Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: 9 February 2010
Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.People have been telling me that I need to read something by Melina Marchetta for years, and now I finally understand why. I am kicking myself for waiting so long! I intend to immerse myself in all things Marchetta until I have read everything she has ever written. I love authors that can create an authentic, believable, and completely fascinating fantasy world. They have to invent an entirely new world with new rules, new characters with intriguing back-stories, and basically start from scratch. Marchetta does just that.
But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.
Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
I loved learning all about Lumatere and the different types of people involved. There are Rock and River people, Forest Dwellers, and various others that make Lumatere what it is. And that's just Lumatere! There are surrounding cities that govern themselves and speak their own languages. It's all so amazingly complex! The book is a little long, but it has to be to encompass everything that needs to be said.
I wouldn't suggest this book for people who can't handle the gory details. When the synopsis said the king and queen and their children were brutally murdered, well, they were. When the details are eventually discovered... it's sickening. It's horrible to hear about what people do when they try to take something over. What they do their prisoners and the people within the walls... it's awful. You wouldn't think human beings would be capable of such atrocities, but there are people today that still behave that way. The details pertaining to the fever camps, and the abuse some of these people went through... it was hard to read at times.
Overall, I loved the characters and the world Marchetta had created. I can't wait to read more of what she has written. I also can't wait to read the other books in this series! So much happened in the first book, and I was caught off guard at almost every turn. I didn't expect anything that happened. Amazing!