“Blood sings to blood, Froi…”
Words are in my blood. They speak to me and affect me on a cellular level. When you read a good story with awe-inspiring, beautiful words, you feel it in your bones. That’s what Melina Marchetta’s words do to me. Her words sing to me, and none so much as the books of the Lumatere Chronicles.
I must thank my dear friend Fabienne for recommending these books to me. “They are to me what Harry Potter is to you,” she told me. With such a recommendation as that, I couldn’t help but read them. I wasn’t holding my breath to be swept away. How wrong I was.
Melina has expertly created a world that feels real, with breathtaking imagery and a history that makes me want to look it up in a textbook. But what is most amazing is her complex characters and the intense emotions she gives them to deal with. Be prepared for heartache and sorrow and anger and joy when reading these books.
”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.
Forget reading all the greats, Melina. I think you’ve earned your place with them.
Book one takes us on a journey with Finnikin of the Rock. Ten years after the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and the land cursed, trapping those within its walls, Finnikin and his mentor Sir Topher are wandering the surrounding countries and visiting the despairing and destitute exiles in their camps. They meet up with the mysterious young novice Evanjalin, who claims her dreams can lead them to a surviving royal heir and a way back into Lumatere. But Finnikin suspects she is hiding something, and when the truth comes to light, his faith in her and everything he knows will be tested.
It’s been three years since the curse on Lumatere has been lifted, and the one time thief Froi believes he has found a home there. He has found a place with the Guard and shares a fierce friendship and loyalty with the Queen and Finnikin. When he is sent on a dangerous and secret mission to Charyn to assassinate the royal family however, he finds more than he expected in the dark and twisted royal court of barren Charyn. The strange kinship he feels to the people he meets and his attraction to the half-mad princess make it difficult to carry out his mission…and soon Froi finds himself in the middle of a massive political upheaval.
The epic conclusion to this series brings all the stories of all our beloved characters to an end. Froi has been separated from his love, the Princess Quintana and their unborn child and he will stop at nothing to find her again. He and his companions travel through Charyn looking for her, all the while building an army in Quintana’s name to ensure her rightful place on the throne. Meanwhile in the valley between Lumatere and Charyn, Quintana hides and waits for her child to be born. She and Queen Isaboe engage in a struggle of power, politics and personal prejudice with a bittersweet ending.
And there you have it. Three intricately crafted, incredibly well-written books to make up one fantastic trilogy. I highly recommend giving them a try. Like all good books, the Lumatere Chronicles inspired me and made me want to write – so much so that it was fight between my desire to keep reading (I didn’t want to put the books down!) and getting up to write! So if you’re looking for something new to read, head to your local library or bookstore and pick up a copy of Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock.