Froi of the Exiles is released in North America today! Yay! And we’re giving away a copy! More yay!
We’re very excited! Froi is the sequel to Finnikin of the Rock (which we all had fun extolling yesterday) and takes place three years after the events in that book. We see Finnikin and his wife again (I’m trying not to spoil the events of Finnikin, but no promises), and we follow them as they try to help a kingdom rebuild itself. We see Trevanion again and watch him try to reclaim the life he had before. We see Lucien taking up his father’s position and leading his people, even though he thinks he’s failing at it. And, most of all, we see Froi sent on a secret mission in an neighboring kingdom. A mission that will show him the truth about his past and leave him questioning his future.
I don’t remember crying at all while reading the book, which is very rare for me. I remember being devastated at different points. I remember the one time I laughed. One time. I usually laugh a lot during Melina Marchetta books. But there were no tears. When I put the book down (figuratively, it was an ebook) I was confused. No tears? I’m not a no tears person. Earlier today I teared up just thinking about the ending of Wall-E. …yeah. Please don’t make fun of me. So, yeah, confusion. Then…about five minutes after I finished Froi of the Exiles, I just burst into tears and cried at my computer for like ten minutes. The thing with Melina Marchetta books is, even though they are bleak and devastating in the middle, they always end with hope and life and happiness. But, because Froi has a sequel, it just ends in the middle of the bleak. And I need more!
I need to find out what happens with Lucien! And and and Phaedra! Oh, I wish those two had their own book. And Finnikin and Isaboe! I liked that they were (mostly) happy and together and starting their own family. And I loved every moment of Trevanion. Every single moment. Quintana, I think, is the most interesting and difficult character Marchetta has ever written. She is so broken and tragic but had to be relatable without her situation being made light of. The whole book was so intense and so dark, it hurts my soul to leave the characters where they are. I want everyone to make peace with everyone and to be happy.
In short, I loved this book and the relationships and the confusing, messy family situations. I liked that nothing was simple or quite how it seemed and I need to know what is going to happen!
One of my favorite things about Froi is that it didn’t abandon the hope I felt at the end of Finnikin. It left me, of course, a quivering, sobbing mess. But I remembered Froi’s beginning and I remembered Finnikin’s end and I felt like these characters could maybe overcome this impossible situation they were in. That maybe is really all you can ask for in a book like Froi. I loved how we are told three years have gone by, but we see it too. We see what it’s done to the relationships of the characters we care about and we see what the magnitude of what Finnikin‘s ending has created without tying it all up in a bow. And I loved how we expanded on this world that Melina Marchetta so stunningly crafted. I said yesterday that the world of Finnikin was a character in its own right, and it was developed just as much as Froi.
Froi was not an easy book to read. In many ways, Froi was damn near painful to get through. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it was too good. It was so visceral, so honestly gut-wrenching, that I don’t think I’ve felt a book this way since the Chaos Walking trilogy. A lot of that had to do with Quintana, who broke my heart into a million pieces. And Froi, who broke it into a million more when he tried to piece hers back together again. It’s hard to follow up the story of two characters like Finnikin and Isaboe who are two of the most perfect imperfect characters ever written. But Froi and Quintana went to a depth of complexity that’s hard to even think about attempting to explain, especially without giving away the store (and trust me, y’all, when I say this isn’t a book you want to be spoiled for). They’re almost perfect foils to Finnikin and Isaboe, and that helps to make Froi work. There are two sides of what happened in the war with Lumatere. There are two sides to its rebirth, and, through Froi and Quintana, it was amazing to read how differently two different kingdoms could respond.
I could seriously talk about Froi forever. I could talk about another perfectly rounded supporting cast; I could talk about writing so beautiful it made me weep; I could talk about the sheer mastery that Melina Marchetta displays when it comes to showing and not telling; I could talk about how she’s pretty good at that whole telling bit, too, writing the kind of dialogue that’s so real and natural you feel like you’re sitting right there. Much like Finnikin, Froi was one of those books for me. Those books you read on your mom’s couch the day after Christmas and finish right before you have to drive five hours, which you pretty much spend alternating between sniffles and sobs. But for now all I’ll say is that Quintana cannot get here soon enough. And neither, for that matter, can the Froi audiobook.
I haven’t read Froi. This might not seem like much of a shock, as it is only being released in the US today, but I actually bought the book from a New Zealand company when the book came out in Australia—in October. I can give you lots of excuses, but it boils down to being really busy and wanting to have the time to read it properly. You can’t blow through a Marchetta book, the writing deserves to be savored. I can say this, I’m so excited to see Froi’s continued growth. His redemption as a character was one of my favorite parts of Finnikin. I don’t know when I’ll be able to sit down and really give it the uninterrupted time it deserves, but I already know I’ll love this book as much as Finnikin, even with the wicked cliffhanger. Please note: Melina Marchetta receives my only Wicked Cliffhanger Dispensation.
I haven’t read Froi as well. Eek. You may commence throwing spoiled fruit at me if that makes you feel better. I do have reasons, though. Not good ones, granted, but I try to convince myself they’re good ones every time I look at Froi sitting on my bookshelf. The first is I had several commitments to other books already in place and the second is I heard there’s a cliffhanger at the end. I am the absolute worst person to tell when there’s a cliffhanger at the end of a book because all I’m tempted to do when I finally do pick it up is read the end. I have zero willpower when it comes to this, unless it’s an ebook. Since it’s so much harder to read the end and then go back to the place I was at on my Kindle, I read as many very tempting books on it as I can. (Like Mockingjay.) Now that Froi has come out in the US and I can finally get it on my Kindle, that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.
I’m excited to see the places everyone from Finnikin is in several years later. I’m excited to see Froi again and see how he’s changed or grown. I can’t wait to get sucked into Lumatere and its politics and people.
We’ll be ordering you the book from Book Depository so if you live in a country Book Depository ships to, then you can enter!