Friday, March 9, 2012

Review of Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Froi of the Exiles (Book Two of The Lumatere Chronicles)
By Melina Marchetta
2 Scribbles
Release date March 16, 2012
After reading the first book of The Lumatere Chronicles, I was enchanted by Marchetta’s sophisticated writing, and hoped that this tale was (and I quote) "…only one installment of a much, much longer story." As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for! Book two of The Chronicles centers on the mission of rogue slave, Froi, who Isaboe saved from slave-traders. Froi, now educated and properly trained as a fighter, is entrusted with the task of assassinating the neighboring king of Charyn in order to protect the newly re-assembled Lumaterian kingdom. And while Froi is most certainly the main protagonist of the saga, Marchetta interweaves several sub-plots into the tale. While these subplots are inter-connected, so many stories taking place in the novel make a few things unfortunately unavoidable. It takes a keen reader, or one with a notebook handy, to keep up with the numerous characters in the novel. Certainly the characters are used to help augment the storyline—a great amount of backstory is provided via character dialogue which can become tedious at times—but perhaps a smaller cast, focusing more on the conflict in Charyn would be best to assist the reader in becoming more invested in the characters and more engaged in the storyline. The goings-on of Lumatere, which appear in alternating chapters, might have been better as a separate book or created as a part two in this installment. As it stands, the alternating chapters and enormous cast make for many distractions. One of the things Marchetta does well is irony, and she does use this irony throughout—there are deceptions revealed, clever switches, and misunderstandings that help to draw flagging readers back in—although I would argue that more astute readers will be able to predict Froi’s origins very early on in the book. And while most YA readers who enjoyed Finnikin of the Rock will be amped to see this installment, I would argue that much of the content of this book is geared to a more adult audience. I just hope that book three (which is clearly hinted at in the ending) will be focused on the future of the Lumatere and its neighboring kingdoms and not so focused on the past.

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