This month's OBC book is Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. I've not read it yet myself, but I'm hoping to get a copy soon. I've only heard good things about it!
Discuss away! :D
So, I started this yesterday on a plane trip, and I'm really liking it! I'm about halfway through.
I struggled a little bit to get in to it at the start, but I think that was probably mostly because I was tired and I'd only finished The Sending about an hour beforehand, so what I really wanted to be reading was The Red Queen! But after the first few pages I really got in to it.
I love all the characters, especially Evanjalin. The whole idea of the story is really interesting too, and not what I was expecting. I thought this'd be more set in the real world and Finnikin would be a leprechaun or something. Don't know where I got that idea from, probably just his name! But it's not, it's a full fantasy novel in its own world.
Everyone should definitely get their hands on a copy, it's really good!
[act]hands a copy of the book to the *dpm*[/act]
(If I'm going to talk to myself in a thread, may as well make it obvious to everyone to come read my ramblings! :P )
So, in the end I loved this book!! Was so eager to finish it I didn't go to work like I probably should have...
I did not see it coming that Evanjalin was Isaboe! I saw it coming that Finnikin was going to be King and be the one to lead them in to Lumatere, but did not see that she was Isaboe at all.
I really like the aspects of prophecy in the book, and I liked the subplot about how scared and guilt wracked Finnikin was about how he thought it was his fault because he'd wanted to be King. I was so happy at the end when Tessadora told him he'd misheard it, that he was going to be her King.
I loved all the characters, Trevanion, Sir Topher, Froi, Evanjaline/Isaboe, Finnikin, everyone! Loved their relationships, and how things weren't easy and perfect, like Lady Beatriss and Trevanion.
The chapter written by Froi was amazing too. And how there were lots of funny bits, even in the middle of pretty horrendous things. I loved the last chapter especially, with all the bits about how he wasn't allowed to touch her. Was actually giggling out loud!!
I suddenly have the urge to go and find myself a copy to re-read it Cat-Eyes. (When my library finishes processing The Sending I'll add a few more books to my loans :) )
Having only read it once shortly after it was released, I don't remember much about it except I enjoyed it immensely, especially being surprised by some bits. It was just so different from Looking for Alibrandi. I honestly hadn't expected to enjoy it so much, since I hadn't really been fussed by Looking for Alibrandi. It reinforced for me that I am definitely a fantasy girl :)
I quite liked Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca, which are the only other two of hers I've read, but yeah this is so different. I think I knew it was a bit fantasy before starting it, but since I thought it was about a leprechaun I clearly wasn't very much in touch with what it really was! I think if I'd known it was fantasy, and in a way I sort of half did just in a totally warped way, I would've been a little sceptical about how good it was going to be. Which is a bit stupid really, because I'm perfectly happy to assume that authors I've never read will be good, but somehow if I know I like the author in another genre I think that they won't be able to write this one!
But anyway, the gist of my rambling is, she's a really good fantasy author! Really good at surprising you with twists, and as I said her characterisation is really really awesome. She can clearly write a lot more than just high school angst! :P
Finnikin of the Rock in my favourite of her books. I love all the different characters, and I like the fact that it deals with slightly different issues to some of the more standard fantasy books
I agree Bibliophile, she does cover a lot of different issues to what most fantasy novels do. Sure there are lots of people who've been unable to get back to the Kingdoms, but I don't think I've read a book where the whole Kingdom is unable to get back in or out of their Kingdom!
I had a thought last night though, which is now really bugging me
So, Finnikin mishears / misunderstands Seranonna's prophecy thing when he's a kid, and at the Tesadora tells him it wasn't Her blood will be shed for you to be king like he always thought, but was instead Her blood will be shed for you to be her king.
...What kind of stupid statement is that? If you think of what Tesadora tells him, I'm trying to be subtle here, it ends up being a statement that basically means "To be her king you need to marry her". No, really? All those years of angst for Finnikin, and at best Seranonna was saying in a hideously roundabout way that Isaboe would be Queen.
