Froi of the Exiles Melina Marchetta
I have been thinking about this book for months, trying to figure out this review.
It's been three years since the end of Finnikin of the Rock. Lumatere is trying to rebuild and heal, communities and families that were kept apart are slowly finding ways of being together again.
Because recovery is never easy.
The politics are worse, as Lumatere tries to find peace with the neighboring countries who turned their backs on the exiles, who didn't try to help. Plus, the ever-present threat from Charyn, which is driven ever more home by growing number of Charynites camping on banks of the stream that serves as a border.
Froi, who is now a member of the Queen's guard, is sent into a Charyn as a spy, but what he finds there is unexpected. Charyn is also living under a curse--no child has been born in nearly 18 years. Froi is sent into the heart of a royal court with a mad princess, a scheming regent, divided loyalties, estranged families, and a plot to fix everything that his very presence has ruined.
It's Marchetta, so nothing is easy or clean. No country is all good or all bad and rulers made horrible decisions based on the best information they have. Our heroes muck everything up royally and don't even know it.
Finnikin of the Rock drew me in slowly. I read it and thought "ok, it was good, not my cup of tea, but I see why people love it" but I just kept thinking about it, and turning back to reread certain sections. Before I knew it, I had reread the entire book and by the end of the weekend, it was one of my favorite books of all time.
Already in love with Lumatere and Froi, this one didn't need that slow build. It drew me in right away. I was initially disappointed because some truths about Froi's background are painfully obvious to the reader from the get-go. But there are always hidden twists and layers, so it didn't matter that I had already figured out a central piece. And as more and more goes wrong, and our characters fail us in the most human of ways.
Nothing is clean or easy and when I finished this book I screamed and threw it across the room.
And I mean that in the best possible way. Because the events are done oh-so-well and reactions are only too believable and my heart is stuck in Lumatere and I fear for everyone.
Also, I didn't realize this is the second book in a trilogy, so I THOUGHT SHE WAS GOING TO LEAVE IT THERE FOREVER. And that would just be too cruel for words.
But, in the end, Froi of the Exiles did have the slow build, because again, my initial reaction was wrong. Because after a day of stomping about, I kept thinking about it, and not just the skill that could evoke such emotions in me, but in everything else (I'm trying not to be too spoilery. Sometimes it's all in the reveal) and, once again, Marchetta drew me in and I realized that this is a worthy sequel.
I'm failing in conveying how good this book is.
Read Finnikin first, if you haven't yet, or if you're looking for an excuse to reread it, and then read Froi.
ARC Provided by... the publisher, for work stuff
Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.