Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles Series)

( 86 )


2008 Printz Award Winner Melina Marchetta crafts an epic fantasy of ancient magic, exile, feudal intrigue, and romance that rivets from the first page.

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere?s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in ...

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Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles Series)

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2008 Printz Award Winner Melina Marchetta crafts an epic fantasy of ancient magic, exile, feudal intrigue, and romance that rivets from the first page.

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Life for Finnikin of the Rock and his friends in the kingdom of Lumater is simple and happy. The people of Lumatere are hard working and live in peace within their kingdom and with neighboring kingdoms. Despite this complacent life, Finnikin has a reoccurring dream that he is to sacrifice a pound of his flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere. Finnikin decides to carry out his sacrifice with two of his friends Prince Balthazar and Lucian of the Monts. They are merely boys, but they carry out the sacrifice. There was no way for them to know that just a few days later, the five days of the unspeakable would come. During those unspeakable days, the king, queen, and their three eldest daughters are murdered in the palace and many people flee the kingdom. Those that are unable to escape are imprisoned inside the dying kingdom. The entire population of Lumatere falls under a curse, with those who flee being exiled and hated by all their neighboring kingdoms. Ten years after the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin has a mission. Can he and his companions reunite and restore their kingdom? It seems impossible, even to Frinnikin, but he has no choice but to fulfill his purpose. Readers will not be able to put down this engaging epic fantasy adventure. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
VOYA - Jan Chapman
This new fantasy, by Printz-winning author Marchetta, tells the story of Finnikin, a survivor of a terrible massacre that destroys the royal family he and his father serve. After the massacre, Finnikin's home of Lumatere is cursed by a powerful priestess who places an impenetrable barrier around the doomed land. Locked out of Lumatere, Finnikin, together with his guardian Sir Topher, embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious religious novice named Evanjalin, who has the power to enter the dreams of others. Evanjanlin has had a dream that hints at the possible survival of the royal prince, Balthazar. Thus begins a journey to learn what has happened to Balthazar, in the hopes that he will be able to remove the curse on Lumatere and return to his rightful throne. Unlike many fantasy novels, this book is character driven, instead of plot driven. Marchetta does not spend much time developing an elaborate setting but instead concentrates on placing her characters in situations that will illuminate both their heroism and their flaws. It is refreshing not to have to wade through a tedious and overly detailed exposition of setting; the reader is immediately engaged by the characters and plot. Marchetta explores recognizable fantasy themes of sacrifice, loyalty, and longing for home through an epic journey that tests the mettle of her characters. Although the characters are appealing and sometimes surprising, this conventional fantasy does not stray beyond the bounds of the well-worn genre. Marchetta's skill in writing is undeniable, however, and teens who love fantasy will find the book greatly appealing. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Before the "five days of the unspeakable," Finnikin's homeland of Lumatere was a peaceful and plentiful kingdom. Then the royal family was murdered and a puppet regime rose to power. The people were divided: some escaped into exile in the other kingdoms of Skuldenore, while the rest were trapped inside a curse shrouding the kingdom walls. A decade later, Finnikin and his guardian roam the land recording stories and trying to improve conditions for the exiles. A beguiling novice named Evanjalin, who shares the dreams of the people trapped inside Lumatere, joins their small party. She claims that Balthazar, the true heir to the throne, is alive. Rejuvenated by hope, the group embarks on a series of adventures in their quest to reunite the exiles and rebuild Lumatere under Balthazar's rule. With this novel (Candlewick, 2010), Melina Marchetta has crafted a world that is both fanciful and frighteningly real, with parallels to today's civil wars and refugee camps. It is a dense tale that builds to a stirring climax after Evanjalin's real identity is revealed. Jeffrey Cummings convincingly varies his voice to portray a range of ages, accents, and emotions in this impressive reading. Listeners may struggle to keep up with the book's many characters and to grasp the geography of Finnikin's travels (the print edition includes helpful maps). It takes patience to get acclimated to this mystical fantasy, but those who stick with it are in for a rare treat.—Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Finnikin, son of the head of the King's Guard, has been in exile for a decade, after the violent takeover of his birthplace, Lumatere, by a usurper, followed by a curse by a priestess that has effectively shut the kingdom off from the outside world. He meets a mysterious young woman, Evanjalin, who claims that Finnikin's friend Balthazar, heir to the throne, is alive, and sets in motion a complex and stirring series of events that lead Finnikin to confront his destiny. Evanjalin uses her ability to "walk the sleep" of others, or share in their dreams, as well as her own boldness and sense of purpose, to push events to a climax so that Lumatere can be freed. This novel begins at a slow burn: there are many details to absorb, and the well-drawn maps are a necessity. Then, suddenly, the action turns white-hot and the intricate plot plays out at a pace that keeps readers mesmerized. This is fantasy grounded in a kind of realism seldom seen in the genre. A large cast of unforgettable characters inhabits it, from Finnikin and Evanjalin with their absorbing and intensely emotional relationship, to Froi, a young thief, to the small girl who is Evanjalin's companion as she "walks the sleep." Readers will be rewarded by a shining story of romance, adventure in all of its gritty realism, and high ideals. Those who enjoyed Kristin Cashore's Graceling (Harcourt, 2008) will love this one.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Publishers Weekly
In her first fantasy work, Printz Award–winner Marchetta (Jellicoe Road) spins a sprawling yet intimate tale about a doomed kingdom and its struggle for reclamation. Years ago, Lumatere’s royal family was brutally murdered, an imposter king placed on the throne, and a curse levied on the land, forever locking it away from the rest of the land of Skuldenore, with many of its inhabitants cast out to the winds. Finnikin has spent the decade after Lumatere’s fall traveling, collecting stories of his scattered people and trying to ease their plight. Then he and his mentor are called to safeguard Evanjalin, an enigmatic young woman who claims to know the location of Lumatere’s long-missing heir, who can break the curse and bring the exiles home. As Finnikin and Evanjalin seek to reunite Lumatere’s far-flung people and restore their land, they face betrayals, horrors, and ethical crises. Magic, romance, intrigue, and adventure all play their parts as this dense, intricate epic unfolds, and flawed, memorable heroes fight for their kingdom’s redemption. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Cursed by a dying wise woman, the land of Lumatere waits for its lost heir to open the walled gates and free the population from a depraved and predatory usurper who killed their royal family. Finnikin of the Rock, his mentor Sir Topher and the mysterious novice Evanjalin trek through a variety of kingdoms (two maps are included, for which readers will be grateful) freeing exiled leaders and accumulating an army. Standard fantasy characters people this book, but they develop in surprising, non-stock ways. Finnikin, the hero, surprises with contradictions: A linguist, a scholar and a sometime diplomat, he's also warrior, leader and barely reformed hothead. Although it's a long story, fantasy readers will enjoy the rousing and complex plot, filled with political intrigue and frequent red herrings and dotted with abductions, arrests and close escapes from a variety of dangers. Buy it for lovers of Marchetta's school stories, but its true audience is readers of fantasies like Kristin Cashore's Graceling (2008) and Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series. (Fantasy. 14 & up)
From the Publisher
"The world of this book is dark and beautiful and utterly believable; and, as I’ve come to expect of Marchetta’s work, the characters are wonderfully complex. Here is an author who writes fantasy as well as she writes realism — and in the case of Melina Marchetta, that’s high praise, indeed!" — Kristin Cashore, author of GRACELING and FIRE — Quote

