Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Froi of the Exiles (The Lumatere Chronicles, #2)

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)Author: Melina Marchetta
Series: Lumatere Chronicles, #2
Publication: March 13th 2012
Pubisher: Candlewick
Hardcover, 596 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

Does this book really need another glowing review? A book with 225 reviews on GoodReads alone and 4.62 average rating? What can it possibly change? Maybe not much, but yes, I believe that it does.

Melina Marchetta is extraordinary. Duh. I won’t sing her praise in this review. Almost everyone who ever gave one of her books a chance knows how brilliant she is. Writing about it here seems unnecessary and a little bit silly since it’s the one thing we all agree on, regardless of our favorite among her books or her characters. And that’s just it, there is no doubt about it: we all have plenty to choose from and we love them all, but we all have a favorite – that Melina Marchetta book we simply cannot live without. My favorite is Froi of the Exiles.

You can try, if you so wish, to convince me that Froi of the Exiles is not a real person. You can tell me that Finnikin, Perri, Phaedra or Lady Beatriss are all products of someone’s imagination – a brilliant someone perhaps, but just characters nevertheless. You can talk at me until you turn blue, you can offer any number of convincing arguments, you can even bring Melina Marchetta herself to tell me to my face that she made them all up (I doubt she would, though), and I still won’t believe you. Here’s a fact: I’ve never seen my best friend in the flesh, and nobody’s trying to convince me that she’s not real. So why wouldn’t Froi be? I just know that he’s somewhere right now, counting to ten before opening his mouth.

The protectiveness I feel towards him after reading “his” book is something I hadn’t anticipated. I went from despising him in Finnikin of the Rock, just tolerating him later on, to loving every little thing about him, the strengths and the many flaws. But I cannot count Froi among my fictional crushes. His story and his raw vulnerability appeal to my maternal instincts and nothing else. (Finnikin is another matter entirely, though, but if I could choose, I’d choose Trevanion.) And in this book, he finally met his match.

Where can I even begin with Quintana of Charyn? First of all, who the hell is she? I still don’t know. Isaboe was so easy to love, but Quintana is nothing like her. Where Isaboe is fierce, Quintana is avoidant. Where Isaboe is kind, Quintana is far more likely to bite your head off. But I’m grateful for the difference between them. With this, Marchetta showed that she is perfectly capable of creating not just easily acceptable heroines, worthy of admiration by anyone’s standards, but also unpolished and infinitely crazy girls you’d die for in a second.

I won’t lie to you, there were events in this book I was able to predict. But the way they were done, the way secrets were brought to light and my emotional reactions to them exceeded all my expectations. There were parts I had to reread three times in order to fully process them and move on. There were parts where I had to stop for a while and do something else because they were too painful. There were moments that made me laugh out loud and there were parts that left me with my mouth open in sheer and utter amazement. There was a bit of everything, except for a part that left me indifferent. That I have yet to find in one of Marchetta’s books.

Now this is where I should write something short and witty to conclude this outburst of admiration review, but I’m drawing a blank. If you live on planet Earth, you’ve probably heard it all anyway. So here’s a useful info instead: the lovely Chachic at Chachic’s Book Nook is celebrating Melina Marchetta throughout the week. There are and will be some pretty awesome guest posts, including a not-quite-awesome one by your two favorite nocturnal librarians. Just click on the button on our sidebar and it will take you straight to her introduction post.


  1. I’ve never seen my best friend in the flesh, and nobody’s trying to convince me that she’s not real. -> Aww is this Lisa? :)

    I love the experience of reading a book that speaks to me. Melina Marchetta has that magic touch that can make you feel like you're reading about actual people and it makes you want to join them inside the book.

    1. Hah! Of course it's Lisa, but don't tell her or she'll let it go to her head.
      And yes, I completely agree with you: with Froi, I feel like I could just step inside and take a walk, you know?

  2. LOL! I loved this review. Great job, Maja!

  3. ACK you guys have been raving over this series I must read it!! Although - and don't kill me - I wasn't a complete fan of her Jericho Road book but I'm def. willing to give this a try!! Mostly because of your reviews of epicness!!

  4. I feel so maternal towards dear Froi too - although he matured a bit in my mind when he was brave enough to take on the prickly Quintana. I love them. And, like you I predicted many of the events of this book (and Finnikin) but it never bothered me. I'm not sure that she even means those events to be surprising when they come. Can't wait to see what you two have cooked up for MM week. :)

  5. A 4.62 average rating on Goodreads? And five beautiful, stunning, and totally deserving stars from you?? I don't know how I've never heard of this series before, but now it's definitely high up on my TBR list -- these books sound so amazing! The definition of a perfect book should be: "The characters feel so real that Maja won't be convinced otherwise." In that case, I'm going to read this book ASAP so I can argue against everyone with you! x)

    AMAZING review, Maja! You definitely convinced me! :) <3

  6. I haven't heard of this feel left out of the loop..your review has me itching to read them!

  7. Your review is a bit too persuasive. Stop messing up my reading order, woman. ;)

    Seriously, I have only read two of Melina Marchetta's books and I can definitely call her one of my favourite authors. Finnikin was such a good read for me that I can't wait to get started on Froi. I'm so glad you loved this book so much! :)

  8. I am convinced I need to read this series soon. You don't gush often and when you do I listen. This is going on my TBR list to read ASAP! Thanks for sharing all the awesomeness of this series Maja.

  9. I thought I had commented on this already. I'm losing my marbles, I tell you...

    Well anyway, brilliant review! I have only read two of Melina Marchetta's books and can still call her one of my favourite authors. I loved Finnikin a lot and can't wait to start this book. I'm so glad you loved it so much, Maja! :)

    1. It wasn't you, sweetie. You have, but it went into spam, for whatever reason. This is the second time I had to pull your comment back from the spam section/folder/whatever. So weird. Apparently, we need to check those from time to time, which I never do.

    2. It thinks I'm spam? :P Nice!

      Wendy Darling's comments nearly always end up in my spam folder which is always so strange. I have to remind myself to check that folder occasionally. :)

  10. I love Marchetta! But I have yet to read any of her fantasy novels. But I do love the way she does contemporary! I feel the same as you do about Tom Mackee! You can't convince me that he isn't real... waiting for me to call him. LOL

    I'll admit, I've been leery about reading this one. I've read a few reviews that don't favor the Froi/Quintana romance, so I think that's my main concern. But YES, just as you mentioned, if anyone can give us a heroine that goes against the grain yet still captures our hearts, it's MM.

  11. I love when you love books, Maja. And you said something here that is so true and that I don't think about often enough--it is better to NOT enjoy something sometimes than to feel indifferent about it. How awful would it be to write a book that elicits no emotional reaction at all? It will never be said that her books are boring or that they make people feel indifferent.

  12. Ha! Brilliant review, Maja! I went through the same score of emotions that you did regarding Froi but he totally turned it around in his book :) I'm so glad you loved this!

  13. Wonderful review, Maja!

    I think Froi deserves all the glowing reviews we can get him - no matter how many of them, we'll never manage to do him justice anyway.

    You found the perfect way to explain why this is such an amazing book: Froi's real, and that's all there's to it. Froi and Quintana and Trevanion and Lucien (Trevanion's yours if you want him, but I'm keeping Lucien), they're all alive in their world and somehow, they manage to affect us as much as if they were our best friends, our family, our lovers.

    I can't wait for the next book! (Think we'll get a 4th one after all?)

  14. This is the second glowing review I've read for this book, ever urging me on to read it. :) Thanks Maja.


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.