Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

by

Vanessa Di Gregorio

They call her Quintana the curse maker. The last female born to Charyn, eighteen years past.

I don’t think words can describe this book. I don’t think I can properly convey to you how achingly beautiful and wonderfully epic FROI OF THE EXILES was. If you’ve read FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, the first book in the Lumatere Chronicles, then you know how absolutely AMAZING Marchetta is at writing fantasy. And let me tell you, this second book does not disappoint! In fact, FROI OF THE EXILES is all that FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK was, and more. It’s more complex, more heartbreaking…. just more everything. This book will consume you; it will break your heart over and over again, and it will make you ache. Everything will make you ache. Seeing Finnikin and Isaboe will make you ache. Quintana will make you ache. Slowly putting together the pieces of the past will make you ache. The writing – oh, the writing! – will make you ache. Because everything is beautiful and real and dark and horrifying and mad and wonderful.

FROI OF THE EXILES takes place three years after the events in FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK. Froi, once a savage boy with a savage past, has found a place where he belongs. He’s found a way to deal with his rage and his anger as a warrior. And it is his strength and cunning that makes him the perfect person to head to the kingdom of Charyn on a mission to exact revenge for Lumatere and their curse. But what none of them know is that Charyn is suffering from its own curse.

I can’t get more into the story without spoiling anything, but I will say that it is full of political intrigue, family secrets, lies, ambition, and a horrifying past that must be understood. There are twists and turns that will leave you speechless – and they are constant. Not once during the 600 pages of FROI OF THE EXILES was I bored. I just always, always, wanted more. Unraveling the mystery of Quintana’s birth and the day of weeping, and what happened in the godshouse in the Citavita, will keep you on edge. Learning about Charyn’s curse, and seeing how Lucian and Phaedra, Finnikin and Isaboe, and Trevanion and Beatriss deal with not only their past, but their present, is just amazing. I never once felt overwhelmed by all of the characters. But it did keep me hungry for more.

And Froi – where do I start? He has a dark side – much darker than Finnikin, and much more savage. But there is a part of him who is still a boy looking to belong. He is fiercely loyal, and is such a likable character – especially when you consider how far he’s come since FINNIKIN. But it’s the interactions between Froi and those around him in Charyn – the half-mad Princess Quintana, the brothers Gargarin and Arjuro, savage and lovely Lirah – who make Froi real to me. Who make him crazy and lovable and infuriating and angry and happy and sad and who break his heart and put it back together again.

But I think what really stole my heart was the half-mad, sometimes indignant and sometimes savage Princess Quintana of Charyn. Here was a young woman so wronged her whole life – a woman born of sorrow and pain into a kingdom who blames her for their curse. A girl who is hard to understand or know. She is difficult, and you’ll feel your heart break and reach out for her one second, and then you’ll pull your fingers away the next for fear of her biting them clean off. She is feral and naive, wild and sweet, cunning and sorrowful. You feel sorry for her, but you soon begin to understand why Froi is drawn to her. It’s unsettling, and it’s heartbreaking, but it’s also what made my heart pound in my chest, and put the smile on my face.

FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is easily on my top 10 list of favourite books of all time – and now FROI OF THE EXILES has joined the ranks. I honestly can’t wait for the third and final book in the Lumatere Chronicles, QUINTANA OF CHARYN. So, be warned – if you read FROI OF THE EXILES (which you should), you will hate having to wait for the next one. But if you don’t read it, you won’t cry, and you won’t have you heart broken over and over again, or be horrified more often than not – and you certainly won’t fall in love with so many complex characters. Because once you read FROI OF THE EXILES, you won’t ever want to forget them. And even if you tried to, you wouldn’t be able to.

Vanessa Di Gregorio works in publishing as a sales rep at Ampersand, a book and gift sales agency. She is also a former literary agency intern. When she isn’t out selling books and talking to bookstores, Vanessa can be found over at Something Geeky, GoodreadsTwitter, or writing for Paper Droids.


