Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The first 3/4 of this book were wonderful - but that last 1/4 dropped it from a 5 to a 3.
The story of Finnikin and Evanjalin, the "lost" land of Lumatere and their travels to break into the cursed kingdom really kept my interest; all the different lands they went to, their adventures with Froi, and the eventual return to Lumatere was written in such a way as to interest readers of both genders (I particularly liked the Southern Yuts). The author's choice of names that sounded just familiar enough, but also just a little bit different helped create a world that felt real.
Unfortunately, the last bit devolved into a love story that, well, didn't fit in with the rest of the book. Painful as it was to hear about Lady Beatriss' life during the time of darkness, and interesting as it was to see this country come back to life, the will-they-or-won't-they parts just lost me. I was also unimpressed with the Big Reveal about who (or what) the resurdus would be, ditto why Evanjalin was so important.
I was pleased to see that this book ended - no tantalizing "what will happen next" phrases, no "to be continued" cliffhanger. If this does turn into a series, with luck it will be similar to Cashore's Seven Kingdoms trilogy, with books that stand alone.
ARC provided by publisher.
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