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A Reader of Fictions: Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #26: Froi of the Exiles

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #26: Froi of the Exiles

Froi of the Exiles
Lumatere Chronicles, Book 2

Author: Melina Marchetta
Pages: 593
Publisher: Candlewick
Read: July 31- August 5, 2013
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
Recommended by: Lynn (@kuro_rin01) and Steph of Cuddlebuggery

Description from Goodreads:
From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home ... or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood ... and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Previous Books in Series:
1: Finnikin of the Rock

First Sentence: "Froi's head was ringing."

Oh, internet peoples, you have not lied to me. Finnikin of the Rock was good but rather slow, due to the set up of the word building. Froi, though, is a thing of beauty, and I loved every single moment of it. All the world building in book one was so that the awesomeness could happen now. *happy sigh* If this is indicative of Melina Marchetta's usual writing, it's safe to say that I'm going to be a huge fangirl.

Where Finnikin of the Rock took a couple hundred pages to really get started, Froi of the Exiles had my attention from the first page and never let go. Though just under six hundred pages long, this book in no way felt long. In fact, I would have read more happily. Were it not for my ridiculous system by which I determine what I read next, I would have gone straight into Quintana of Charyn because I have a FIERCE need to know what happens next. If you're hesitant about wading through the world building in book one, it's worth it, because Froi of the Exiles continues to have awesome world building, but also focuses on the amazing cast of characters. The feels have been located!

Marchetta uses a rotating limited third person narration. Even within chapters, the character being followed can change, but there's always a page break to indicate the switch. Usually, in a story like this, with the main characters split into two different places, one of the story lines is boring and you're just sitting there waiting to get back to the juicy stuff. Though Froi's arc was more exciting, I was also desperate to find out what was going on back in Lumatere, so did not begrudge the POV switches in the slightest. Also, even though third is a bit distancing, I still felt very connected to everyone. Melina Marchetta is a great example of showing, rather than telling.

The beauty of this series lies in just how flawed everyone is. No one is perfect, though Finnikin and Isaboe do come close in the eyes of the people; we know their flaws well from the previous book. Most of them are not unusually attractive, except for Lirah; even the others who used to be have had their looks and bodies destroyed. In Froi of the Exiles, the main characters are even more messed up. Froi, an exile from who knows well, has found a home in Lumatere, but is still haunted by the things he did in his past, afraid to really let himself live lest he break his bond to Isaboe. Froi of the Exiles does focus on him more than anyone else, but it's not just about him.

Sent to Charyn to impersonate one of the last borns (literally the last children born to Lumatere eighteen years before), Froi is charged with assassinating the King of Charyn and Quintana, his crazy daughter, as well. Of course, the people and Quintana expect him to impregnate her, also a last born, to complete the prophecy and end the curse of barrenness in Charyn. Froi must confront his past and his demons to survive his mission.

Quintana is one of the most fucked up heroines I've ever read. There's a brilliant description of Quintana by one of the other characters, so I'll borrow that: "'She'll be strangely intriguing...With a touch of mystery and savagery that will bewitch only the bold and courageous among us'" (572). When I called Quintana crazy, I meant that literally. She also is savage, growling at people and prone to attack at the smallest provocation. However, she's also been abused all of her life, both verbally and physically. Since she was thirteen, she's been sexually abused in attempts to end the curse. There's a reason she's so broken, and it's really just impressive that she functions as well as she does.

Other flawed cast members that I really just can't help loving: Lucian, Phaedra, Arjuro, Gargarin, Tippideaux, Lirah, and De Lancey. Yes, I may have just listed most of the characters in the book, but, whatever, they're the best. Every single one of them will give you cause to hate them at some point, but they're so real and trying so hard and I just want to hug them all and force them to live happily ever after.

Speaking of happily ever after, which totally is not happening in Froi fyi, Melina Marchetta writes the freaking best romances. Or, at least, they work perfectly for me. See, she rocks the whole hate to love gambit and that just gets me every time. The couples are angry and mistrusting and awkward, so I'm just sitting there reading and yelling at them to get over themselves and realize how perfect they are for one another already. With most of the romances in this series, the couples almost don't show one another affection at all, but it's there, and I suspect it doesn't bode well for me that I find that so emotionally appealing. Odds are that several of my ships are going to be separated by death and GAH my body is not ready.