"A tremendous achievement; a wonderful story full of vivid characters and landscapes. . . .Spellbinding and fantastic." — SYDNEY MORNING HERALD — Quote

"A hauntingly beautiful fantasy allegory. . . . A daring departure from Marchetta’s previous books, and it works brilliantly." — THE CANEBERRA TIMES — Quote

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763643614
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Series: Lumatere Chronicles Series
  • Pages: 401
  • Sales rank: 259,930
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Melina Marchetta is the acclaimed and award-winning author of JELLICOE ROAD, the Michael L. Printz Award winner, SAVING FRANCESCA, and LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI. She lives in Australia, where FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, her first fantasy novel, won an Aurealis Award.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 86 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 86 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    And they held onto that name etched in...

    Although not in her usual genre, Finnickin of the Rock is a hauntingly beautiful and artfully crafted work of fantasy. Marchetta's poetic style will break your heart and then carefully patch it back together ten times better than it was before. In an interview Marchetta stated that she wanted to write about a group of people struggling with a loss of cultural identity; to represent tragic real situations subtly occurring in our own world. We enter the story naiive and with a certain innocence, but the story leaves us with a profound sense of self awareness and compels one to question his/her own identity. There is something so sad about this story and yet through it all we never lose hope. Hope that the world will be better, that the situation will change, that the characters within it will find peace. And that is what makes this epic so damn good!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Yearning to Read Review

    Finnikin of the Rock has been traveling with his mentor, Sir Topher, for nearly ten years. Finnikin's father and mother died, along with most of the Lumeratens during the five days of unspeakable, when the Lumeraten country was taken over by an imposter king. Finnikin and Sir Topher believe the heir to the throne, Balthazaar, is dead until Finnikin is visited in his dreams by a goddess, who calls Finnikin to find her. The goddess gives Finnikin the novice Evanjalin, a silent girl with a bald head who claims that the heir of Lumatere is alive - and that she can take them to him. Loyal to his country but annoyed by this strange girl who won't speak to him, Finnikin and Sir Topher set off on a journey to find the heir and bring their country back together.

    I don't really know how I feel about this book. For certain aspects, I love it. For others...not so much. It was strange, but when I put it down, I felt that it could have been epic, but part of its epicness was overshadowed. By what? Well, I'll start with the bad, and end with the good.

    Bad: For one, there were several sexual implications or references. Some were obvious; some had hidden meanings. They were scattered all throughout the book. On top of that, I felt a bit lost, especially toward the beginning. While the book was written excellently, at times I felt there was too much information, and at others I felt there was too little. I found myself skimming over certain parts with little interest and then would read the scenes that had huge impact on the story, or I found interesting.

    On the other hand, we have the good of this story: Melina Marchetta definitely has a talent when it comes to forming her sentences, and her characters. The characters had strong quirks or "handles" that made them singular. But the one thing about this book that struck me most was the culture, the desperateness of a people ruined and lost. The countries and peoples were fell formed and described. I was deeply moved by the plight of the Lumeratens, the scenes of Finnikin carrying a dead baby to its dead mother, of men and women fighting for all that they have lived for - all that their fathers, brothers, mothers, and sisters have died for. It was these things, as well as the powerful love story, that gave the book a mood and a feel to it that most books long for.

    So whether or not you want to read it is your choice. While I can't really point you in either direction, I wish I could. And I hope there's a sequel that will be exactly what this one could have been - epic.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by AdrienneBe for

    Finnikin has had the world on his shoulders since the age of nine. Although not yet men, Prince Balthazar, Lucien, and he promised to protect the royal family for the rest of their lives.

    The boys are unaware that in a short time their world will be torn apart; the royal family murdered, and their country in despair.

    In ten years time, Finnikin and Evanjalin, a novice of a Goddess, work towards ending the terrible rule over the people of Lumatere.

    FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is spoken through the hand of a true fantasy writer, Melina Marchetta. Validly, a world is created all on its own full of mystery, adventure, and both romantic and horrifying surprises.

    From beginning to end, every character is cherished and their flaws and strengths are examined openly - especially in the prolonged development of the relationship between Finnikin and Evanjalin, when each reveal they want something more than companionship but believe the fate of the world is more important than happiness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Best Ending Ever

    You know when you see something truly breathtaking and your in awe over how beautiful it is, well I think that is the right thing to say about Finnikin of the Rock. It is everything that makes a story perfect, but the book talks about a dystopian world. Melina Marchetta creates a story that has hauntingly real imagery, with words that flow nicely like a calm lake. She gives enough description to easily understand the situation and the word, and won't have readers falling asleep. The maps in the book are easy to follow, and I found myself looking at it quite a few times. The world is well built and it's easy to picture, it is also unique in the fact that you can see the cultural difference between each land as the characters travel through it. The emotion is strong and well put and will have readers at lost for words. The readers can really feel sad, angry and horrified as they read about the exile and fever camps, and hear of the five days of the unspeakable. But you will also feel hope that maybe, by the end of the book the people will regain hold of Lumatere. The characters are developed nicely, in a way that will have you make a soft spot for each one of them in your heart. Evanjalin and Froi were probably my favorite two characters. Evanjalin was such a strong, passionate and hopeful women/girl in the story. Anybody would envy that, and I certainly was proud to read about a strong women lead. Froi was someone who you hate at first, but then after hearing his POV you really feel for him. He's just a mischievous s little boy who envies people around him and wants to belong. Something that anyone can relate to. A lot of the situations were truthful, and how they were dealt with was faithful to how I can imagine them being laid out. Example of this is Trevanion's & Lady Beatriss relationship.
    The story's narration, which was from different characters POV, was amazingly well crafted. The romance in the story (between Evanjalin & Finnikin) was really well developed. Probably the first real romance that I truly enjoyed the development of. It wasn't to slow and it wasn't to fast, it was just right. It felt honest and good.
    Some of the plot twists were a bit obvious. What I would of liked to seen developed more was more knowledge of the impostor king. Who was he? I also think the battle to regain Lumatere should of been more descriptive and longer. It was a bit short, and was sort of a downer as it was what the whole book was leading up to.

    Usually I don't read fantasy, I find it to confusing. I enjoyed Eragon but found it confusing. It might of been because I was young when I read it. But this novel wasn't confusing and probably the first fantasy I actually really enjoyed. I really hope there is a sequel, though this book does work as a stand-alone to. So when I was reading the author's bio, I was very surprised to find that this was her first fantasy: "I was told often that I couldn't write fantasy unless I had read all the greats and knew the conventions well, but I think the first step to writing good fantasy is knowing this world we live in well. I wanted to look closely at that---where loss of faith, loss of homeland and identity, displacement of spirit, and breakdown of community are common--- because these are the scenes in today's media that affect me most. In this sense, the book is a search for identity in the same way that my other novels are." -Melina Marchetta. You wouldn't think after reading this book,

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Finnikin of the Rock

    This is a great, easy read for those who love fantasy/adventure stories with some romance

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014


    I fell in love with this series escpically with the twist at the ebd


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  • Posted February 19, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Loved it!

    This is one of my favorite trilogies! My husband loved it too!

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  • Posted December 11, 2013

    Highly recommend. Not just for YA.

    Great journey filled with adventure and love. I was extremely pleased with this selection. Definitely on my 3 all time favorites list now. Reread immediately after I finished. Five star book!

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  • Posted October 27, 2013

    Finnikin of the Rock is the first book in a trilogy. I began rea

    Finnikin of the Rock is the first book in a trilogy. I began reading Froi of the Exlies first, even though it is the second book in the series. I knew when I got Froi of the Exiles that it was book two, but I was drawn to the series and purchased Finnikin of the Rock as soon as I could. This book is wonderful! Melina Marchetta does a superb job of keep the reader engaged as she sets up the scenes and introduces us to the characters that we will be with for the rest of the series. Not once are you left bored or are unable to follow what is happening. The pacing is wonderful and the characters are so skillfully crafted that you come to love or hate them for being people, not characters in a book. A fantastic start to a great series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Loved it!

    This story is one one of hope and love in the face of horrendous tragedy. I enjoyed it from start to finish. It is part one of three but I didn't feel left hanging at the end of book one. Very well written. This author is a natural story teller.

