing about mythology. Did I mention that I loved them?
Quintana and Lucian. Hilariously inappropriate – this meeting took the form of a not-so-constructive discussion about Lucian’s sex performances. Yeah, you heard me.
The Turlan lads and the stupid Lasconian. Is it wrong I smiled so big when they defeated these annoying pricks? Take that for Froi!

“Finnikin laughed. “All I had to do was stop the horse and say, ‘I think…’ and they were racing back into the woods to you.”

Into the category of “words I wouldn’t want to use but couldn’t help but laugh about”, the winner is Quintana with her constant use of “swiving”.

Into the category of “you made me want to throw my book on the wall”, the winner is Queen Isaboe whose decisions if understandable stayed often incredibly annoying.

Into the category of the best bromance scene, the winners are Froi and Finnikin for the “you fainted/No, I didn’t” scene.

“You’re not going to start crying, are you, fool? Quintana asked bluntly. “It irritates me”.
Tessadora made a clucking sound of annoyance.
“What did I tell you?” she said to Quintana in a reprimanding voice.”

✭ Now, into the category of the incredible characters, because they’ve all their story to tell and because each and every one of them earned a little piece of my heart, the winners are :

Lucian for the most bittersweet monologues and the way he can’t help but care.
Phaedra because maaan, did this girl had patience to stand these Charyn whinnies.
Finnikin because he’s a ray of light in the story – adorable and kind, comprehensive and patient, this ginger catlove the surname, by the way.
Perri because every story needs his blunt guy.
Lirah because she refuses stereotypes and for her half-mean, half-hilarious protective comments.
Froi, of course, for his courage, his loyalty, his selflessness and his perseverance – because his quest to be accepted for who he truly is moved me like nobody else could.

✭ Yet surprisingly, despite the fact that Froi stole my heart, into the category of the loved-whatever-it-takes character, the winner is Quintana because she’s deliciously inappropriate, refreshingly selfish, fierce, proud, courageous, in a nutshell : insanely amazing.

“Because he sang for Quintana of Charyn. He sang for the misery of her life, the poison in her body, the scars on her skin, and the courage in her character.”

✭ And finally, into the category of best adorable support, the winner are my boyfriend because he stand my “OMG! FROI!” and other irrepressible giggles I let out during hours, and my lovely Chelsea because I spammed her with the same thoughts. Sorry about that.

PS : I saved so many quotes that it was really hard for me to refrain myself here. I did refrain, even if it seems I’m spamming you 😉

“He couldn’t think, and he couldn’t breathe ; his head, his chest, everthing felt as if it would explode, and he tried to count, tried to remember anythink…”

BOOK REVIEW – Froi of the Exile (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta

BOOK REVIEW – Froi of the Exile (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina MarchettaFroi of the Exile (Lumatere Chronicles #2)
by Melina Marchetta
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

As you might know, I’m a teacher from 3rd to 5th grade. Of course I love my job but let’s face it : sometimes the gremlins are exhausting.

To survive, I learnt quickly a few tips :
– Everything is better in color
– Sleep full-time nights – or if you don’t, pretend, that is to say, smile.
– Identify the giggles words and defuse the crisis right away : yes, there is sex in sexism, hahaha, now can we talk about it? Now, you’re a teacher but also a person, so try to never forget it and allow you to laugh sometimes. Except at other times. No, we don’t eat acorns. Squirrels eat acorns. Pigs eat acorns. You’re a ten years old boy dammit ← yeah, because you never swear in public.
– Protect your voice : no need to yell. Never.
Tool worksheets are your friends, because surprisingly, you’re not a parrot.

Target : To be able to read this book without crying.

Never underestimate Marchetta’s ability to blow your mind : you need to remember that nothing can be taken for granted, neither the characters’ reactions because they’re dynamic and evolve, nor the curse of the story, because you can’t even talk about twists when that’s the whole story which is unpredictable.

“Most days, he feared that a monster of great baseness lived inside him, fighting to set itself free. Killing the traitors of Lumatere for Isaboe made sense. But killing also fed the monster.”

Be prepared to fall in love with all the characters, even the villains : indeed in Froi of the Exile none of the characters is annoyingly perfect, and that’s fucking great. Moreover, even the word villain seems totally misplaced, because as in life, things are always more complicated than they appeared.

Froi spends his time fighting between his violent instant-jerk reactions and his self-imposed limitations, and became one of my favorite male-lead of all-time for this exact reason. What could be more interesting than a man who’s always seeking his place in the world and who tries to refrain himself without never forgetting who he is? What I adored in his personality is the fact that he’s able to see behind the scenes and never hastily judges someone. No, Froi thinks, analyses – and above all that, loves and hates with such passion, craves for some attention – that tortured boy who’s trying so hard to be worthy captured my heart and broke it while he was at it.

Do you know what’s Marchetta’s magic is? She makes me care. So much. Everybody was dismissing Froi, and oh, how I wanted to tear them apart, these cold-hearted bastards! All of them, even those I liked. Even the brothers. All of them. Anything rather than bear his heart-wrenching loneliness a second longer.

Quintana fascinated me, but let’s face it, the girl is insane. Now, if we scratch the surface, as Froi did did I say how much he’s awesome?, we discover one of the most captivating character I’ve meet for a long time. And if somebody calls her a vessel again I think I’m going to lose it. Fuck off, you jerks.

✘ No need to remember how much Finnikin, Isaboe, Trevanion and Beatriss are multi-layered. No perfection here, just life.

“It’s the same with her. Imagine who she would be if we unleashed her onto the world. I think she would rip the breath from all of us.”

Forget your social life and be prepared to travel, because you’re not really in your living-room, nah, you’re in Charyn. Indeed if you’re like me, you’ll probably end completely drawn in this world, enchanted by Marchetta’s beautiful words and frowning awkwardly when someone, let’s say, your boyfriend, ask you when and what you want to eat.

“He says that the gods have forsaken Charyn”, Froi said.
Arjuro gave a short laugh of disbelief. “The gods have not forsaken Charyn. The gods love Charyn. Where else can they shit, if not Charyn? It’s the purpose of this kingdom. To be the place where the gods shit.”

Crisis management : You answered a phone call. You fool. Okay, fortunately I’m here to help you. So, here’s what to do : you hmm hmm a few time, and then you say (intonation is the most important, you play for your life here) : Oh! There’s *insert random name of BF/cat/dog/son/daughter/friend* I need to go! And then you hang up quickly. Crisis aborted. Come back to Froi. You’re welcome.

“If he was grateful for anything, it was that most times, he did not see their fear. But here in the Citavita, fear made people beg. Fear was piss running down the legs of those who once stood pompus and proud. Fear was a blood-curdling cry that rang through one’s ears for days to come.”

Don’t breath. Don’t hold your breath though. Or you count. Oh, yes, there’s a lot of counting in this book. So let’s try this : if your eyes start to be filled with tears, count. Hmmm. I don’t know. Try to cope with all the emotions you’ll feel, fear, sorrow, hope, sadness, loneliness – love. A love so fierce. Go for a run, share a hug, call your mum. I don’t really know.

Oh. My. I think I lied to you : there’s no such thing as a potion to avoid crying with this book. Sorry about that.

“And suddenly, in all the absurdity, Froi forgot the orders from his queen. Forgot everything he had been told was right or wrong. Forgot any type of reason.”

BOOK REVIEW – Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta

BOOK REVIEW – Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)
by Melina Marchetta
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

4 stars – 4.5 stars – 5 stars? Oh, well, I don’t know people. Sorry.

Finnikin of the Rock is the story of people who try to step forward, and forward, and forward… Until perhaps, one day, perhaps they’ll share a land called home again.

Speak, Finnikin wanted to shout at her. Lay blame. Shout. Rage. Rage!

Ready to travel with me?

Finnikin of the Rock is a journey. The journey of Lumatere people who struggle to survive after their exile. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to move me so much – and yeah, I realized pretty fast what a fool I’d been to underestimate Melina Marchetta’s ability to take my heart and squeeze it. Hard.

The fact is, I’m always fooled in the same way with this author : I’m travelling through her words, confident, conceited even, until I come across a sentence which breaks my heart. Repeatedly.

“Men who in Lumatere had voices loud and passionate, who provided for their families and were respected in their villages. Now they sat in silence and relied on their children to translate for them as if they were helpless babes. Finnikin wondered what it did to a man who once stood proud. How could he pass on his stories without a language?”

There’s a lot of talking in this book but it never bothered me. Why? Because as Sir Topher expresses it, stories and languages and well, talking are links we don’t want to destroy. They’re bonding, history, family.

