Since ‘Froi of Exiles’ is the first book I read on my Kindle, I’m putting this review together with Quintana of Charyn.
Froi of the Exiles was set three years after the events in Finnikin of the Rock. In “Finnikin”, we were introduced to the young warrior whose country were ravaged by a curse that separates Lumetere to the world after the deaths of the royal Lumateran family and a mysterious young woman who dreams of the Lumateran people who were imprisoned inside. Despite all odds, both of them released the cursed kingdom and became the king and queen of the broken country. We were also introduced to a boy-thief named Froi whose life became entangled with the two -lost exiled Lumaterans- that in the end he became the queen’s most trusted ally and friend and eventually he found acceptance among the people of Lumatere where he can call it home.
Now, eighteen years old Froi was in despair. Although he was surrounded with his loved ones who wasn’t by blood but by spirit, he still feel at lost despite being in the safety of the newly rebuilt Lumatere capital. One day a man from Charyn made a tempting request to the Lumateran; a chance for revenge as the Charyns were the ones that responsible to destroying the royal family and placing a false king to the people of Lumatere and eventual 10 years long curse where the girls were raped or the men killed out of Charynites’ boredom. However, to the Lumateran shock, the main reason why Charynites interested with the Lumaterans was that their people were under a curse too. For eighteen years, the Charynites were unable to bear a child and those who were born before the curse were called lastborn. It was also prophesied that the princess of Charyn and lastborn would break the curse but so far, it never succeeded and the people became desperate.
The messenger offer the Lumateran Queen a chance to kill the king of Charyn. Froi, who had become a highly skilled assassin -trained under the captain of guard, Trevonian, the King’s father- was sent to Charyn capital to impersonate a lastborn to came to the palace where he met a young princess who curiously went into verges of insanity and branded by her people as the ‘Whore of Charyn’ due to her inability to break the curse of her people. Seeing the girl broken from the inside from abuse of body and soul by the power hungry mad men with strings; Froi was at lost with his bond or promise to his queen to kill the Whore of Charyn or to save her from herself and the cruel world around her.
I had a hard time with this book. The story was rich and empowering and at the same time sad and depressing with every pages where we see a lot of things that weren’t as it seems. It was disturbing as well as fascinating. You can’t help but empathising with all the broken souls in the book and hooked by the story from the beginning to the end. The book narrates the inner struggle within Froi that he had tried to contain within himself (which will be explained as the book goes along) and the eventual growth of his character when he began to doubt everything that he knew about himself, was fascinating. I especially like it when he constantly at war with himself as soon as he came to know the Charynites he entangled with.
For a young adult, this book carries a strong matured realism in its storytelling. A young girl was sexually abused that she developed layers upon layers of personalities to be alive against the depravity of the men around her. A young man who arrived in the enemy palace where he suddenly grown to love even with the complexities of its people and found his past among them. The characterization was rich and disheartening. This was not a fairy tale but the story of hardship and sacrifices.
I thoroughly enjoy the book even with its hefty length of reading which I commented with every attempt in reading. One shan’t ever judge a story based on the amount of the pages since every chapter in this book carried a lot of depth and hidden messages that will caught you unaware until the last pages. The book work as a stand alone but many unresolved characters in “Finnikin” had their storylines continued in this book.
For a book that was generalized as a Young Adult. Most of the hardship it consisted of was very adult-centric.
It…. ends…. nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Quintana of Charyn proved that by quality of writing, a totally difficult book can be totally immersible and enjoyable and these 500-pages can be read in two days and make you still wanting for more. I need… moah….
I probably reread the book series many many time and forget my 200 book challenge.. grrrr….
I knew that I had some problem in trying to see this book as a Young Adult but honestly, to hell with genre. This book totally rock.
The novel began after the events in Froi of the Exiles where Quintana and Froi were separated in an ambush that left Froi half dead and Quintana halfway across the country in grief. At the valley of the Monts, Phaedra of Alonso declared herself dead so that she could hide the pregnant Queen of Charyn from everyone including her husband, Lucien. Eight arrows pierced Froi on that night and left him courting death for months before he could be on his feet. Fearing whether Quintana had escape or being capture, he went around the kingdom of Charyn in search for his love and doing so, he became divided by his love of a woman, the love of both of his family and the love of both of his kingdom.
Quintana of Charyn is a very adult book. I’m not talking about sex but politics, adult romance, violence, maturity, more politics and etc.I wouldn’t lie to you when I say I had some difficulties with classifying the entire series. But the conclusion of this trilogy couldn’t have been so epic. I hope this won’t be a turn off to some readers but its a great series altogether.
Quintana of Charyn isn’t just about Quintana and Froi. Its about Lirah and Gargarin. Lucien and Phaedra. Isaboe and Finn and their family. The kingdoms. The Provincaros. There are layers of emotions and secrets and unexpected thing that was happening and indirectly affected by Quintana herself (hence the title).
It’s a very long book but somehow I felt fulfilled after reading it. The story that was interconnected to one another is very well done and very emotional. I still don’t want to let the characters go until the last chapter. As a whole, the book is very rereadable again and again. I love the story between Phaedra and Lucien. A lot of the characters in this book even the main characters from the first book was well-rounded. Its like the story of Isaboe and Finn never ends and like true characters, they still faced their conflicts and tragedy even after years on from the first chapter of Finnikin of the Rock. I love that old characters get to go on in this book and the newer characters add more substance to the storylines. Its like Melina had carved a whole wide-set of characters and gave them all stories each without sacrificing lengthy work. She let her characters live their live on their own and carved their own emotional responses and motives accordingly to the scenes and the book.
Lumatere Chronicles never disappoints. In fantasy, the series is probably the same par to Lord of the Rings and Seven Realms. It does have a slight hint of magic element in this book like A Song of Fire and Ice with the subtle fantasy theme embedded in the series. I enjoyed the series so much and hope that this book received its own deserving hype because I want a tv series on the book. I might be one of the people who have the hate-love relationship to book adaptation but anything to let Melina Marchetta exposed to the world about how wonderful a storyteller she is. The book need endorsement HBO or Showtime at least.
When I see the book was shelved under “young adult”, I do admit that I was uneasy about the classification. People should be careful around using the word “young adult” for this book since the series is not all about fun and adventure. However, it’s not that much ‘adult’ in a sense like the usual things that made a book adult but it was in the characters that are mature for the right reasons (like why Quintana and Froi seemed to act less like a teenager but more like a confused, scarred and abused young adult that had seen the ugliness in this world… which they do) and this suited tone of the stories tremendously. I enjoyed the book so much and the book is worth the wait.
And I do cry hysterically when i finished with this book. Its so wonderful and filled with… love.
Love love love love.
(I actually need to write three more reviews before this book but I’m busy with exam and triple projects and English cousin coming around and emo nieces and nephew that I kind of…. unenthusiastically.. to want to write anything while I’m being stressed by some workload (include the triple Coursera thing). In fact I have to finish my novelty project tonight and I’m not kidding about how exausted I am today when I found out TODAY is one of my exam and I have to do mousse cake, the sauce, chocolate garnishings in under 2 hours…. but I made it.. sigh)
But I love Quintana of Charyn. This book is perfection and its actually calming to write this review than having to move my butt to the cake deco kitchen after this… sigh