Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: 3/13/12
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Blurb (GR): Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...
Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.
And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, from the internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road and The Piper's Son.
Finnikin of the Rock was a fine fantasy novel in itself, but I think there is more of everything in its sequel. There is more heartache, more pain, more adventure, more mystery, more secrets, more magic, more intrigue and more madness.
Three years after the breaking of the Lumateran curse Froi is sent to neighboring Charyn on a revenge mission. What first is thought to be a simple avenge-and-escape task, quickly becomes something more when Froi learns of a curse hanging over Charyn, a curse that is even more horrifying than the Lumateran one. And the person who seems to suffer the most because of it is the half-mad Princess of Charyn Quintana. Hers is the unbearable and thankless burden to save the country which is about to explode from the inside.
Now, I will refrain from saying more about the plot to stay away from inadvertently revealing secrets and plot twists. Trust me, there are many. But I will tease you with a few things: Quintana - she broke my heart, a poor girl who has to serve her land by doing things most degrading; Lucian - I was ashamed of him in the beginning, I was in pain for him in the end; Froi - he has become a man of wondrous strength and depth and he might have met his match - someone of equal passion and darkness of soul. These are only a few familiar characters that took possession of my heart, but there are more, equally fierce and unforgettable - a couple of old men with dark pasts, a defiant whore, a stuttering idiot girl who finds her worth in spite of everyone calling her useless.
It won't be a proper Melina Marchetta book review if I don't mention how much I cried over it. And, of course, I did quite a bit. I cried because I felt shame and of pity and in triumph.
Froi of the Exiles is a huge book. It is so big, I am actually surprised it wasn't split into two, because, if you look at it, the climax of the story happens at about half way point. But for such a lengthy book, it is surprisingly unputdownable and very tightly written.
You also need to know that this is only a half of the story. The cliffhanger is big, softened only by a mercifully hopeful epilogue.
I remember Marchetta promised not more than a year between publications of Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn. I sure hope it's true. I foresee this wait to be quite agonizing.