Thursday, July 29, 2010
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
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.