Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles Series)

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles Series)

4.4 87
by Melina Marchetta

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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

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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

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

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)
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

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Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Lumatere Chronicles Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.20(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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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