Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.
But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.
Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock—to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
I loved this book. It's an honest to goodness real fantasy book. There's trials and tribulations. a main character who's suffered hardship and has to make hard decisions, the heroine is tough and strong and takes no prisoners. Marchetta writes beautifully and is a master of words. The secondary characters were strong and well developed. I saw stories galore that could be told about the secondary characters because there was just so much character to them. I want to hear the stories of Froi, Perri, Beatriss, Lucian and the guards.
I also loved Finnikin and Evanjalin's romance. It was slow and developed through trials. Finnikin had to learn to trust Evanjalin even though he knew from the beginning that she was hiding something and manipulating everybody.
I do have to admit that it took me a little while to get into the book but once I did, I was lost in Lumatere and didn't want to come out. I was so disappointed when the story was over and wanted to immediately start reading the second book. I borrowed this book from the library but will definitely be buying a copy for my own library.