Saturday, May 25, 2013
Quintana of Charyn
This is the third book in the trilogy, the Lumatere Chronicles.
For the first book: FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK
For the second book: FROI OF THE EXILES
This review is going to break down the entire series so it will contain spoilers from the first two books, and a bit of the third but I will not reveal the ending. I am going to state right now that I would love to see more books take place within this world as the world was well constructed and beautiful in the breathtaking details that were given to each character, minor or major; to each country's people, minor or major; and to each land that everyone dwelled within. This is going to be an author to follow.
So an amazon summary of Quintana of Charyn, "The climactic conclusion of Printz Award winner Melina Marchetta’s epic fantasy trilogy!
Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi and his companions travel through Charyn searching for Quintana and building an army that will secure her unborn child’s right to rule. While in the valley between two kingdoms, Quintana of Charyn and Isaboe of Lumatere come face-to-face in a showdown that will result in heartbreak for one and power for the other. The complex tangle of bloodlines, politics, and love introduced in Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles coalesce into an engrossing climax in this final volume." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
I'm going to summarize a lot of details and gloss through some of it as there's A LOT of substance to this story and it'd be impossible to get EVERY LITTLE DETAIL down without just posting the contents of the book.
So let's begin. ALL SPOILER LAND ALL THE WAY.
In Finnikin of the Rock, in the first few chapters we get the sense of the peaceful country of Lumatere. The royal family is loved by the land, each part of the country instills a different charm into the people, and the kingdom is united and happy. One night, it's all thrown into chaos as an impostor king from Charyn (a nearby country) invades Lumatere, slaughters the royal family, and begins to slaughter the forest dwellers (a people who have extra spiritual abilities that live on the edge of Lumatere). There's five days of panic among the people as everyone is trying to sort out what happened amongst all the fighting. The most powerful forest dweller is burned at the stake and as she dies, a terrible curse falls upon Lumatere. An impenetrable shadow wall type of deal surrounds the country. So whoever was inside is trapped inside, and whoever was on the outside (trying to flee for their lives) is trapped outside with nowhere to go and with loved ones trapped inside with the impostor king and his army.
The Lumatereans are outcast from their surrounding neighbor kingdoms with a few of the 'important' people finding refuge on other countries. Sir Topher takes Finnikin under his care (the son of the captain of the guard and beloved friend of the royal family) and begins to raise him over the next ten years.
Then rumors that Balthazar (the son of the royal family, heir to the throne) might have survived. Finnikin and Sir Topher travel to the far reaches of the continent to discover Evanjilin (I'm probably spelling that wrong, screw it). The girl doesn't speak at first and they are advised by her care givers that she knows where Balthazar is as she walks the sleep of those trapped within Lumatere.
So Finnkin and Sir Topher begin to travel with her and begin to assemble the important people from Lumatere that managed to escape into exile. They assemble the guard, the priest, a handful of nobles, and establish sort of truces with different people they comes across. They also come across a thief that initially tries to steal from them, so they capture him, and drag him around with them for a while (he eventually becomes known as Froi).
They reach Lumatere after gathering their people who have been in exile to the boundaries of Lumatere and by now they've learned that Evanjilin is actually Isaboe, the last remaining member of the royal family (turns out Balthazar had died when the curse initially happened). Isaboe and Finnikin manage to break the curse on Lumatere, they storm the land and rally everyone inside and manage to take back the land. Celebration for everyone!
Finnikin and Isaboe have also fallen madly in love and Finnikin wrestles with his self-confidence and if he's worthy of the Queen and in the end manages to love her and become her consort. ALL THE JOY FOR EVERYONE.
Now Froi of the Exiles, begins three years after the end of Finnikin of the Rock, and the royalty has decided that it's high time to deal with Charyn. In the past three years, Froi has been trained by the guard, the priest, and everyone in between. He's grown into a (still violent) strapping young man. So they send him into Charyn in the disguise of a Charyn noble to assassinate the king.
Finnikin and Isaboe have had their first child, Trevarion and Beatriss are working on reconciling with each other (they were trapped apart by the curse, Beatriss was believed to be dead for a while), and Lumatere is well on it's way to healing while also being prosperous.
