The result of Milena Marchetta, award-winning novelist sat down and decided to write High Fantasy
. Book one, Finnikin of the Rock
, was published in 2009 and met rave reviews. The sequel, Froi of the Exiles
, was released just before the summer of 2012.Please note that the summaries for latter books can and will contain spoilers for earlier books.
Book one starts with a prologue explaining how It was the best of times in Lumatere. The kingdom was safe, wealth was abundant, and the people were happy. At the age of nine, after sacrificing his own flesh in a pact to protect the kingdom, Finnikin sees this all torn away. The royal family is murdered. The forest people are slaughtered. An impostor king takes the throne. Finnikin's father is thrown into jail on accounts of treason, while his beloved wife is executed. Angered by the carnage, Seranonna of the Forest People proclaims a dark curse, trapping the people of Lumatere inside. All that remains are a pair of bloody little handprints on the kingdom's door, presumably those of Bathalzar, the lost prince.Fast-forward ten years,
and we have the events of book one. The people who managed to escape Lumatere before Seranonna's curse are forced to live as exiles in refugee camps scattered throughout the continent. Finnikin and his teacher, Sir Topher, travel the continent in the hopes of procuring land for the exiles. One day, they're summoned to a camp of acolytes and are told that the Novice Evanjalin can lead them to the lost prince Balthazar...
In book two, Froi, now fiercely loyal to Finnikin and Queen Isaboe
, as well as a full-fledged citizen of the newly restored Lumatere, must travel to Charyn, the nation whose leaders originally orchestrated the assassination of the Lumateran royal family and the Bastard King's ascension to the throne.
There, he meets the mad princess and comes to learn of dark secrets hidden in his blood.
The Lumatere Chronicles provides examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Finnikin is rather shocked to discover this side of Evanjalin.
- A Wizard Did It: Ingeniously averted. To explain in detail would be ridiculously spoiler-laden, but Marchetta provides a detailed explanation as the the importance of Finnikin's sacrificing his flesh to the rock, Seranonna's curse, how Beatriss survived, and Evanjalin's ability to see people's dreams and connection to Finnikin's stepsister Vestie.
- Children Are Innocent: Oh, Vestie. Despite being called an abomination because people are convinced that she was the result of Lady Beatriss being raped by a Charynite, when the curse on Charyn ensures that it was a Lumateran traitor who did so, you're still loved and you still love others.
- Determinator: Evanjalin. She sees her family murdered, is forced to leave her brother Balthazar to be mauled by the Silver Wolf along with the assassin who killed their parents, spends years in a vow of silence, is also forced to watch the horrific nightmares of her people, two nights of which caused another woman's hair to go white, endure distrust from her people, keep her identity as Princess Isaboe hidden from Finnikin, the man she loves, and endure years of brutal work as a slave, but she JUST WON'T GIVE UP!
- Fantastic Racism: There's a lot of this towards the Lumateran exiles, but the people of Charyn are the worst.
- The Lumaterens also wind up playing this trope straight, showing that their people are not as innocent as their leaders would like to believe.
- Interestingly, Tesadora of the forest people, initially introduced as bitter and traumatized, is among the first to understand that the common people of Charyn are not to be blamed for what happened and showing disdain towards them is hypocrisy.
- Freudian Excuse/Does Not Like Men: Justified and played with through Serannona's daughter, who didn't escape the kingdom and was forced to watched as the enclave she lived in was raided by the impostor king's men, who then... Well, some fathers of Lumatere were more willing to let their daughters die then have them suffer through what the impostor king's men would do. However, she states that if she were placed in a room with the women who sided with the Bastard King's men, there would be a bloodbath.
- Genre Savvy: Evanjalin is very good at manipulating people, but she only does so in ways that do not bring harm to the innocent and helps the people of Lumatere.
- Info Dump: Be prepared for very detailed explanations of what happened inside Lumatere while the Exiles were wandering the earth and what really happened when the royal family was murdered towards the end of the book.
- Mama Bear: Lady Beatriss. Don't insult her kids. She'll make you pay.
- Not Quite Dead: Evanjalin is actually Isaboe.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: A major theme of the books. Book two also introduces the idea that sex, when mutually consented, is something very sacred.
- Red-Headed Hero: Finnikin.
- Ship Tease: Loads and loads of them between Finnikin and Evanjalin. They get married at the end of the book and have a three-year-old girl by Froi of the Exiles.
- Strong Family Resemblance: In book two, Finnikin has a daughter who supposedly looks very similar to his mother.
- Walking the Earth: What Finnikin and friends spend much of book one doing.