by Melina Marchetta
When Finnikin was a boy, he was friends with the prince, Balthazar, and his cousin, Lucian. They pledge to protect their country, but shortly thereafter Lumatere is attacked, the royal family killed, and many of the people forced into exile. Several years later, an older Finnikin travels many lands collecting the stories of exiles. Called by a messenger, he travels to a convent to pick up a girl, Evanjalin, who walks in the dreams of others and carries hope that Finnikin had long given up believing in.
This story focusing on the plight of exiles is a compelling one, and Finnikin and Evanjalin are really fun characters to spend time with. I especially enjoyed getting to know Evanjalin, who had a strong presence and complex character. I sometimes felt like the story went by too quickly, a bonus when it meant I was reading fast and she packs a lot of plot into one story, but a little negative when I wished for perhaps a slower relationship development between two travelers, for example. Also, some plot developments were foreshadowed early, so I was not too surprised about some developments. Part of it is how much I loved Jellicoe Road, which made it an incredibly tough act to follow in my book. Though I still prefer Jellicoe Road myself, Finnikin of the Rock was a fun, well-told story with memorable characters that I enjoyed reading.