I'm not back yet. So this is unofficial. Off the books. (Like I keep of records of when I post, please.) But as for a Character Update? Rocky is still were I left him. Unconscious. His young life flashing before his eyes. And Oddball, the moody hero of the book, still dragging his sick friend through the snow.
Yeah. Moving is taking it's toll on all things in my life.
And the blurb? Remember now, I'm not officially back yet. So until then. Suspense shall reign.
But I do come with something.
I normally don't read book reviews. I love to be surprised. Suspense is one of my favorite elements of a book. I love it so much that if a series author has earned my trust (that sounds melodramatic) then I don't even read the back of his/her book. Book reviews tend to be riddled with spoilers. But there's this book I have finally finished. And so I'm going to attempt to talk about it without one spoiler.
Here goes nothing.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Bad stuff and Good stuff. I like to save the Good stuff for last. (Very unofficial terms for an unofficial post, huh?) So the down side? The POV is everywhere. Really. I had a hard time swallowing her style. It's very impersonal at times. She often down-plays some of the darkness by telling or vaguely describing it instead of giving a full-out scene. If I don't like an author's style, I usually pick up another book. I used to be very tolerant and keep reading. Now though I have so little time to read (so sad). But a friend liked it, and if my book-loving friends (they're going extinct, people!) like it then I'm willing to to go through all obstacles. And I haven't read enough fantasy for a fantasy writer. Don't tell anyone. Also, the plot moves fast and skates through many of the different kingdoms with little descriptions. Maybe the author was afraid to to give to many details. And maybe I'm just weird and geeky, but I love to read about the cultures of different kingdoms. But most of them were described just as wicked places, except for Belegonia and Osteria. Which could be summed up as the good places.
Good stuff. The style prickled me until the story engulfed me. It has an amazing plot with unexpected twists. I love that. How do people think of such of great plots? It makes me feels small and obvious with my own plot lines.
Even though the different kingdoms were barely touched on, I love that they were there. And the names! It just rolls of your tongue. Sorel. Sarnak. Charyn though makes me think of the word chagrin. I laugh on the inside and have to remind myself that Charyn was supposed to be the most evil of all the kingdoms. So then I think of charred things. Which usually ends up as a charred burger. :P But it's still burnt black, stone hard, and grizzly all the same. The different types of people of Lumantere: River, Rock, Flatlands, Monts (am I forgetting one?). I really liked the depth they added to Lumantere.The Rock people sound so enchanting. The River people sound mighty. But the Monts (from the mountains) are my favorite. I wish I could give you a small piece from the book about them. Unfortunately, I've already returned it to the library. So you'll have to read it for yourself. All the same, if I was Lumanteran, I'd want to be a Mont.
Now about down-playing the dark parts. Bad and good at the same time. Finnikin of the Rock is a very dark book. Sometimes distancing the reader from the darkness was a good choice. Honestly, if the author had shown some of the scenes in more depth, I wouldn't have finished the book. I still got a hold on what was going on and just how bad things were, but at the same time the author didn't violate my morals. It's one of those things I always ask myself as a writer when it comes the darkness, "How far is too far?" What I learned from Melina Marchetta: Include the darkness, do show, but when in doubt take a more passive approach, tell it in a spellbinding word picture, something abstract.
Now for the characters, because tribute must always be paid to fantastic characters. I should start with the main character. Finnikin. It's great that he actually is manly. I have writing friends who are girls and they have trouble writing from a male point of view. Their guys end up sounding like girls. But Finnikin is definitely a guy. Now at times he does seem like a cliched guy, but a guy none the less. And there were surprises in him. I love his relationship with Lucian. Back to that later. Evanjalin was sometimes also a cliched woman, and yet she is just amazing. She's so clever. I can't stand dumb heroines unless they're for comic relief like Buttercup. But I should confess I have a weakness for secondary characters, so maybe I'm biased toward Finnikin and Evanjalin. My two favorites (who can choose one?) are Froi and Lucian. I didn't like Froi at first. When I saw that he wasn't just a passing character and was dragged into the plot, I said, "Why him? Really?!" Out loud. I wasn't exactly happy. But after a while I began to like Froi. I like watching him grow. How he cares, but doesn't realize he cares. I like how he always complains, but he never really means it. And I love his honesty. Lucian of the Monts. Finnikin of the Rock isn't a funny book. It does have it's light-hearted moments though, and when it's not Finnikin and Evanjalin, it's probably Finnikin and Lucian. Finnikin's best friend and rival. These two are so much like brothers. Always trying to best each other. Always calling each other names and getting in fights. But if you dare touch one, you have both of them to fight off. And don't tell Finnikin, but Lucian is better at most things then he is.
Anyhow that's my book review of sorts. What do you think? Sounds like a great read? Or I am too vague for you to know for sure? If you've read it, what's your take on Finnikin of the Rock? Who's your favorite character? If you were Lumanteran, where would you want to be from: the Rock, River, Flatlands, the Monts?