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Series: Lumatere Chronicles

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: Quintana of Charyn by Melina MarchettaQuintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Series: Lumatere Chronicles,
Also in this series: Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles
Published by Viking Australia on 26 September 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 516
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, Jellicoe Road

Place(s) Traveled to: The World of Skuldenore: Lumatere // Charyn

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

From the moment I finished Froi of the Exiles I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Quintana of Charyn and I was crushed when I learned that it wouldn’t be available in the US until March of 2013. With the way Froi ended that seemed like an eternity to wait, fortunately it came out in Australia at the end of 2012 and I had a friend who was susceptible to begging in order to get myself a copy sooner than the US release. I barely had the box open when I pulled out Quintana and started to read it. There was none crazy anxiety that I sometimes feel when it comes to the final book of a series because I just knew that Melina Marchetta wouldn’t let me down. That she would end this series just was well as she started it. Though in that belief I was wrong.

Because Quintana of Charyn was better than I could have ever hoped it would be.

I devoured this book in a day once I started it I only put it down when real life events (like eating) couldn’t be ignored. I laughed and I cried while reading this book and time just flew by. Before I knew it I was at the end and my heart had broken a hundred times and then healed a hundred and one. There were so many beautifully heartbreaking and heartwarming  that its impossible to catalog them all. I adored each and every event and every word that was written.

Quintana is a book that once I finished it I found myself going back to the beginning and then reading over some of my favorite scenes and moments. All of my favorite characters had their POVs told. Though I hated how Marchetta would often end a chapter/POV on a cliff hanger type moment and then the next chapter would move to someone else. But it was those moments that made it impossible to put the book down. There was always something new to know.

I wish that Quintana could have gone on forever. That this wasn’t the last book in a series. I could easily read another 500 or 1000 pages in this world. But at the same time, as a reader, I couldn’t have asked for a better end to a series. Marchetta hits all the right notes and ends things in such a way that there is still so much possibility. All these characters that you get to know and love become so real by the end of this book that you can picture just were they will end up even though the final word has been written.

If you’ve been waiting to read this series then you need to stop and pick it up now. Its just so well plotted out that I am sad that I can’t re-experience it all again for the first time. I do know though, that this series and I will be visiting with each other often. Its not a perfect series but it is a series that touches you and never really leaves.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina MarchettaFroi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Series: Lumatere Chronicles, Book 2
Also in this series: Finnikin of the Rock, Quintana of Charyn
Published by Candlewick on 13 March 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 593
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Finnikin of the Rock, Quintana of Charyn, Jellicoe Road

Place(s) Traveled to: The World of Skuldenore: Lumatere // Charyn

First Line: They called her Quintana the cursemaker.

I’m always wary when I go to pick up the second book of a trilogy because there is always the chance the second book isn’t as good as the first. That the second book really has no purpose but to get the characters from point A to B for the big climatic moment in the final book. And yet I just couldn’t wait to dive into Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta the moment that I had it in my hands because I loved beyond loved the first book in the series Finnikin of the Rock. To say that I loved Froi is an understatement because in some ways I think that I liked it even more than Finnikin.

Froi takes place a few years after the events of Finnikin ends and Marchetta does a wonderful job of explaining what happened in those years as well as give little refreshers of the first book without any long, boring info dumps. While Finnikin is told from a wide variety of characters as they move across Skuldenore the primary focus in this book is Froi and the time he spends on a mission in Charyn. There is still the revolving POVs but I liked how there was more of Froi’s POV and at times the other POV storylines just distracted me a bit. The transitions could be a little messy but the love that I felt for the overall story was enough that I didn’t let that bother me.

Froi has grown and changed a lot since we first met him in Finnikin and yet there is still this wild and feral side to him that just makes your heart ache for him. Then there are a whole slew of new characters that are all just as broken as he is and you just fall for each and every one of them. One of my new favorites was Quintana of Charyn. She is the mad princess and the center of a curse and your heart just breaks over and over as more and more of her history is revealed. But its not all heartache when it comes to Quintana because her story is also filled with hope and healing just as Froi’s is.

