Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: February 9, 2010
Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive. Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
I get why people love this book. An epic-feeling fantasy in a big world, full of intrigue, deception, loyalty, budding romance, a rolling plot, a nice mixture of character and plot-driven elements, with a dash of heroism, and some teen angst added in more good measure.
All that said...
I hated it.
I have far too many issues with it, many of which have already been aired on Goodreads in the 1 and 2 star sections, which are available for perusal. My major grievance lay with the character of Evanjalin. The girl is a complete and total liar. Now, this would not be such a problem as I myself have written a character who is a bit of a liar myself, however Evanjalin often lies for no freaking reason. She trusts no one but herself, which by the end makes little sense as she really does need all these people on her side. But no worries. Despite lying to almost everyone within her life, Evanjalin is quickly forgiven. In fact, Finn falls in love with her. Admittedly, Finn is a bit of a surly jerk so perhaps they do make a good pair, but I find manipulation in characters who are supposed to be heroes, rather off putting.
Second major issue. The rape scene. Guys, there is an almost rape scene. Now, the issue isn't in the fact that this is in a book. The problem lies in that the character who almost rapes Evanjalin develops of morbid Stockholm Syndrome with this girl afterward and becomes her biggest protector. He is a snivelling, weasly, would-be rapist who suddenly turns into a hero because she didn't kill him afterward? And I am seriously supposed to empathize with such a person? Worse yet, the next book, is from his perspective! The one character I would never want to get to know, now has an entire book.
I know there are many many fans of this series and again, I can see why, but I just can't. I am not remotely interested in reading the next book and will gladly mark this book off my reading list as well as its sequel.