My only slight reservation with Froi is that it felt like Marchetta pulled her punches there at the end. Some really serious shit had gone down and I was about to cry an ocean worth of tears, but then I realized that nothing was really as big of a deal as it was made out to be. On the one hand, I'm happy because tragedy sort of avoided, but, on the other, nothing's more badass then letting that tragedy stand and making everyone get past it. Of course, being somewhat nice here at the end of Froi might just be a trick to make me let my guard down so she can decimate me emotionally in Quintana.

Fantasy-loving friends, this series should probably happen in your life. Melina Marchetta has now proved her adeptness at world building and characterization, and her writing has been stellar all the way through. I will be reading through the other books in my pile as quickly as possible so that I can get to Quintana because I must know what happens.

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Quote: "'So plunge that fact into your conscience and allow it to rotate for a while. Until it hurts.'"

Up Next:
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be Vigilant by Angel Lawson. Rochelle recommended this title. Also, I have to apologize because I deleted the entry to the list before I made note of her contact info, so I really hope Rochelle finds the review!

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

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Blogger Alessandra said...

Well, the guy on the cover looks really handsome.

August 11, 2013 at 4:14 AM  
Blogger Kat Kennedy said...

Oh Finnickin! Oh Froi! Oh, oh, Quintana!

August 11, 2013 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Jaz said...

Woah if you thought Finnikin was slow then this must be racing because I loved the pace of Finnikin :D

I've read about 100 pages into this and I need to finish gahhh - for me it's not as engaging as #1 but we'll see.

Marchetta is just a genius <3

August 11, 2013 at 5:59 AM  
Blogger Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews said...

I am so glad you made me get Froi immediately because it was so good and it just blew me away with feels and a need for Quintana now. It took me a while to get into Finnikin but I immediately jumped into Froi too and I couldn't tear myself away. Time passed by so fast it honestly did not feel like a nearly 600 paged book. I do agree about the ending, the impact of the tragedies would have been strengthened more if she let it be but if her intent was to make us clamour for Quintana, then either way she would have gotten the same reaction.

Love how Marchetta writes her romances in the story, just leaving me craving for more of every couple in the story. Oh my poor heart D;

August 11, 2013 at 6:08 AM  
Blogger Lili said...

EEEEE! You made me so excited! <3 I can't wait to read these now! I skimmed the review for potential spoilers, but the excitement!

August 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Christina Reads YA said...

I skimmed most of this because I was afraid I'd find spoilers for Finnikin, which I am currently reading for tomorrow, but YAY to you liking it! Yay to what you said about wading through the world-building to get awesomeness! I loved Marchetta's writing in Jellicoe Road, but I'm currently having a bit of trouble with Finnikin. Only read about 50 pages, but all the info-dumpy stories/monologues on the days of the unspeakable are kind of boring me. (I'm guessing Froi is the thief? He hasn't been named yet.)

Also, whut to you and having two Sadie Hawkins reviews in one day. GIVE ME YOUR READING SPEED.

August 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love it when others read Melina Marchetta's books! It's even better when they love it, too.
I completely agree with what you said about how Melina Marchetta writes her romances perfectly. Even though they aren't the most affectionate or in-your-face, they are very well done.

Her books always leave me with that book hangover feel, where I have trouble starting a new book because I am too busy thinking over what I just read.

Can't wait to see what you have to say about Quintana.

August 12, 2013 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

So not my type. I can't see past the eyebrows!

August 13, 2013 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

THE FEEEEEEEELS. Quintana's my favorite. And Evanjalin. And Finnikin. And Froi. Gah.

August 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh man, then it will be speedy for you. There is a bit more action, but it's mostly that the characterization and banter picked up. World building for its own sake bores me.

DO ITTTTT. You must love world building. Haha.

August 13, 2013 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hurrah! Some times it pays to bully other bloggers into reading things. I only have your best interests at heart. I'm starting Quintana tonight and goodness I hope it's amazing. The very last bit really made me sad because I was all prepared to be heartbroken and then it was all "just kidding! Everything's cool!"

August 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Good choice to skim. I am generally spoilery for previous books in series. If I don't spoil I put a header going NO SPOILERS.

August 13, 2013 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Good plan. I usually spoil previous books in a series because I can FINALLY TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED. Plus, I don't think it's out of place. Finnikin is REALLY slow, but it gets better.

Well, I'm reading Sadie Hawkins stuff a couple weeks ahead, the main post. I'm fitting in sequels when I can.

August 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...


The romances are totally just my style. Oh, hate to love, how much do I love thee...

Hmm, I'm not really a book hangover person usually. I generally stop reading because I'm bored of my books. Awesome ones just light the fire of wanting more words in my brain.

August 13, 2013 at 11:04 AM  

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