Quintana of Charyn: The Reveiw

c_quintanaofcharyn-681x1024Quintana of Charyn; Melina Marchetta, 2012; Candlewick Press

Quintana of Charyn is Marchetta’s third installment in the Lumatere Chronicles and though I don’t think it was her best, it was certainly the more exciting of the three. Which doesn’t mean that I’m implying the first book –Frinnikin of the Rock– or the second – Froi of the Exile – weren’t. Only that there were aspects about this third book that made the reader want to turn the pages faster than the first two.

One of my favorite aspects about this series is how the author uses race, culture, gender and several generations to weave a story of genocide, forgiveness, acceptance and change. I have to wonder how much of her inspiration hasn’t come from her own country of Australia and the cultural evolution happening between the indigenous people and their European neighbors.melinda marchetta

Another thing I really appreciate is that all of the stories characters are believable; flawed individual’s who may or may not change, trying the best way the can to work through pain, misunderstanding, and deep seated cultural bigotry.

“Froi saw the foolishness of dreamers, and he decided he’d like to die so foolish. With a dream in his heart about the possibilities, rather than a chain of hopelessness.” ― Melina MarchettaQuintana of Charyn

What I found least likable about this finale was first that I don’t think she made a smooth transition from the last scene in Froi of the Exile. What happened there had a profound impact on the characters placement in the third novel and so by not spending  more time in her transition she left me feeling like I’d missed something. And second that I felt like there were too many sub-plots spinning around the central character to really develop Quintana well. Fact is, if I had read the manuscript before assigning a title, I’m not sure I would have given it the same one as the author did. To me the story was more about Phardra and Froi than it was about Quintana of Charyn.

But all in all I’d read it again. It was a nicely told story full of believable characters who grabbed your heart and refused to let go. Marchetta did a wonderful job of blending suspense, romance, intrigue, frustration, anger and joy. If this had been a frittata, I would definitely go back for seconds.

On my reader scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving Quintana of Cheryn 3.5 stars for story and 4 stars for being a great ending to a wonderful series.

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froi of the exiles: The Review

Froi of the exilesFroi of the Exiles; Melina Marchetta 2012, Candlewick Press

This is the second in Marchetta’s “Lumatere Chronicles”, and quiet frankly,  I think “Froi of the Exiles: is  even better than the first,” Frinnikin of the Rock”,. Which for me means that she didn’t lose momentum when she switched main character focus and plot lanes. Like building a collage out of people’s lives, Marchetta has made Froi’s transition from thief, to assassin, to hero as natural as eating peanuts from the bottom of a cherry cola bottle; strange when you first thought about it, but totally makes sense after the first couple of bites.

Another aspect of the authors writing I appreciate is how she has taken a rather intricate back-story and woven its  players and the events that shaped their lives without losing plausibility (something I’ve recently discovered is fast becoming one of my review pet peeves).  I also like that she keeps her story moving at a brisk rate, seldom letting anything, or anyone, settle down long enough to grow grass under their feet.

As I mentioned in my review of “Frinnikin of the Rock”, Marchetta has created an entire new world without losing the reader in language, culture, or (and I can’t stress this enough) politics. Writing a good story, like cooking up a fabulous meal, means that it is crucial that the one serving up the goods knows which spices enhance the foods natural flavors, and which will kill it altogether; a little is good, too much and you might as well order take out. In the world of Lumatere, the author has brought together the perfect blend of culture, politics, intrigue, and romance without letting any one item in particular overpower the others.

On my readers scale of 1-5, I’m giving Froi of the Exile 4.5 stars.

Quintana, the third book in Melina’s Lumatere series, is due to début in the US this April. If her writing  follows true to form, this next one should prove to be better than the first two.

finnikin of the rock: The Review

img_1292199081_15047_1292564612_mod_162_219“finnikin of the rock”; Melina Marchetta, 2008; Candlewick Press

One of the very few challenges I find difficult about reading fantasy,  are those times when a new author creates another world, with characters and languages that are so far removed from this realm, I spend most of my time trying to figure out what in the heck they’re talking about.

Let’s face it,  with my short attention span, if I have to expend a lot of brain cells mastering a foreign language, when I could be reading one in a language I already know (like middle earth), then I’m going for the known every time.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading “finnikin of the rock”, that Marchetta’s new world order didn’t get that reaction out of me. Fact is, she’s done such a great job of integrating the new with the old, that except for a few blips on my screen, there wasn’t that much difference between the world of Lumatere and mine.melinda marchetta

As a first time novice of her work,  I found myself thoroughly enjoying the book; the story is fast paced, interesting, and spiced with just enough intrigue and tension between characters, that it kept me from indulging in my usual three to four books at a time scenario (I like to read multiple books at once so as to keep from becoming bored, should the author hit a flat-line).

I don’t generally like my reviews to be just another synopsis of the book; there are enough people willing to do this you don’t need another. But I would like to comment on the authors infusion of community and the redemptive power of restoring relationships between children and parents; in this case, between Finnikin and his father, Trevanion. It is what ultimately under-girds the entire story and is quiet frankly, one of my favorite aspects of it.

The author may not have rocked my world, but as I said, she made hers interesting enough I was willing to vacation there,  and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series; “froi of the exiles” .

On my readers scale of 1-5, I’m giving “finnikin of the rock” a 3.5.