HNS Book Review: Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta


Title: Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 401
Year: 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Purchased
Amazon l B & N  l Book Depository

At the age of nine, Finnikin’s world is shattered by the five days of the unspeakable: the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, an imposter seizes the throne, and a curse binds all who remain inside the kingdom’s walls. Those who escape are left to roam as exiles.

Ten years later, Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, are summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, the heir to the throne of Lumatere and Finnikin’s childhood friend, is alive, and she can lead Finnikin to him. Even as he suspects this arrogant young woman, Finnikin also begins to believe that Lumatere might one day be raised. – Goodreads Summary


Froi of the Exiles

Title: Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 593
Year: 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Purchased
Amazon l B & N  l Book Depository

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home … or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior’s discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood … and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.Goodreads Summary


Quintana of Charyn

Title: Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 593
Year: 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Purchased
Amazon l B & N  l Book Depository

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. –
Goodreads Summary

Reviewer’s Thoughts:

I proclaim this is the year I fell in love with Melina Marchetta.

A fair warning to everyone, this is not a full review of any of the books, but instead a quick overview discussing what I found thought provoking about the series.

This is a spoiler free analysis.

Lumatere Chronicles is a radical, progressive tale about a nation trying to restore it’s honor.

Finnikin of the Rock is a great introduction to hesitant readers who are slowly grasping the concept of the series. It is beautifully written, filled with remarkable characters and gripping plot. Readers will get more than what they asked for. I am simply blown away by the simplicity and spot on narration.

The sequel, Froi of the Exiles is quite difficult to rate. I thoroughly liked it. As a matter of fact, this is where I met one of my favorite female characters, Phaedra. But I still find some of the parts lacking. I suppose because I expected to form a firm attachment to the new characters. Don’t fret, however, because the next installment will be better company.

The concluding book, Quintana of Charyn, on the other hand, is the deal breaker. Marchetta skillfully wrapped up Lumatere Chronicles.

Marchetta deftly established the cultural background, significance, and differences of each nation. It truly shows the subtle, but rich world building in the text.

For instance, Phaedra’s accent compared to the native Lumaterean intonation, the rich and diverse languages and vocabulary differs when it comes to various countries, what their clothing and land looks like, what their traditions and vital livelihood are made up of and the color of their skin among other things.

Marchetta’s political message was deliberate and calculated.

Lumatere Chronicles also tackled the animosity between societies. Racism, sexism and classism.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from Froi of the Exiles. What a very powerful scene. I can’t highlight it enough.

They meant no harm,” she heard Tesadora say at her shoulder.

Phaedra walked away, scrubbing away tears, not realising she was crying. She was tired of feeling shame. She was tired of feeling helpless all the time.

“Did you hear what I said?” Tesadora asked, gripping her arm.

” They say were dirty,” Phaedra cried, pulling free. “Luci-en says were useless. Your queen says were murderers. I overheard the Mont lads say we should be rounded up and set aflame. Were barren. We worship too many gods. Our bread is tasteless. Our faces are plain. We cry too much. Our fathers abandon us. We dont understand kinship. Were pitiful!”

Phaedra shook her head. “If your people mean no offence, they should not speak their thoughts out loud in front of their children, Tesadora. Because it will be their children who come to slaughter us one day, all because of the careless words passed down by their elders who meant no harm.”

Tesadora stared a moment and then a ghost of a smile appeared on her face.

“Strange things happen when we stand face to face with our enemy, dont they, Phaedra of Alonso?”

The unsurprising thing that strikes me about this saga is that Marchetta didn’t shy away from her usual brand. Who would have ever thought a high fantasy series would also touch the ache, loneliness, and depression with a strong emphasis? It usually gets swept under the rug for the sake of the swashbuckling, tyranny story line. However, Lumatere Chronicles has many interweaving threads. A reader can’t seem to take a break.

In addition to this series’ handful of depth and layers, this story is highly fueled by its remarkable characters. I love how Marchetta illustrates the depth and fragility of family and friendship.

From its brilliant world building, bloody politics, portrayal of justice and feminism, I would heartily recommend Lumatere Chronicles to readers who are looking for a classic high fantasy book. 

About the Author

Kerly Sue is a self-proclaimed book reviewer and contributing writer at Hollywood News Source, formerly known as Young Adult Hollywood. In addition to being a full time book junkie, Sue also runs the first fansite for Vampire Academy’s Lucy Fry. When she’s not tucked between the pages of her books, you can find her screaming like a banshee on her personal blog. You can also follow Kerly Sue on her instagram and goodreads.

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