I’m Sarah, and I know what you’re thinking – of course it’s Sarah! But nope. I’m a different one. I’m a good friend of Sarah-Elizabeth’s and have been lucky enough to have been asked to write an article for her gorgeous blog The Spanish Bluebell. You may have heard my name mentioned in regards to our little ‘Sarah Dates’, the most recent one which involved us hitting the mall to see the new movie Into the Woods and grab a Frappuccino. I always love hanging out with Sarah-Elizabeth, and now I’m here to share with you a book review of my very favouritist series: The Lumatere Chronicles by the exquisite Melina Marchetta.
I ran across the first book in this series Finnikin of the Rock, years ago, while I was still rampaging my way through reading the entirety of my High School’s library material. As Kristin Cashore (author of The Graceling Realm series) quoted, the series is ‘Dark and beautiful and utterly believable.’ I immediately fell in love with the twisted story of one boy’s journey in reuniting his broken kingdom, falling bitterly and passionately in love, and in becoming a man. Years later I came back to the book, not remembering who the author was, and discovered it was indeed written by Melina Marchetta, who had in the interlacing years become my favourite author with her works such as Looking For Alibrandi (which has been made into a movie), Saving Francesca (which I’m currently reading at the moment), and On the Jellicoe Road (which was arguably my favourite book, before I came across The Lumatere Chronicles). It’s hard to argue which book is a favourite over the others, as it’s like trying to choose between children! I happen to love reading, and then a wee while ago I discovered that Finnikin of the Rock, had been followed by two more books, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn. Obviously the series skyrocketed to the top of my reading list, and true to form once I started, I couldn’t stop!
The series premise goes like this: ten years ago a tragedy so unspeakable, that it led to the division and destruction of a kingdom’s identity, ripped through the small kingdom of Lumatere, sending shock-waves of agony through the kingdoms surrounding it. The brutal murder of the royal family, and the seizing of the throne by the Imposter-King, lead to a dark curse being cast over the land, trapping half a people within the kingdom walls, and sentencing those outside, to exile. Until now. Ten years later Finnikin of the Rock meets the unsettling and mysterious novice, Evanjalin, who claims to walk through the sleep of the surviving heir: Balthazar. Over the course of the series the main characters, who include Finnikin, Froi of the Exiles, and the mad princess Quintana, of neighbouring Charyn, as they try to piece back together their kingdoms, and fight for the love, for the rights of their people, and for their survival.
This is a warning: I have never read a series so totally brutal. I cried more over this series, than any other series that came before it. That being said, I have never read any more so emotionally enriching, so hopeful, so real. The genre may be fantasy but Melina Marchetta speaks the truth so well it’s almost gospel. She points out the things no one wants to mention, and if you take a good look at her work you’ll find some uncomfortable similarities to the cruelty and negligence we find in the world around us. However these books are packed to the brim with wit, and have plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. If you enjoyed reading The Graceling Realm series, or The Hunger Games, then you’re sure to love this series. Thanks for reading, and a big thanks to Sarah-Elizabeth for having me on her blog!
Perhaps I’ll see you again soon!