I'm only about halfway through the book, but like everyone else seems to, I'm loving it! I have to admit, despite only hearing good things about the book, after reading the blurb I didn't think it sounded all that interesting. But I'm intrigued! It's a lot darker and more violent than what I was expecting, I even found the prologue surprising in that way. I find it really interesting from a linguistic perspective as well, all the different languages used in the kingdoms. But that's enough academic interest from me! :P
I have a few thoughts about what may happen, which may turn out completely wrong, but I'm going to say them anyway! (I haven't read any of the spoilered sections above, but when I'm finished the book, I'm most definitely come back to them).
Firstly, Isaboe has got to be alive. Pretty much every time someone in a fantasy book is assumed dead, but their body isn't found, they turn out alive - so Isaboe will too :P
I'm also wondering about Evanjalin's identity. At first I just decided she was Isaboe then I wasn't sure if the ages would fit, then I though once you get older, an age gap of a few years doesn't seem as significant, so maybe that could work. Then I thought maybe she was Trevanion and Bestriss' stillborn child (who hadn't really died), but once again, the age thing. And also the logistics of keeping a weak newborn alive during the days of the unspeakable, especially with the mother dead, would be a little impossible. So maybe that theory is bogus, but it occurred to me when Trevanion said that Evanjalin was his mother's name, so maybe there was some connection there, but maybe all the connection was that she was from the same village. And also, the tension between Finnikin and Evanjalin would be a little misplaced if they did turn out to be half siblings... OK! I've talked myself out of that theory! :P
I'm a little concerned about Froi. I realise that his childhood has been horrific, but if he doesn't do something redeeming in the second half of the book, I'm not sure I want to read the next book (Froi of the Exiles, in which I assume he is the main character).
Oh, and another thing that had me thinking maybe Evanjalin was Isaboe was the fact that Seranonna had said to Finnikin that Isaboe's blood had to be shed if he was to be king. I kind of connect that bloodshed with Evanjalin only being able to walk through the sleep of those trapped in Lumatere at her time of the month. But maybe there's no connection and I should just read the rest of the book! :P
Kaede, I don't think I can reply much to you until you've finished, but when you have I have so much to say!! You're so much better at coming up with theories than me though, I just go along going "Oh, that's interesting..." and not making any connections between things, whether they turn out to be right or wrong!
I know what you mean about the book being different to the cover and blurb. I think she (/her editors) might need to work on blurb writing! The prologue was really interesting, I kept going back to read it after not really being able to take it in in the beginning.
I finished this morning!
Gosh Finnikin was a silly billy at the end when he kept putting off seeing Isaboe/Evanjalin. Just because she's Queen doesn't mean she's a different person Finnikin!
It was horrible reading about what the people trapped in the kingdom with the imposter king and his men had to endure. And their daughters. And Lady Beatriss. It was awful how she and Travanion were reunited, but because of what happened to her, she couldn't feel anything that positive towards him :(
I still don't know what I think of Froi. Obviously he improved and when he claimed to be the heir to let Evanjalin escape from the Charyn guards, it was slightly redeeming, but I just find it so hard to like him and want to read another book about him.
Re what Cat said about Finnikin mishearing Seranonna's prophecy - I thought it was really stupid as well! When she said "there are other ways of shedding blood" or whatever it was, I thought "Really? That's what that was referring to?!?" I prefer to think that my earlier theory was right and the important blood shedding was that which enabled Evanjalin to walk through people's sleep :P
I also liked how the story didn't just end with the exiles making it back into Lumatere and everyone living happily ever after. I like how we got to see some of the "cleaning up" process that the kingdom needed to function again.
I'm pretty sure I thought more, but that's enough for now :P
Yay! You finished!
I like Froi. I mean, I didn't in the beginning, but as he stopped just being a runaway and started learning what it was like to be around people who care about you, I liked him more. Guess that was the point :P I particularly like when he starts wishing people would tell him to go make himself useful. So, I definitely want to read the next book, I have a hold on it at the library. I'll let you know ;)
I like your idea about it being walking through the dreams blood, perhaps when she was cutting her arm so she could get the fever cure. Think I'll be thinking of it like that from now on!
I also really liked somewhere in the first half of the book how Evanjalin used rosemary and eucalyptus on some wound of Finnikin's. Flora's usually so British and European in fantasy books, it was great to have a little bit of Australia included :P
Yes! I was like "What, no willow?" :P