Marchetta triumphantly concludes the trilogy that began with Finnikin of the Rock, as the kingdoms of Lumatere and Charyn attempt to bridge past atrocities through a new generation of leaders. Although tragedies arise, unity and healing are core themes, compared to the horrors of the previous books. As the title suggests, Quintana—the rightful ruler of Charyn, hidden following the uprising in the kingdom in Froi of the Exiles—is at the center of this final book. Forces conspire against Quintana while her beloved Froi tries to find the queen before her enemies do. One of the hallmarks of this series has been the complexity and attention Marchetta gives to both primary and secondary characters, creating a richly human cast of damaged but noble individuals; she frequently shifts perspective among them, highlighting the pain, joy, and experience that unites them despite prejudice, heartache, nationality, and other sources of division. Readers who have fallen in love with Quintana, Froi, Finnikin, Isaboe, and others will eagerly seek out what fate has in store for them. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Mar.)
Fans of Finnikin of the Rock (2010) and Froi of the Exiles (2012) will find deep satisfaction in this finale to the Lumatere Chronicles. This trilogy, taken as a whole, is stronger than each of its distinct parts. Marchetta, known for her mastery of character, shows herself here to have conquered the intricacies of plot, worldbuilding and theme. All three books demonstrate both the heights and depths of human nature. If the first two books depict two young men with depth and reality, this third applauds the growth and courage of Princess (or Queen, depending on who's talking) Quintana--who is not immediately likable but becomes more admirable as the narrative progresses. Omniscient narration alternates three major stories: of Froi, who searches for Quintana in Charyn, of the residents of Lumatere, and of Quintana, who is in hiding to protect the life of her child. Peppering the tale are details of Quintana's thoughts and longings, which broaden understanding of her personality. A multitude of plot twists and surprises bring together events that seemed complete in the first two books and emphasize the importance of Quintana's story. Readers will have a hard time forgetting the complex, deeply human characters that populate this multifaceted narrative. (Fantasy. 14 & up)
Marchetta, known for her mastery of character, shows herself here to have conquered the intricacies of plot, worldbuilding and theme...Readers will have a hard time forgetting the complex, deeply human characters that populate this multifaceted narrative.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Marchetta triumphantly concludes the trilogy that began with Finnikin of the Rock, as the kingdoms of Lumatere and Charyn attempt to bridge past atrocities through a new generation of leaders...One of the hallmarks of this series has been the complexity and attention Marchetta gives to both primary and secondary characters, creating a richly human cast of damaged but noble individuals...Readers who have fallen in love with Quintana, Froi, Finnikin, Isaboe, and others will eagerly seek out what fate has in store for them.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The plot is more straightforward, while the previous volumes’ excellent features—world-building, plotting, and characterization—continue to shine. Marchetta builds on the reader’s knowledge of this world, adding rich sensory details to enhance the sense of place...A stand-out fantasy series.
—Booklist (starred review)
[T]hose who have read the first two volumes of the Lumatere Chronicles will find this thrilling conclusion both heartbreaking and utterly satisfying. Yet again, Marchetta seamlessly weaves together the personal and the political, exploring the larger societal implications of her characters’ actions while keeping a tight focus on their emotional lives. The obstacles in the relationships among her main characters mirror the tensions built by prejudices and ignorance throughout their lands, and the setbacks they experience as they work toward peace, both as a community and as individuals, are painfully authentic. The romances are sweet but tempered by reality, the triumphs are great but leave many scars, and even the happy ending here is bittersweet in its resolution. It’s a suitably impressive conclusion to an epic series.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Like the other books, this one begs to be read slowly and savored for its carefully crafted plotting, lyrical language, and fully fleshed-out characters.
—School Library Journal
[T]he book will mesmerize readers with several hair-raising moments that ratchet up tension; memorably detailed descriptions provide vivid images of the setting; and Marchetta’s themes of belonging and forgiveness are powerfully wrought. Fans of Megan Whelan Turner and Elizabeth Wein should find this exceptional series especially compelling.
—The Horn Book
Recommend this book for readers of high-brow, realistic fantasy who enjoy stories with just a touch of the magical.
All I can say is, I immediately reread it because I didn’t want to say good-bye to these people. And it’s a Favorite Book Read in 2013.
—A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy (SLJ blog)
Gr 9 Up—This final book in the beautifully complex and sophisticated trilogy picks up right where Froi of the Exiles (Candlewick, 2012) ended. Quintana is hiding from those who want to kill her and steal her unborn child, the heir to the kingdom of Charyn. Froi, wounded but recovering, is desperately searching for her as armies converge to battle over her right to exist. Political misunderstandings and shifting alliances have given rise to distrust between provinces that should be allies. Amid the horrors of battle, there are also moments of humor in not found in the earlier titles, mostly related to child rearing and the idiocy of men, in the women's opinion. It also "looks at the side of wonder as opposed to the disastrous" to paraphrase a favorite saying of some of the characters. Marchetta gives intriguing secondary characters such as Perri, Lucian, Tesadora, and Phaedra their rightful due as she fills in their backstories. But it is the fates of the main players-Quintana, Froi, Isaboe, and Finnikin-with all of their strengths and weaknesses that readers will find so deeply satisfying. Like the other books, this one begs to be read slowly and savored for its carefully crafted plotting, lyrical language, and fully fleshed-out characters.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton