So I’ve been reading this one for a while (it is a long book, give me some credit) but I’m finally done! Here it is, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, or need a reminder:
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta is the second in the Lumatere Chronicles series (which I didn’t know when I bought it, and didn’t realize until I was about halfway through reading it, haha). I’ve said before that I have a love/hate relationship with this book, and after finishing it, I still do.
The Jist: An ex-street thief (Froi) is sent on a mission to a rival kingdom (and his homeland), impersonating someone who is supposed to break the curse with the half-mad princess, while he discovers ties to his past and plots to kill the king.
The Good: Wow, Melina Marchetta is a master with emotions. Some scenes were so raw and believable that it just struck me. She created some complex, dark, tortured characters that made me feel for them. I mean the feels. Even with the strange world and characters, she managed to make some realistic, relatable emotions and relationships. I think the emotions and the dynamics of the different, complex relationships were my favorite part. Unfortunately, some of the most interesting characters were side characters rather than main, and I would have liked to see more from them.
The Not-So-Good: While she’s good with emotions, I didn’t feel the same about her storytelling. Besides the overwhelming, confusing cast of characters which make things hard to keep track of (half the time I couldn’t remember who they were, so I didn’t really care) the pace is incredibly slow. Honestly, I ended up skimming a lot (blasphemy, I know). Even in the supposedly climactic scenes, or scenes with huge revelations, it would take so long to get to the point that I was just lost and bored by that time, and then sometimes would miss the huge moment. Other times felt like a huge info dump, and there was a lot of backstory that felt kind of unnecessary, confusing, and for characters I didn’t entirely care about.
Favorite Part: Definitely Froi and Quintana’s (the half-mad princess) relationship. Probably the most interesting, bizarre, but endearing love story I’ve ever read. I didn’t even find Froi particularly interesting or likeable, but every single scene with them was just brilliant. I would have loved more time with Quintana’s character period, as she was by far my favorite.
The Verdict: I don’t know what to say, honestly. The moments of brilliance were brilliant and will stay with me for a while. But I feel like I had to work so hard to get to those moments. So, for now, I will likely hold off on the next and final book until I am ready again. But these were definitely some characters that won’t leave me anytime soon. If you are a fan of epic fantasies, and don’t mind a long read or keeping track of characters, then those moments of raw, stark brilliance are absolutely worth it.