20 January 2011

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Following the "five days of the unspeakable," Finnikin holds onto the memories of afternoons spent with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian . . . friends who have been lost to him in the destruction of their country.  But when Finnikin is summoned to meet with Evanjalin, a young woman who claims that Balthazar is still alive and that Finnikin must travel with her to get to him, he's both afraid and drawn to this adventure.  Finnikin doesn't know if he can believe that his homeland can be put back together, fearing that disappointment would destroy him too.  And yet, the belief in the survival of the Prince disallows him to refuse the journey.

Evanjalin turns out to not be who Finnikin believes her to be -- but will she lead him to destruction or to a new level of life?  There is a lot to this story and the plot moves slowly, deliberately, and solidly for the majority of the book; it is not until the end where the pace picks up rapidly, unceasingly, and unrelentingly, making for a heart-pounding and ultimately extraordinarily successful story.  By the end of this one, you'll know the characters almost as well as they might know themselves.

Melina Marchetta is a Printz Award-winning author, so of course she's worth checking out.  This is her first fantasy novel.  Recommended to high school readers looking for a good solid book and who are willing to put in the time it takes to get to the fantastic finish.
Call number: YA MARCHETTA; YA CD MARCHETTA (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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