'Finnikin of the Rock' - Melina Marchetta
- 'Finnikin' is a bit of a slow-burner, to begin with. There is a bit of back story to deal with, plus all the character intros and scene setting required of a series with this scope...
- ...But then it gets good. REAL good.
- The characters are complex, the world building is excellent, and the narrative dips and weaves in a v. satisfying way.
- I'm gonna be straight with you, there are things that you're gonna see coming from a mile off (true of all three in the series), but this in no way detracted.
- There are some very strong characterisations, which I think is Marchetta's biggest strength. They get under your skin.
I felt like this was a really strong Part Two for the Lumatere Chronicles (though after discussion with pals, I think there is some division about this). For me...
- The tension was just right. So many secrets to unwind, so many relationships to build/heal. Light on the action, but with an underlying sense of danger to fill it's place.
- Froi was such a compelling anti-hero. I liked him best of all when he made bad decisions or said the wrong thing. Lovable rogue, all right.
- There is a definite Game of Thrones flavour to this series, but these are far more palatable. There is a stronger character focus, and the depravity is generally alluded to rather than described. Generally. There are definitely upsetting scenes though, you've been warned.
- If you love character-driven fantasy, packed with adventure, intrigue and even a bit of Royal Court drama, this series is def for you.
'Quintana of Charyn' - Melina Marchetta
- My biggest disappointment was that I grew to like certain of the characters less and unfortunately didn't connect with Quintana at all..
- I didn't enjoy constantly knowing more than the protagonists. This effectively replaced tension with frustration. Especially as the characters drifted further from their cause... I felt (again) like this was a GoT device, used less successfully here.
- 'Quintana' definitely has less of a YA feel (married relationships + marital relations + heavy content). It also felt like all of the chars. had come of age by now. Some of them are parents, some of them are about to be. I liked this, actually, but I'm no longer a teenager...
- There are a lot of story lines being threaded together in 'Quintana'. Some I liked better than others.
- There is more of the world to explore, and I liked the world, a lot.
- A certain Queen got on my nerves waaaaaaay too much during book 3.
'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe' - Benjamin Alire Saenz
Awww, sob sob! Such a beaut story...
- Saenz doesn't try to do something with this story, just lets it tell itself. It felt like such an honest account - never boring, never forced.
- The pacing is slow, but this is a fast read. Entirely character driven, but they are v. compelling characters.
- This includes the parents. The lovely parents.
- I wanted to shake Aristotle sometimes. I mean really! Figure out what everyone else has figured out! But that is the bitter heart of this story and made it all the more tender.
'I am Not Esther' - Fleur Beale
I'm a little behind the 8-ball on this one. Has everyone already read this?
- I found it riveting - the story never lost momentum and the situation never stopped being fascinating.
- It's also on the shorter side, easy to finish in a day or two.
- Beale's writing is sparse - there are no flowery descriptions. This took getting used to (I'm a flowery descriptions kinda gal), but was perfectly suited this particular story. I have since started on 'Juno of Taris' and have found the writing far more descriptive. And my point is - Beale is clever.
- Kirby annoyed me at times, but then again, tough situation so what do I even know? Also, she's a teenager. Teenagers have allllll the feelingz.
- Um, did I mention fascinating?
I have such an enticing pile of books on my nightstand - it's actually pretty hard to pick the next title, which is why I started on three simultaneously. We'll see which one hooks me first...