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WOWSA!!! "Finnikin of the Rock" is possibly the best fantasy book that I have listened to in *years!* I'm not even exaggerating a little bit. This is an epic quest told in this deliciously compact format. The writing is beautiful AND brilliant. The characters are drawn with precision and finely layered. The journey is worthy, the fight is "what must be done," the relationships profound and complex. I'm pretty sure I could flail around and continue to list praises for this book for most of my day! I won't do it justice.
This is a book full of men - boldly drawn men, warriors and priests and nobility and peasants and thieves. The narrator created wonderful voices for these characters, and I could see every one of them so clearly in my head as I listened to the story. He did an equally good job with the female characters, and I thought the tone and pace of the narration was spot-on.
The relationships in this story blew me away. The author did not pull punches. People are messy. Relationships can bring as much pain as joy. And we see relationships of every kind here - familial, brotherly bonds, warriors-in-arms, families created by choice rather than blood, mentor and ward, master and slave, lovers and friends. This author is a master craftsman, and she delivers an amazing story in "Finnikin." I could not recommend this more highly - 5 stars!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Good narratation, but the story didn't hold my attention. To me, it felt boring and long, with some compelling scenes. I kept waiting for the plot or the characters to engage my interest or emotions, but it's hard to fall in love with juvenile, bratty, manipulative protagonists. Basically, I didn't much care for Finnikin or Evanjalin. She's controlling and deceptive. He's full of himself, and believes some minor thing that he did when he was nine years old brought about the end of the kingdom of Lumatere and the exile of thousands. His guilt-tripping got old fast.
I like to laugh occasionally, even in fantasy novels, but this book isn't lighthearted, with a few exceptional scenes. There's lots of bickering among friends and family across this book, which seemed mostly like male posturing on Finn's part. Even when the tone should have been celebratory -- when old friends reunite -- the characters fell to squabbling (Finn and Lucien).
The dialogue felt like it was written for 12-year-olds, but then there are references to sex, sodomy, and rape. Was that meant to appeal to mature readers? It just felt like a misfit to me.
The world-building didn't add up (or was poorly accounted for and explained) in terms of the magical sleep walking and the dark mist, and the two goddesses, dark Sagrami and light Lagrami, which together make the goddess complete (yes, so what?? I kept waiting for the drum roll, the big boon).
Odd, the varied races of humans on such a small island (they walked from end to end in a few weeks).
On an up note, the theme of exile was rather well done, and brought to mind the Diaspora of the Jewish / Hebrew people, or the fragmentation of the Native American tribes, etc.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful