Title: Froi of the Exiles
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Viking Australia
Published: Oct 03, 2011
Buy: The Book Depository
Sometimes (all of the time where Melina Marchetta is concerned), I tend to get very attached to certain stories and can barely think about anything else for days. It happened with Finnikin of the Rock - the first book in the Lumatere Chronicles - and it happened again, and more powerfully, with Froi of the Exiles.
Froi. I don’t even know where to start with his character. I can’t say I was overly fond of him in Finnikin of the Rock, but the staggering amount of growth and maturity he shows in this sequel is astonishing. I was a little unsure of him at first but grew to love - genuinely love - him as the story progressed. Three years later and he is quite a surprising improvement. More than anything, my heart ached for him. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so invested in a character before. With so much depth and so much soul, he has easily become one of my favourite characters of all time – and I never thought I would say that.
We also have Quintana of Charyn, who refused to listen to the rules and skipped straight to the top of my list of favourite characters. All of this before I even got to know her properly. (Though to be quite honest, I don’t think I did get to know her thoroughly – more reason to look forward to the third book). What a strange character she is. With two versions living inside her body, her personality is… undefinable, to say the least. Maybe I am drawn to the peculiar types that like to substitute ‘we’ for ‘I’ and ‘us’ for ‘me’, the types who cannot comprehend winking, and are prone to regular acts of snarling and teeth-baring. Whatever is was about her, I ended up relishing her character as much as Froi’s, maybe even more so. Her past, her life, everything she has had to endure previously tore my heart to pieces. I wish I could give her a hug, even though she would probably hate that.
The story itself is rich in detail and as complex as it leading characters. Quite a few twists caught me off guard, and that ending especially left my jaw on the floor. Nearing 600 pages, Froi of the Exiles is not a light read in the slightest. It is quite a mammoth book to get through, but never did my attention float elsewhere or did I wish parts had been condensed. I actually forgot to eat at one point as I was so absorbed. Choosing between the next chapter and leaving my stomach painfully empty was a surprisingly easy decision to make.
I put off reading Froi of the Exiles for several months now, the reasons to which even I don’t know. Thankfully this means the wait for the next book, Quintana of Charyn, will not be too excruciating. I know I can look forward to an epic conclusion to this series, and if anyone can deliver on my high expectations, it is Melina Marchetta.
Rating: 5 stars