Friday, 20 July 2012

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

My relationship with this book is full of mixed feelings. On one hand, I love Froi almost as much as I love Melina Marchetta’s writing style. On the other, this book was just so…long.

Quick plot summary. Froi gets sent to Charyn to assassinate the king. Charyn is under a curse (similar to Lumatere’s) where all the women are barren and the men are infertile. The princess, Quintana, is totally crazy (not in a partying type way, in a random-prophecy-spewing, frequent-personality-swinging way). She claims that she will birth Charyn’s first child, and that it will be fathered by a last-born. Froi is ordered by his captain not to get mixed up in the affairs of Charyn, but since he is a disobedient little twerp, he does anyway. When chaos reigns in Charyn, he has to save Quintana and find out who he really is *insert dramatic trail-off here*.

The mysteries and intricate plot are similar to Finnikin of the Rock; if you didn’t like Finnikin, you’re weird, and don’t read this book. The writing is excellent, as per usual. The adventure, fighting, and betrayals were exciting. The romance was a break from the typical ones I see in teen books over and over again, mostly because the girl is utterly unattractive. So why, oh why, does this book fall flat?

It’s mainly because of the length. Some of the scenes just really aren’t necessary. I’m going to try and give an example without giving a huge spoiler. Froi leaves multiple times. And every time, I’m like yeah, you’re going to come right back. And then he thinks of the faces of the people he’s leaving behind and does just that. I mean, come on! We don’t need scene after scene after scene to show us how insecure and doubtful Froi is! The repetitiveness of other things, such as interactions with Quintana and all the betrayals, gets really annoying too. 

The other thing with the length was that things get more complicated than they need to be. I will admit: I found parts (small parts, mind you) confusing. There’s a lot of information given at the beginning that gets tied up at the end. But the end is so far away that you’ve forgotten the little hints that were dropped in the beginning so you’re mixed between Where the heck did that come from? and Okay, I really couldn’t care less.

There were good parts. Truly they were. But they were hidden by the sheer length and repetitiveness of the book. The ending was dynamite, though. I’m holding out for the third book- Quintana of Charyn. I feel like the ends may justify the means in this situation.

If you liked this book...
...see suggestions on the Finnikin of the Rock review 

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