Thursday, May 31, 2012

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta ( or It's Been Two Months and I'm Still Not Sure What To Say About This Book)

You guys, next week we're going to be posting our best of the year picks for 2012, so far. So I had to make sure that we had reviews up for as many of the books people picked as possible. Get ready, because this book shows up on a LOT of lists. Thankfully, Kady has a review!

Remember way back in March when I talked about how much I loved Finnikin of the Rock and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel, Froi of the Exiles?

Well, it's been over two months and neither I nor OtherKatie, the blog's other Marchetta fangirl, have posted anything about one of our mostly highly anticipated books of the year. The obvious conclusion is that it was a disappointment and we just want to forget about it quietly. The actual explanation is that, to quote OtherKatie, "It's too epic. My mind explodes with awesome just thinking about it." I'm going to attempt a review though, so if it just trails off in the middle of a sentence, you'll know it's because my mind has exploded.

There's so much good stuff about this book that I don't know where to start. Or what to put in the middle. Or how to end it. I can't write a summary, I know that much from five failed attempts. Instead here's a list, to mirror my Finnikin review, of three reasons why you should devour Froi of the Exiles.

1) This book is about the most interesting character from Finnikin of the Rock AND it introduces the most spectacular new characters in the history of new characters. Normally when there's a sequel to a book I love, I get annoyed when the author introduces a bunch of new characters. "I don't care about them! Tell me more about the people I loved the first time around, what are they doing now?" But Froi of the Exiles takes the most interesting and complex character from the first book, Froi (duh), expands him and gives him a cast of supporting characters so engaging that when the book does go back to check in on Isaboe, Finnikin and Trevanion I'm like "Hold up, what's going on in Charyn? Take me back to Charyn."

2) Charyn. Whereas Finnikin of the Rock was all about an exiled people trying to get home, Froi of the Exiles is about a cursed people trying to survive in a harsh and war torn land under the rule of a paranoid and all around bad guy king. I thought Lumatere got a raw deal, but I don't even think it compares to Charyn, a land that's basically only known in-fighting and civil war between ethnic groups for its entire history. There's also a curse (all good countries in this universe have a curse) and it's a doozy. No children have been born in Charyn for 18 years. It's quite literally a country with no future. Of course there have been predictions for how the curse can be broken, but nothing has worked. Yet.

3) The most awesomely botched, bumbling rescue attempt ever. I don't normally think of Melina Marchetta as an action writer. She's got the political intrigue, the swoon, and of course the grief down pat, but action? Still, there's a sequence in Froi of the Exiles featuring a poorly planned rescue attempt gone hilariously awry that had me laughing out loud and picturing how the fast paced action would play out on a movie screen.

Both Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles are out and available at the library NOW. I am impatiently awaiting the release of the final book in the trilogy, Quintana of Charyn. That should be out sometime next year.

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