Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 13 March 2012
A special Thank you to Candlewick Press and NetGalley for sending me this book to review.
Those born last will make the first ...
For Charyn will be barren no more.
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home ... or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place.
It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood ... and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
Froi of the Exiles is the sequel to Finnikin of the Rock. I was exstatic to receive this galley to read and review. I've been waiting for ages for this sequel, with bated breath. And in the first few pages I found myself furious at the story. The perspective of the book had shifted from being that of Finnikin (of said rock) to Froi (Which really shouldn't have come as much of a surprise, due to the title, but... honestly I hadn't expected it, because if you've read Finnikin of the Rock... it's FROI! Froi, whom we all learned to hate in the last book.) So after a few chapters I adjusted. And I came re-appreciate the plain-speaking talents of author Marchetta once again, and I realized that I had just been schooled, because I was now growing to understand (and like) a character whom I'd carefully learned to dislike in Finnikin of the Rock, and I was again astonished at the author's mad characterization skills...
Unfortunately my happiness with Froi of the Exiles didn't last much longer than a few chapters.
Let me preface the next part of my review by saying that I normally don't write negative reviews, but I have really mixed feelings for this book, so I'm going to go ahead. Without spoiling anything, I think the entire midsection of this book was really badly done. Instead of Marchetta's normally brilliantly crafted encounters with harsh realities, the midsection of this book was poorly paced (it dragged on and on and on...) and was hugely focused on sex and an entire civilization's loss of moral compass due to a "curse." But instead of treating the tough themes in the story with caution, learning and care, as I've come to expect from Marchetta, it felt manhandled, somewhat pornographic in parts and really, really awkward, like this should have been a very bad first draft instead of a finished book.
This is NOT a book for kids, tweens or teens. I am fairly convinced that I could have done without reading this book, except I never would have done because I love this author too much. I'll just say that Froi of the Exiles is officially my least favorite of all of Marchetta's works. That said, I will be tuning in for book three of this companion novel series, whenever it comes out.