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<em>Froi of the Exiles</em> by Melina Marchetta
Vanessa Di Gregorio
"They call her Quintana the curse maker. The last female born to Charyn, eighteen years past." I don't think words can describe this book. I don't think I can properly convey to you how achingly beautiful and wonderfully epic FROI OF THE EXILES was. If you've read FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, the first book in the Lumatere Chronicles, then you know how absolutely AMAZING Marchetta is at writing fantasy. And let me tell you, this second book does not disappoint! In fact, FROI OF THE EXILES is all that FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK was, and more. It's more complex, more heartbreaking.... just more everything. This book will consume you; it will break your heart over and over again, and it will make you ache. Everything will make you ache. Seeing Finnikin and Isaboe will make you ache. Quintana will make you ache. Slowly putting together the pieces of the past will make you ache. The writing - oh, the writing! - will make you ache. Because everything is beautiful and real and dark and horrifying and mad and wonderful. FROI OF THE EXILES takes place three years after the events in FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK. Froi, once a savage boy with a savage past, has found a place where he belongs. He's found a way to deal with his rage and his anger as a warrior. And it is his strength and cunning that makes him the perfect person to head to the kingdom of Charyn on a mission to exact revenge for Lumatere and their curse. But what none of them know is that Charyn is suffering from its own curse. I can't get more into the story without spoiling anything, but I will say that it is full of political intrigue, family secrets, lies, ambition, and a horrifying past that must be understood. There are twists and turns that will leave you speechless - and they are constant. Not once during the 600 pages of FROI OF THE EXILES was I bored. I just always, always, wanted more. Unraveling the mystery of Quintana's birth and the day of weeping, and what happened in the godshouse in the Citavita, will keep you on edge. Learning about Charyn's curse, and seeing how Lucian and Phaedra, Finnikin and Isaboe, and Trevanion and Beatriss deal with not only their past, but their present, is just amazing. I never once felt overwhelmed by all of the characters. But it did keep me hungry for more. And Froi - where do I start? He has a dark side - much darker than Finnikin, and much more savage. But there is a part of him who is still a boy looking to belong. He is fiercely loyal, and is such a likable character - especially when you consider how far he's come since FINNIKIN. But it's the interactions between Froi and those around him in Charyn - the half-mad Princess Quintana, the brothers Gargarin and Arjuro, savage and lovely Lirah - who make Froi real to me. Who make him crazy and lovable and infuriating and angry and happy and sad and who break his heart and put it back together again. But I think what really stole my heart was the half-mad, sometimes indignant and sometimes savage Princess Quintana of Charyn. Here was a young woman so wronged her whole life - a woman born of sorrow and pain into a kingdom who blames her for their curse. A girl who is hard to understand or know. She is difficult, and you'll feel your heart break and reach out for her one second, and then you'll pull your fingers away the next for fear of her biting them clean off. She is feral and naive, wild and sweet, cunning and sorrowful. You feel sorry for her, but you soon begin to understand why Froi is drawn to her. It's unsettling, and it's heartbreaking, but it's also what made my heart pound in my chest, and put the smile on my face. FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is easily on my top 10 list of favourite books of all time - and now FROI OF THE EXILES has joined the ranks. I honestly can't wait for the third and final book in the Lumatere Chronicles, QUINTANA OF CHARYN. So, be warned - if you read FROI OF THE EXILES (which you should), you will hate having to wait for the next one. But if you don't read it, you won't cry, and you won't have you heart broken over and over again, or be horrified more often than not - and you certainly won't fall in love with so many complex characters. Because once you read FROI OF THE EXILES, you won't ever want to forget them. And even if you tried to, you wouldn't be able to.
Vanessa Di Gregorio works in publishing as a sales rep at Ampersand, a book and gift sales agency. She is also a former literary agency intern. When she isn't out selling books and talking to bookstores, Vanessa can be found over at Something Geeky, Goodreads, Twitter, or writing for Paper Droids.