Monday, November 8, 2010

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

At the age of nine, before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreams that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the Lumatere's royal house. Eventually Finnikin and his friends, Prince Balthazar and Lucian of the Monts, climb a rock and make the sacrifice and pledge. All was well until the five days of the unspeakable. The king and queen and their four daughters are slain and Balthazar's bloody handprints are found. Finnikin's father is arrested for treason and imprisoned. The matriarch of the Forest Dwellers cries a blood curse as she is burned at the stake. Those who escaped the kingdom are forced to walk the land as refugees and those trapped inside the kingdom's gates were never heard from again. Finnikin recorded the story for those not around to live the horror in the Book of Lumatere, so no one will ever forget. Until the day Finnikin decided the climb another rock, ten years later.

Sir Topher, the king's First Man and his apprentice, Finnikin, climb a rock to reach the temple of the goddess Lagrami. Finnikin received a message delivered in a dream. One word was spoken, "Balthazar" and he is told to visit the isolated cloister. Upon their arrival, the high priestess Kiria tells them of a novice, Evanjalin, who arrived two years earlier. Kiria tells them she believes Evanjalin has a gift, the ability to walk through people's sleep. She claims to have walked through the sleep of the people still trapped in Lumatere, as well as the lost hier. Sir Topher and Finnikin don't believe what they are told. Kiria informs them that Balthazar has a message for them, a name of a trusted friend. She tells Finnikin that Balthazar has chosen him, by way of Evanjalin, to lead his people home to Lumatere.

Finnikin has conflicted feelijngs for Evanjalin. He doesn't trust her or want her around yet feels sorry for her and at times confused by his feelings. But as they continue their journey to the kingdom of Sorel, where Evanjalin "claims" all the answers lie, Finnikin learns that Evanjalin is not at all what she first seems and neither is he. And the truth will rock Finnikin to his very core.

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