Froi of the Exiles – Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock is one of my favorite political fantasy books and I have listed it under the fantasy tab.  I was thrilled to get the galley for the sequel, Froi of the Exiles.  It is highly recommended to read the books in order.  Both are long books with multiple story lines.  Rescued by the Lumatere royal couple in the earlier book, former slave Froi is sent on a mission to assassinate the king of Charyn.  He has been trained to be an effective killing machine and fiercely loyal to his queen.  Charyn invaded Lumatere many years back, so there is bad blood between the two countries, to put it mildly.  Froi is to complete his mission and return home, but after the king is assassinated, the country dissolves into chaos and Froi is smack in the middle of the mess.  Froi is a quick tempered, multifaceted hero who is passionate about his queen, his past, his bond, his mission, his love.  Quintana is perfectly complex as the victimized Charyn princess.  Charyn’s women have been barren these many long years and it is prophesied that Quintana is the one who will break the curse and bear a child.  Many men have a go at becoming the father.  It is little wonder that she is half-mad.  Her strong will and determination resonate.  Meanwhile the Lumatere people are struggling to put their country back together after routing out the enemy. Queen Isaboe and Finnikin have small parts in the book with the focus on Lucien of the Monts.  All of the characters have troubled pasts that are smoothly interwoven and I quickly cared about each of them.  Froi is one of the most intricately drawn characters with plenty of flaws, a horrid past, and a deep desire to see good and justice prevail.  I just can’t summarize without giving anything vital away.  Every twist and turn in the novel took me by surprise, so I won’t spoil it for the next reader.  Brilliant.  Oh – the ending . . . wow!  Eagerly waiting for the next book.

Best for older teens.

 NetGalley Review    Publication date 3.13.12

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