When I was young, I watched an anime series called Now and Then, Here and There
and it was a difficult series to watch: full of brutality, violence, even rape, and kids actually watched this. It was depressing, yet it was so fascinating, and I will never be able to forget it. Good news, though, and spoiler alert: it had a happy ending.
The beginning of Finnikin of the Rock kind of reminded me of that show, because of the angry tone, the scenes of violence, and damn it was depressing, and I just began! It made me want to give up on the book altogether. Which may warn those of you who are not familiar with this series: This is not an easy book to read, and it may not be for everyone.
But man it was fascinating and thank God I didn't abandon this book (idk maybe I'm just biased towards the author), because it really got better. I don't know how Melina Marchetta does it, but she just makes it work. The book tells the reuniting of the people of Lumatere, who were torn apart when a curse was brought to their kingdom. Divided and lost, each group of Lumaterans found strife, struggling to find a new home for their people. Finnikin is that hope, and with the help of Evanjalin and his mentor Sir Topher they will undertake a journey that will lead them home, to reclaim their kingdom, even though that path will be paved with blood.
The book doesn't focus on the world building, but instead, it is a character study, with a little social commentary as well. This book just screamed Giiirrrrlll Poooweerrrr. And yes, the men are amazing as well, but the women are to be reckoned with. As the book got along, the characters found a way to balance Male and Female. I think it was a pervading theme: the yin and the yang, Light and Dark, Lagrami and Sagrami (the two goddesses worshipped separately by different Lumaterans), the goddess complete.
And though the book got off with an angry tone, as it went along, Melina showed humor as well, and love. Let's talk about the romance. Ugh. That was unexpectedly really pleasant. Like oh my glob I want something like this. I love it when the two protagonists are a match for each other. Like when the other one makes the other better, and stronger. Granted there was a little angst, but it was an enjoyable angst, and the ending rewarding.*4.5 stars