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Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta Finished. Finally. Maybe like a 2.5 on this one. I'll try to finish up a review soon.


I've read a tiny bit more. Considering that I've read five other books totally well over 1400 pages this last week alone, that says a lot. I just can't get into this book. I'm really struggling with the writing. Nothing flows logically. It's like... Random statement. Random statement. Random dialogue. Random statement that sounds like it ties everything together but has nothing to do with anything. Everything feels rather bland and emotionless.

I can't empathize with any of the characters so far, and I still don't know what exactly Finnikin and Topher do. I can't believe Topher would sit there and describe the brutality that happened to Finnikin's family in the kid's presence. How heartless.

And I get easily annoyed by apparently uber-kewl fantasy moves that don't make sense. Like, why the heck would Evanjalin grab Finnikin's sword just to hold it by the blade and swing it (against its natural balance) at some guy's groin? How about the good ol' fashioned boot? Even a knee is just as effective and less time-consuming. And then she steals one of Finnikin's knives, even though she just dropped a perfectly good sword a few paragraphs earlier. Huh? Just because it sounds like it would look cool? AGHH! That sort of thing really bothers me!

First impressions:

If I see ONE more book with that same guy's face on the cover, I will scream. Really and truly. It has to be the 4th book at least that I've seen with Blue Hoodie Man (not to mention individual books in a series that have variations of the same). Annoying!

Not terribly impressed so far. LOTS of passive, filter and bland (saw/look/walk/etc.) verbs and logical leaps with no explanations. For instance, near the very beginning, we get this sequence:

When they reached the base of the cliff, they passed the group of kneeling pilgrims. A hand snaked out to grab the cloth of the novice's cloak.

"Your feet," Finnikin said, noticing for the first time that she was barefoot. "We can't afford to be slowed down because you don't have shoes."


I assume the grabbing the robe has something to do with her feet (because the hand isn't mentioned again and nothing happens as a result of it), but...why? There wasn't even any indication that she was going slowly, such that he'd complain about it. Things like that I find terribly bothersome — not to mention the clumsy narrative.

Also, it's kind of maddening because we are given, on the one hand, too much detail for us to make sense of at this point (lots of names and references to history and geography), but on the other hand not nearly enough. How old is Finnikin? What do he and Sir Topher do? They work to improve conditions...how? Are they builders? Healers? Community Organizers? They usually choose not to be found but somehow dukes are constantly requesting their help? What is a First Man, even?

*sigh* I'm already annoyed and bored and that's never a good sign...but I'm hoping it will pick up as I read. I've heard a lot of good things about it.