Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta is the first book in an acclaimed epic fantasy series.
ten years ago, Lumatere was a peaceful and prosperous kingdom. Finnikin
of the Rock, son of the Captain of the King's Guard and best friend to
the young prince, was enjoying an idyllic childhood. Then came the five
days of the Unspeakable, when Lumatere's rulers were overthrown and many
of her people exiled, while others remained trapped within the
curse-sealed gates of the walled kingdom. Finnikin was left outside the walls with Sir
Topher, the king's trusted adviser, and the two have spent the
intervening years traveling the surrounding kingdoms, trying to help
Lumatere's scattered people. When Finnikin has a dream drawing him to a
distant convent of the Goddess, he hopes to find news of the lost
prince. Instead, he finds a girl named Evanjalin. Finnikin is
disappointed at first, but it soon becomes clear that the girl is more
than what she seems. Will she be the one who helps Finnikin and the
scattered people of Lumatere return to their homeland?
This is an
impressively well-written fantasy, but it was not for me. I just found
the whole thing a little too gritty and brutal, what with all of the
rape and torture and death and vengeance. I disliked all of the
characters to some extent, and I saw the big plot twist coming a long
way off. I can see this appealing to readers who like their fantasy with
darkly flawed characters and plenty of gore, so if it sounds like your
thing, don't be put off by my review.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)