Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Viking Australia on September 29th 2008
Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.
I chose this book for my first review for one simple reason. I Love it. I first read this book when I was around 11 or 12 but I still regularly re-read it almost a decade later.
This book contains so many of favourite elements of fantasy novels; kings, queens, curses and epic journeys. It weaves an engaging story that draws you into the world. However, whilst I do love the plot it isn’t even my favourite thing about this book. Marchetta creates such a strong cast of characters with complex interpersonal relationships. There is such a clear development of all the relationships, and not just romantic ones. There is a really intense focus on familial and platonic relationships, which is a nice change from all the love triangles that dominate young adult fiction. The sense that the characters care about each and are invested in each other’s wellbeing pervades the story and elevates it above other young adult fantasy novels.