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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere #3) by Melina Marchetta

There's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn's unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn's war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

Released: September 26th 2012          Pages: 516
Publisher: Candlewick Press              Source: Library

After reading Finnikin of the Rock, I waited over two years to read Froi of the ExilesI don't know why.  I shouldn't have waited so long--I was missing out!  Because of this, I made sure to get my hands on the trilogy's finale, Quintana of Charyn, as soon as possible.  And I'm glad I did.

First, we're going to talk about the cover.  Do we have to have a weapon on every YA high fantasy cover? Casually scrolling through my Goodreads shelf, I found over a dozen covers featuring weapons.  And that's not even counting all the covers featuring people holding weapons.  Some weapon covers are cool, but some feel more like "this is fantasy so we felt like we should throw a sword or something on the cover, in case you couldn't tell it was fantasy".  This book falls into the latter category.

Anyway.  I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  Melina Marchetta is awesome at creating complex characters.  I spent much of this series like this:

Tell me your secrets, Melina Marchetta!  I want to know how she does it.  Every character is so beautifully constructed.  They are full of flaws, which makes them human.  And yet, they're such good people and you can't help but root for them.  They are complex and unpredictable, in the way that humans are.  At the same time, every move they make feels true to their character.

I love Froi.  He's courageous and sensitive and witty.  He has a lot of pain inside of him, but he still have an enormous capacity to love, and that's what I like about him.  He just doesn't give up.  His love for Quintana is an example of romance written right.  They have a complicated relationship, just like basically anyone in real life, but at they core, they really truly love each other. 

My only criticism of this book was that, for a majority of the novel, Froi's storyline was the only one I was truly invested in.  The rest--Phaedra's story, Quintana's, Finnikin's--didn't quite bore me, but I never could care about them as much as I cared about Froi's story.  I was never quite sure why Quintana had the only first person chapters, but it didn't bother me either, so I just went with it.  

Overall, this was a satisfying conclusion to an awesome series.  Though Froi of the Exiles is my favorite of the trilogy, this was still good.  It's exciting, intense, and quite dark in places.  And yet, it never loses hope, and never loses the reader's attention, either.  Highly recommended.

Similar Books: It's a dark, intense high fantasy with incredibly complex characters like Falling Kingdoms, The Demon King, and even A Game of Thrones.  It would also appeal to fans of fantasies such as The Girl of Fire and Thorns, In the Hall of the Dragon King, or The Poison Throne.
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