Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Now, I read a fair number of books. I’ve been known to read upwards of three in one day. So, when I say this is the best book I’ve read this year believe me when I say it had competition. And it blew that competition out of the water.

Finnikin of the Rock is a political fantasy in a style all its own. It is about a country that in five terrible days was torn asunder in murder, intrigue, and magic. It is a story of refugees trying to find their way home. And it is a story of a young man and a young woman, determined to save their people and how their ideas in how to do so, clash.

I don’t even know where to begin on describing what I loved about this book. The main characters, Finnikin and Evanjelin are so wonderfully written. Finnikin is such a good balance of determined, indecisive, strong, weak, brooding, smart, funny…I could go on. He has such a passion for his homeland and his people but has lost faith in ever returning home. But he still has this part of him that is reluctant. A part that is afraid of returning home, of discovering who he is as the path back to their homeland threatens to make him more than he ever wanted to be.

Young adult literature likes to use the words “strong female lead” to describe their leading ladies. I never quite understood the phrase until reading this book. Most of the main characters in this book are male. They’re all tough warrior types who have been forced to lead hard lives in constant travel. Then Evanjelin joins their group and,without saying a word, takes over their plans, and proves to them that she has a better understanding of what is going on. Her tenacity and strength are really what made this book for me. From the very beginning she knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it.

These two characters play off each other so well. Watching them grow through the story, and seeing the doubts they had and the regrets they harbored was like watching two real people. They jumped off the page and captured my heart and made it so it was impossible to put this book down.

They are many other fantastic characters, but when I think back on the book, it is Finnikin and Evanjelin that I remember the most. The book is about their journey and their discovery of themselves and each other.

When I reached the end of the book, my greatest wish was to forget it completely so that I could go back to the beginning and read it all over again, fresh. If you can only read one book this month, or this year, make it this one. You will not regret it.


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