Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin-of-the-Rock

The basics

Title: Finnikin of the Rock

Author:

Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1

- Finnikin of the Rock (September 2008)
- Froi of the Exiles (October 2011)
- Quintana of Charyn (September 2012)

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Goodreads Summary:

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.
Thanks to Hannah for saving yet another series!

In short

Finnikin and Sir Topher meet Evanjalin, and follow her on a journey to find the heir to the throne of Lumatere. He was believed to be dead, but Evanjalin claims that he is alive and in hiding. On their journey to find Prince Balthazar, Evanjalin helps Finnikin reunite with his father, Trevanion, who had been imprisoned. With Trevanion’s help, they begin to find all the Lumateran exiles and convince them to return to Lumatere. At the end of their journey, they learn that Prince Balthazar is not alive and Evanjalin was lying. She is, in fact, Princess Isaboe (Balthazar’s sister and the only remaining member of the royal family still alive). Isaboe and Finnikin are able to break the curse on Lumatere, get rid of the imposter king, and begin the process of restoring Lumatere. She becomes Queen, and Finnikin will be her king.

What went down

  • During the five days of the unspeakable, the entire royal family of Lumatere is murdered and a curse is put on the kingdom. All of its people are trapped inside the kingdom and cannot escape. It is also impossible for anyone enter the kingdom unless the curse is broken.
  • Sir Topher, the King’s First Man, and Finnikin of the Rock, son of the Captain of the King’s First Guard, have been locked out of Lumatere for the last ten years. They learn of a young novice, Evanjalin, who claims that Prince Balthazar is still alive and in hiding.
  • They travel to a cloister in Sendecane to meet Evanjalin, and they decide to follow her on a journey to Sorel (where she claims Prince Balthazar is hiding).
  • Finnikin and Evanjalin are attacked in the town of Sprie in Sarnak and Evanjalin’s ring is stolen. When they go back for her ring, they end up with a horse and the thief, Froi.
  • Evanjalin betrays Finnikin to soldiers in Sorel, and he is imprisoned. It’s there that he reunites with his father, Trevanion, and together they break out of the mining camp.
  • While Finnikin was imprisoned, Froi attempts to rape Evanjalin so she sells him to slave traders in Sorel.
  • They find Lumatere’s Priestking in a fever camp, and they end up rescuing Froi from the slave traders. They convince some of the exiles that is time to return to Lumatere, but they part ways and vow to reunite as soon as they have found Prince Balthazar.
  • Evanjalin reveals that she walks the sleep of the Lumateran people and claims that there is something evil happening to the girls of the kingdom.
  • When they reach Yutlind, they are attacked and their ship sinks. Finnikin is wounded, and the group (Finnikin, Topher, Trevanion, Evanjalin and Froi) hides in the swamp. Evanjalin helps negotiate peace with the Yut people.
  • They are then able to travel to the rock village Pietrodore where the men of the King’s Guard have been living for the last five years. Trevanion is finally reunited with his men.
  • The King’s Guard separates so that they can collect the Lumateran exiles from the various kingdoms where they have been living the last ten years.
  • Froi, Evanjalin and the Priestking stay behind at barn so that they can rest in safety while the men continue on. Evanjalin and the Priestking get sick with the fever and close to death, so Froi departs to try and find Finnikin in time to save them. The men are able to return in time to help Evanjalin and the Priestking.
  • Evanjalin admits that Balthazar is dead and that she lied to get everyone to gather the exiles and follow her back to Lumatere. Froi and Evanjalin leave the others behind because everyone is so angry with her lie. Finnikin has a change of heart, and he decides to follow Evanjalin.
  • They learn that Evanjalin and Froi have been captured and are under guard in a Charynite exile camp.
  • Finnikin reunites with Lucian of the Monts, his childhood friend. Together with the other men, they free Froi and Evanjalin from captivity.
  • Lucian and Finnikin talk about their pledge wounds, and Lucian reveals that Evanjalin is actually Isaboe. He learns what happened on the night of the unspeakable – the story of how Balthazar sacrificed himself and helped save his sister.
  • Finnikin and Isaboe break the curse on Lumatere and everyone is finally able to enter its gates. There is a fierce battle as they fight to take back their land. They are able to defeat the imposter king, and Lumatere is under the leadership of Queen Isaboe.
  • Trevanion learns that his wife, Beatriss, is still alive. However, she has a daughter by another man, and there is a huge rift between the two that prevents them from rekindling their former relationship.
  • Everyone learns that Isaboe was walking the sleep with Tessadora and Vestie, Beatriss’ daughter.

How did it end?

Finnikin stays away from Isaboe for a while because he is angry with her for lying. He is finally able to acknowledge his feelings for Isaboe, and he goes to the palace to propose marriage to her. He offers himself to her – the two debate the dynamics of their future relationship before they agree that she will be Queen and he will be her king.

Anything else?

The different kingdoms:

  • Sarnak
  • Sendecane
  • Belegonia
  • Yutlind
  • Lumatere
  • Osteria
  • Charyn
  • Sorel

Other recaps for this series:

Comments:

  • The only things I’d add, because they’re relevant to Froi, are that by the end of the book, everyone has agreed that Charyn was the mastermind of the days of the unspeakable, and that there will need to be retaliation of some kind; Isaboe orders the poisoning of the Imposter King; and Beatriss’s child is the result of her rape and abuse at the hands of the Imposter King and his minions.

    Otherwise, great work! :)

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