The story of this book was fast paced and action packed. There is a lot of intrique and drama as well as some laughter and even a few tears. In some ways I felt that there was a little more depth to the story in Froi than the one in Finnikin. Finnikin was all about the journey home for the people of Lumatere while Froi was more about healing and accepting oneself. There was a lot of dealing with the past as well as learning from past mistakes and learning to move forward. This novel left me breathless and I can’t believe how fast I made it through the near 600 pages. I am not positively DYING for the third and final book in the series Quintana of Charyn because unlike Finnikin of the Rock which is a self-contained story Froi of the Exiles ends with a bit of a cliff hanger. All the major characters are in a stage of flux and I am a bundle of nerves with curiosity wanting to know what will become of them all.

For me, the Lumatere Chronicles, is a must read series by everyone who loves a good epic fantasy novel. Yes, its flawed and I could be all nitpickey about them if I chose but the overall story of each book just makes it so easy to ignore all those little things that normally might annoy me in a book. The characters are all just so richly drawn and I love learning all their new layers with each book that they appear in. This is a series that I know that I will re-read often and each time I think I’ll find something new about the story to love. These are characters that stay with you and it really doesn’t get any better than that.

irishdarkblue
five-stars
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Audio Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Posted by Irish in Audiobook, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Audio Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Narrator: Jeffrey Cummings
Series: Lumatere Chronicles,
Also in this series: Froi of the Exiles, Quintana of Charyn
Published by Brilliance Audio on 28 September 2010
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 25 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Froi of the Exiles, Quintana of Charyn, Jellicoe Road

Place(s) Traveled to: The World of Skuldenore: Lumatere // Sarnak // Sendecane // Yutlind // Sorel // Osteria // Belegonia // Charyn

First Line: A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamt he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta is a book that I picked up in ARC form at one of my first BEAs but then it got placed on a shelf and forgotten about. I’d hear about it hear and there on the interwebs and would think to myself that I have to get to that book soon. But time is a fickle thing and it just never seemed to be the right moment for this story. Then it came up during a search I was doing on audible.com and I thought while I may not have time to read it I am always on the look out for a great audio and so I used one of my credits to make it mine. After listening to this story, you can bet that I’ve been kicking myself a lot for not making it a priority sooner.

Its hard to describe just how awesome Finnikin of the Rock is. The world is just so vivid and real and its characters are all so brilliantly drawn. I loved how they all interacted together and I loved how the POV of this story would switch from one to another. And while it was crazy, disjointed sometimes I never minded that the POV might switch after just a few paragraphs. Which is something that normally bugs me…a lot. That is a testament to just how powerful a story this was. Because if I am honest then I just wanted to be in all the characters heads all the time in on giant chaotic mess of narration.

This story is an epic journey and while its the start of series all the events are wrapped up nicely at the end of this book that if you never move on to the second one, Froi of the Exiles, you can be happy with how things ended. Although, I for one am currently dying to get my hands on Froi as I just want to be immersed in this world for as long as possible. I loved every moment of this story. I cheered when things were going well, I yelled when Finnikin was making yet another bonehead decision when it came to Evanjalin, and I almost wept during flashbacks and witnessed the horror that the people of Lumatere have gone through over the last ten years. I fell in love with every character, every page and every word of this story. The words just flowed over me as I listened to this story and created such a vivid picture that I could almost see the events unfold before me like a movie.

The characters in this book are all flawed. They don’t always make the right decisions but they are human and mistakes happen. But one thing they all have in common is that they think they are going down the right path…the one that will lead them back home…to Lumatere. The plotting and pacing of Finnikin of the Rock are spot on and there is always that hint of tension and suspense and wonder about what might happen with the next turn in the road. There is heartache and tragedy in this book enough to make a reader weep. But beneath it all there is a wonderful message of hope. A message that no struggle is too great that it can’t be over come and defeated.

The narrator, Jeffrey Cummings, is absolutely fabulous in bringing this story to life. All his character voices are spot on and he holds true to them all, most of the time. Cummings does occasionally slip here are there but with so many characters that is to be expected and it never detracts from the story at large. Overall, his words add a magic to this story that I’m not sure I would have felt if I’d read the print version of it. His voice weaves a spell around you that makes everything that happens in this story seem all the more real.

If you are a lover of fantasy books then this one is a must read. This is perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkein and Kristen Cashore. Its a rich and vivid tale and I can’t believe that I waited so long to experience it. My only consolation is that I can now dive right into the second book and that the third isn’t far off from publication. I can’t recommend this one highly enough so run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and pick this book up! You won’t regret it.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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