Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Froi of the Exiles

by Melina Marchetta
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, c2012.

The second book in the Lumatere Chronicles, which began with Finnikin of the Rock.

Queen Isaboe and her consort, Finnikin, are establishing themselves in Lumatere, while the former exiles and those left behind pick up the pieces of their lives. The kingdom of Charyn, who invaded them, is still a great threat though it is under a great curse: ever since the birth of the Princess Quintana, no one has been able to have a child. Quintana herself has prophesied that the "last shall birth the first," which resulted in all last borns being marked and watched; however, no one knows if this is a true prophesy or the ravings of a madwoman. Froi, one of the exiles returned with Finnikin and Isaboe, is commissioned to assassinate the king of Charyn, still a threat to Lumatere.

"Finnikin" was Melina Marchetta's first fantasy book, and - though I liked the story - it showed. Froi of the Exiles still has a lot of tropes and some predictable plot directions, but I liked Froi's complex character and found this to be a much smoother read overall. Of course, that could be partially my bad memory talking too, as I found the beginning an exercise in reacquainting myself with the characters and their situations because I'd forgotten so much about the first book. I enjoyed the continued world-building, the pacing of the story, the characters of Froi and Quintana and the Lumaterans - such as Lucian - that we revisit and see in a new light. Fans of Graceling will find much to enjoy in this trilogy.

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