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  • Posted March 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It's a rare day when a book leaves me truly speechless but someh

    It's a rare day when a book leaves me truly speechless but somehow Finnikin of the Rock. I received the book for review and thought to myself, "I've heard of this book before," and I'm pretty sure I chose not to read it then. A mistake on my part. This novel captures the essence of a true fantasy, from the intricate world of Lumatere and the surrounding countries to form the Land of Skuldenore, to the depth and range of characters, all of which acted as major players in the story. My only regret is that I finished it and don't have book #2 (Froi of the Exiles) at hand.

    When I first read the back cover blurb, I mentally placed Finnikin in the realm of middle-grade boys' stories. Although I'll read anything with a good story, I lean toward strong heroines and didn't see that in this book. Guess it just goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover (or synopsis). Finnikin is a cross between a tortured soul and firm believer in the future. His strength comes from his continuous optimism for the future of his cursed kingdom, while being shadowed by his fears of the role he may have to play for it to survive and his own wants. Together, it gives his character a balance that's constantly on the rocks. Finnikin is no more perfect than you or I, and neither is his "partner in crime." What starts out as distaste for the novice Evanjalin quickly turns into a friendship to rival the trio from Harry Potter or Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings. Evanjalin, like Finnikin, possesses secrets that haunt her each day, with little to relieve the pain from the terror that afflicted her family. She brings to the table the stubbornness and snark I'm more familiar with in a leading lady (although I don't know if some would describe her as a "lady").

    Here is where I get to the story. If I picked it apart, I'd say that the novel is more character-driven, as each decision is hinged not so much circumstance as what the characters feel is right. The storyline is full of emotion and rash choices, raw and unpredictable. It's relation to a person's decisions in life makes it that much easier to follow. I enjoyed reading through the other "supporting" characters points of view as well, but my only real critique of this book would be that I wanted more of Finnikin, and maybe Evanjalin. I'll be the first to admit I was literary-crushing on Marchetta's leading man. But that aside, the romance element of this book really blew my mind. Since the love triangle has plagued the young adult genre of late, I've been finding myself more and more put-off by it. Does Finnikin have a love triangle? Hell no. I actually experienced the relationship growth between Finnikin and Evanjalin. Yes, I expected it to happen once I got into the story but I didn't expect to live it. And it's toned down enough that readers who aren't big fans of romance in their fantasy adventures would still enjoy the story for everything else it has to offer.

    I finished this book less than ten minutes before writing this review and I'm already feeling the pang of loss one experiences after leaving a fantastic literary world (I think the image I posted earlier today sums it up). This book is for all ages, all genders, and fans of all genres (except maybe horror, but that's a different story). I recommend this to anyone looking of an adventure of what happens when a kingdom is cursed and only you and your friends can save it. What a wild and emotional ride. I can't wait to go on another with the sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013


    I found this to be okay, but lacking that special something to make it great. I needed more character development and less mudling throygh the woods. Entertaining, just not a must-read or a new favorite for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Everyone should read this

    An amazing series! Melina Marchetta is the BEST author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Fantastic book!

    The story is engrossing and well-written. It's a book I didn't want to end.

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  • Posted September 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you like books like Graceline then you will absolutely love t

    If you like books like Graceline then you will absolutely love this book. It starts out with a broken kingdom and broken people and how unexpectedly they come back together. Such a great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012


    Great read! I couldn't put the book down.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    This is one of those "can hardly put it down" books

    Ms. Marchetta has done what it seems few people try to do. She has woven together a complex, beautiful, tension filled story with no profanity, sex scenes, or vulgarity. She was not in any way limited by this. An amazing story for adults and children. I hope to read more of her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    I liked it!

    This book showed up on my Goodreads recommendations, and I really enjoyed it. It started a little slow, but I liked the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Stunningly beautiful.

    A beautifully crafted story with intriguing characters, epic journeys, a kingdom with very little hope and a love that will touch you. Truly one of the best woven tales I've ever had the pleasure to journey through. An adventure you must make.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 86 Customer Reviews

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