People of Lumatere are going through all the trials refugee have to face. Yes that’s fantasy, yet their suffering sounds so real and reminds me so much of what happens near every one of our houses I got chills. Sadly, I don’t think there’s a country in the world which doesn’t have its refugee, somehow, and yeah, sure, we could argue that their country didn’t disappear magically like Lumatere – no, war and poverty and corruption and selfishness did it. I’m not sure it isn’t worst.

“You are evil,” he seeted.
“Oh, the way that word is thrown around!” she said. “Everything is evil that humans can’t control or conquer.”

In addition to the necessity to forget their own language, entire families find themselves scattered throughout the kingdoms closed to Lumatere after the disappearance of their home. Desperate. Abused. Threatened. Hopeless.

Cursed.

There’s so much to say about the plot and yet I’m feeling as I’ve already said too much. The only thing you need to know is this : following Finnikin, Evanjelin, Sir Topher and all the other *cough* Froi! *cough* has been a meaningful experience for me and I can only hope you’ll feel even a glimmer of the emotion I felt.

As per usual with Melina Marchetta, the characterization is flawless. Really, I’m in awe of this author for her ability to create characters so real. Far from perfect. Both loveable and detestable. Each and every one of them found the path to my heart, each in their own way. Although I can be annoyed by their doubts (yes Finnikin, I’m totally staring at you – but yes, I still love you), amused by their repartee, in love with their courage, frightened for them – and sometimes, by them, they can make me feel restless, proud, mad, confused –

If I you ask me to tell you one thing about them, it’d be that they never ever leave me indifferent.

Finally, what can I say about the writing apart from repeating how beautiful it is? I always trusted Melina Marchetta to create complex and so dynamic characters. Now I know she can also deliver full-detailed settings. Indeed her words resonate within us, mesmerizing, alternating between descriptions full of details and short sentences when the action requires it.

Well, I think that’s pretty clear that I loved this book, even if in some parts I felt a bit lost and wavering, especially in the third part which was a bit anticlimatic. But then, in my opinion no book is perfect, and I enjoyed so much this journey I can’t hold a grudge.

I’ll let you with this quote –

“Perhaps they would act as a deterrent. He could not believe anyone who heard such stories of wickedness would allow it to happen again.”

Oh dear Finnikin, if you knew…

BOOK REVIEW – Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta

BOOK REVIEW – Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)
by Melina Marchetta
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

“Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?”

I suppose this is going to be one of my rare ‘short and sweet’ reviews. I hate not writing long reviews because that generally means I didn’t like a story-when I fall for a story I can’t stop typing and it becomes a novel of some sort despite my strongest attempts to wrap it up (this isn’t always the case, but more often than not that’s what it means). I wanted so badly to fall in love and cherish this novel. I wanted to get over my book hangover and find something new to explore and obsess over. I wanted to be all consumed and unable to focus on reality….but I just….didn’t.

I didn’t fall into step with the story and I didn’t connect on a level that seems normal by everyone else’s standards. I just didn’t.

The truth is that while it may be assumed that I just don’t know what good writing is or what makes a deep and meaningful story, that’s hardly true at all. I just need more from a story than a life saving journey and tons and tons and tons of theorizing and explaining and talking. This book was always with the talking. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t beautiful writing or a beautiful slow-building romance. In fact, I actually loved the progression of the romance. It was sweet, sad, hopeful-and it was the only thing that kept my attention, if I’m being completely honest.

Another thing this story did have was a cast of strong, heroic characters. Each person brought something to the table that the others didn’t, making for a well-rounded and interesting formula. As far as the characters go, there was never a dull moment. Finnikin, our main character, was an admirable guy. I loved his thoughts and being in his head-he was loyal, brave, snarky with a wit that translated from his inner thoughts when he spoke. I even loved the progression of his feelings for Evanjalin-from a deep-rooted dislike to a reluctant admiration to a soul searing and passionate love. It was beautiful while maintaining a heartbreaking undertone.

“You have a very dark heart,” he accused.
“It’s good of you to recognize, Finnikin,” she said without looking up. “There’s hope for you yet.”

But overall-the bottom line? This just wasn’t for me. At all. Even with all the talking and journeying, generally I still can fall for a story through the romantic backstory or action sequences-but the action came far and few between and the romance could not stand on its own. A story has to be great for me to like the ‘traveling’ aspect-I’m very picky about this-and I just wasn’t wowed. This book was very beautiful and had what everyone seems to love-just not me.

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