        

13 Responses to Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

  1. Megan Duff Jul 23 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Oh Vanessa, sister of my soul, when I saw this in my email my heart went aflutter (Oh, FROI!) and I just KNEW that it was you 😀

    I think you did Melina Marchetta and The Lumatere Chronicles justice here. You are so right! It will make you feel all the feels and surprise you (“a literary punch in the boob!” is how I described it to somebody 🙂 and make you question everything in the story and in life. GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS

    Wanna go half-sies on an Australian copy of Quintana??? Then again I don’t know how good I’d be with sharing ;D

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio
      Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 23 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      Hahaha! <3 Megan, I'm beginning to seriously think we are long lost sisters. And yes - ALL OF THE FEELS! Just thinking about FROI makes me ache!

      And I WISH I could go half-sies! But I'm terrible at sharing. I don't think I could stand to part with it! But absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Imagine how it will feel, after such a long wait, to hold QUINTANA in your hands? I'm seriously getting chills just thinking about it!

  2. Alexa Love Books Jul 23 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    I really, really, really want to read this series. It sounds SO GOOD.

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio
      Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 23 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      You MUST. Just look on Goodreads – you will be hard pressed to find negative reviews. Because Marchetta is a GENIUS. A brilliant, disgusting, twisted, and wonderful GENIUS!

      If you read anything I recommend this year, it should be FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK and FROI OF THE EXILES. Closely followed by THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO. 😛

  3. April Tucholke Jul 23 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    I put FINNIKIN on my list a few months ago, after the brilliant Joanna Volpe suggested it. It’s sitting on my nightstand, looking mysterious and charming. I stroke the cover every night, and whisper, “I will read you soon, darling, so soon…”

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio
      Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 23 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      April, I need you to do me a favour. I need you to pick it up and just read the first page. Just one page. Because the next thing you know, you’ll have cried and cheered and felt everything there is to feel. And you’ll flip the last page and you’ll sit there, holding that book to your chest, not wanting to let go.

  4. Marina Jul 23 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    I agree with pretty much every thing you’ve said. But the only thing that started to get to me ((SPOILERS AHEAD)) was the fact that a lot of the main characters, mostly females but men as well, have been sexually abused and/or raped. It was incredibly depressing to read sometimes, just, really hard. And I can’t presume to know what it’s like to live in war or to be abused in such a way, so it was really hard for me to connect sometimes. And I’m going to admit something, I didn’t want to. I think I cried a few times because of how badly I felt for some characters, I wept angry tears for Beatriss (I think every time she was there) and for Quintana. And I wanted to throttle some other characters.
    I’m fairly certain the third book will either make me weep for days or send me into eternal depression. ALL THE FEELS!!

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio
      Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 23 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      You know, I think that’s what I like about Marchetta. I don’t think we’re supposed to have an easy time connecting – I think we’re supposed to feel uneasy and disturbed and even a bit removed by it. I think that’s a bit how the characters themselves feel. Yes, the pain of their suffering comes back to them, but a lot of the time they close a part of themselves away. And it’s sad. And it’s hard.

      Beatriss broke my heart. Lucian, who I wanted to strangle in the beginning, broke my heart in the end. I felt for them. And I liked that nothing was simple, or easy. I don’t think we’re meant to relate to everything. But I think we’re meant to FEEL. And oh man, did I ever FEEL!

      • Megan Duff Jul 24 2012 at 10:30 am #

        I wholeheartedly agree with Vanessa. One of the things I loved so much about these books is how hard it was to connect with these characters. We all have our darkness but luckily we don’t have to live it every day. These characters are extraordinary people in horrible circumstances. The statistics on sexual abuse (1 in every 4 girls I believe) and any kind of abuse are sickening and they make me angry. Yet it’s reality and we can’t just ignore that. It breaks my heart.

        But these characters kept their HUMANITY through it all, it scared them and slowed them and broke them but it didn’t claim them. Even when they were in the wrong, when I wanted to strangle them and yell at them and disown them, they found the light. They found redemption.

        The best books are the ones that challenge you and make you question everything and make you feel for people very different from yourself. And these books did all that and more, masterfully.

        • Marina Jul 24 2012 at 6:10 pm #

          Wow, you guys. I honestly haven’t though of it as being intentional. But I think I understand a little better now. 🙂

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