However, it turns out that Charyn has been cursed even longer than Lumatere was. They've had no newborns in the past 18 years and are waiting for the princess to bear a child with one of the last born (last born referring to the last children born before the curse took place). In the beginning of the book, the attitude is that no one truly knows who placed the curse, just that Quintana was the last born and will be the one to bear the first (after many long years of not having children).
There are many small circumstances in this book that navigate Froi into the right places (or sometimes the very wrong places), and so many moments where I just wanted to pump my fist in the air like, "GO FROI GO!!!!"
It was pretty epic.
So A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED IN CHARYN. HURMABATMAN.
There are twin brothers from Abroi (a part of Charyn) that have a lot of hype around them. One is Arjuro who is the only surviving priestling and insanely gifted. The other is Gargarin who is intensely smart and has been designing different ways to get water to different parts of the land, political adviser, etc.
Lirah of Serker is the palace whore (stupid, stupid king of Charyn). Sidenote, Serker was also wiped out so it's rare to see Serkers. Period.
Quintana is 'crazy'. I mean, she seems to have rapid cycling bipolar disorder or something. No one really seems to know what to make of her. There have been failed assassination attempts on her life (as some believe that by ending the last one, they can bring about new children).
There are some other important nobles, royalty, blah blah blah, but let's ignore them for now.
So when the curse first began was when the godhouse of Charyn was invaded, essentially everyone was killed, a true horror story of an ordeal. The oracle was raped and cut off from all means of communication, but she was still alive. Arjuro was alive because he was out of the godhouse when the tragedy happened. The oracle had the child but it was a stillborn on the same day that Lirah of Serker birthed Quintana; that was the same day that all the other children were gone. I mean, like everyone else carrying a child all instantaneously had a miscarriage.
The body of the oracle (she died in childbirth (I believe)) and her child were thrown into a ravine that separates the godhouse from the palace.
Quintana began to grow...and show very abnormal traits (the whole rapid cycling bipolar thing).
Arjuro and Gargarin disappear from Charyn and the kingdom is thrown into the unsteady rule of malicious king and his adviser/first man dude Bestiano.
OKAY, SO A LOT OF TRUTHS ARE REVEALED IN THIS. ALL OF THE SPOILERS EVERYWHERE. WAHHHHHH.
It turns out that Gargarin and Lirah love each other, and that Froi is the child of their union; not Quintana, which also makes Arjuro Froi's uncle. Quintana is actually the twin daughter born to the oracle; the other twin was stillborn. The reason Quintana seemed crazy is because the spirit of her sister lived within her body as well. Froi falls in love with Quintana and they end up getting it on (which we don't see) and Quintana is pregnant before the book ends. There's a lot of turmoil as Quintana kills the king of Charyn (before Froi can) and Froi nearly dies to save Quintana. Froi takes 8 arrows to him to ensure that Quintana will safely escape from their pursuers (Bestiano, etc).
A lot of smaller interlocking things happen to make the big picture come together, but again, speed mode.
SO. The book Quintana of Charyn begins with Quintana hiding out near Lumatere in a valley where other Charyn's are seeking refuge from the madness that has happened to Charyn. Phaedra (she is really important in the last book and this book; really kind person, married to Lucian, blah blah blah) hides her from the Charyn's (as there's a price on her head to bring the babe she carries back alive, but no one cares what happens to Quintana). No one who was previously in contact with Froi/Arjuro/Gargain/Lirah know where she is; but the Lumateres soon find out thanks to Vestie (I don't even want to explain that).
ANYWAYS. So Froi/Gargain/Lirah, and Arjuro (kind of) are travelling across different parts of Charyn in search of Quintana in the hopes that she is alive and safe (or if not safe, relatively unharmed).
There is the beginning of discoveries of who actually placed the curse, who can break the curse, and what the different symbols on the necks of both Froi and Quintana mean.
Gargarin and Lirah are in the middle of the negotiations of what will happen to Charyn and the different people who preside over the country.
GUYS, THESE BOOKS ARE SO INTENSE.
I'm going to stop here since that's about a third of the way through Quintana of Charyn and I just LOVE this series so much. I think I might reread it (after I tackle a couple more books; haha).
This is an author to watch.