Home > Mitch's Musings > A Lumatere Chronicles Reading Guide

A Lumatere Chronicles Reading Guide

The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta is a trilogy of stellar young adult fantasy books by Australian author Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, and Quintana of Charyn, plus short story Ferragost. The series is ostensibly about the plight of a nation of refugees driven from their homes, although the sequels expand the story with new plotlines involving neighboring kingdoms. But what makes the series so compelling is Marchetta’s skillful prose and knack for character development – regardless of what one may think of the heavier themes in the books, following the very personal journeys of Finnikin and his friends is both thought provoking and surprisingly emotional.

The traditional reading order is:

Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

s

Froi of the Exiles

Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home… Or so he believes…

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

s

Ferragost

Lady Celie of the Lumateran Flatlands is visiting the Belegonian spring castle on the isle of Ferragost. Cut off from the rest of Belegonia by poor weather, she is confined to the island with four others, including the mysterious castellan of the castle. When the body of one of the guests is discovered on the rocks outside the east tower, Celie is not only considered a suspect, but finds herself embroiled in events that are entwined with her own kingdom’s cursed history, as well as the future of the entire land of Skuldenore.

s

Quintana of Charyn

There’s a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn’s unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn’s war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

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However, I personally would recommend starting with Froi of the Exiles, because Finnikin of the Rock has some pacing issues that may turn off newer readers to the fantasy genre, because Froi is an entirely new story starring the same characters as Finnikin without requiring much knowledge of the first book, and because I just think Froi is the better book. Quintana of Charyn should be read next as the direct sequel to Froi, while Finnikin can then be read as a prequel. According to the publisher, Ferragost can be read independently of the main series, but I recommend reading it after Finnikin to get its full effect.

So my reading order would be:
1) Froi of the Exiles (My Review)
2) Quintana of Charyn (My Review)
3) Finnikin of the Rock (My Review)
4) Ferragost (My Review)

As I said, the series has a large cast of characters and follows them in nonlinear order with multiple points of view, so some suggested things to watch for in addition to the main plot include:
– Trevanion’s relationship with Lady Beatrice
– Lucian and Phaedra’s relationship
– The Lumaterans’ opinion of Charyn over the course of the books
– The role of mythology in the series, particularly the duology presented by a certain goddess

Seriously, the side plots in this series are richer than the main plots of the average young adult book – anyone who’s ever claimed they’ve never felt emotions for a fictional character has never tried this series.

Bonus Spoiler
One of the most commonly asked questions about Quintana of Charyn is Lucian and Phaedra’s story. Highlight below for a recap (WARNING: spoilers for both Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn).

Lucian is Finnikin’s friend first introduced in Finnikin of the Rock (unless you followed my advice about starting with Froi of the Exiles). Phaedra is his Charynite wife… which causes some complications because 1) Lumatere and Charyn share a complicated and violent history and 2) Charynites are barren from their curse so they can’t have children. As a result, Phaedra isn’t accepted by her husband or his people, until her strength finally wins him over. Except – to protect the Charynite refugees fleeing the chaos in Charyn, Phaedra fakes her own death, and leaves Lucian heartbroken right when he finally accepts that he loves her. At least that’s where Froi of the Exiles leaves them. Well, fear not, because of course Lucian discovers Phaedra’s still alive, and even though he’s betrayed by her deception, and even though other circumstances continue to keep them apart, they do get back together at the end of Quintana of Charyn and it’s one of the sweetest scenes you’ll ever read.

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  1. December 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

    one of my favorite series ever!
    interesting that you would read finnikin 3rd… will there not be spoilers in froi and quintanna?

    • December 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Yeah, there are, but the spoilers are general like Lumatere was under a curse or we beat them in the end. Knowing what happened doesn’t stop me from reading other prequel series, the fun is in the how.

      Also, I’m trying this with my sister, the first few chapters of Finnikin bored her to death so I told her to read Froi. So far it’s working.

      • December 16, 2012 at 11:22 am

        good argument, I guess.
        But I agree with Lis, i like the way froi was introduced in finnikin. by the end for the book i actually really liked froi and was looking forward to read the book named after him.
        i think it depends on the readers preferences. There are people out there who prefered finnikin to froi. but i guess if someone cant get into finniking going your route is a good idea

        • Katy
          December 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

          I have to agree. Finnikin started out slow because Marchetta focused too much on the curse, and it dragged and was a bit confusing. But once the story started moving along, it was pretty great. And I think reading it backwards is like reading a prequel, which never gives the same experience, and it ruins a lot of things like the Evanjalin’s story.

          • December 17, 2012 at 10:31 am

            True, my order is not recommended for people like you who can’t read the book if they’ve already seen the show or movie adaptation:p I’m just saying Finnikin can be read as a prequel after Froi since Froi only gives away the basics and Evanjalin’s identity is really obvious when reading Finnikin anyway. But stick to the traditional order if you don’t like (mild) spoilers ;D

            • Lis
              December 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

              But take finnikin for example. He was a bit out of his element at first in Quintana, playing the over jealous husband etc. but we could forgive him that cause we know him better than that. Right? So aren’t you afraid people would start to dislike him if they don’t read his story first?

              • December 17, 2012 at 11:04 am

                I said start with Froi. Not Quintana :p

                He’s a little jealous in Froi too … but Froi did try to rape his wife (which the book mentions). (And yes, I know that’s a spoiler, prequels aren’t for spoiler haters)

                • Lis
                  December 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

                  And we all know how I dislike spoilers… :p so no, the spoilers wouldn’t be the problem for me. I know you said froi before Quintana but then it is still Quintana before finnikin 🙂 and there isn’t enough finnikin in froi to like him enough to see past his annoying behavior in Quintana, I think ..

  2. Lis
    December 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Not sure about the reading order… I agree with you that Finnikin starts rather slow but once you pass that, the story draws you in. And the reason why I liked Froi so much is cause I didn’t like him at first. If that makes sense.. Cause I witnessed his change in character he grow on me. Also, in Froi and Quintana, Finnikin and his queen are mentioned frequently. Not sure if everything will be clear if you miss their background story + also not sure if you’d like them same way as you like them when you read Finnikin first.

  3. Lis
    December 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

    And omg!! I just realize I still haven’t read Ferragost! :0

    • December 16, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Woot! First person I’ve helped with this public service announcement 😀 Get on it!

      • Lis
        December 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

        :0 :0
        I’m already swallowed atm cause a certain person keeps recommending me and asking me to read books!

  4. Lis
    December 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Hmm it’s swamped instead of swallowed isn’t it? :/ well, as long as you guys understand me.. :p

  5. Nyx
    December 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I have yet to read this series. I have them all loaded on my Kindle already too.

    • Lis
      December 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      You really should!! And let us know whether or not you liked it 🙂

    • December 17, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Yes, try it and let us know what you think

  6. Lexie
    December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    LOL, I feel like Mitch did this one, also because he knows I haven’t read it yet. 😮 😛

    • Lis
      December 18, 2012 at 12:31 am

      And you dare to say that out loud?! :O read it Lexi!!!

      • Lexie
        December 18, 2012 at 7:58 am

        So you read it already??

        • Lis
          December 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

          Of course I did. I loved the series. One of my favo ever

          • Lexie
            December 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

            :/ Soooooo…. I guess I really need to read it then… >_<

            • Lis
              December 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

              Yep no excuses anymore little missy. Just try it. I didn’t read a lot fantasy books before finnikin and even I liked it so that’s a good sign 🙂

              • Lexie
                December 19, 2012 at 4:38 am

                Okay, so… froi first. Lol. Will do before the end of the month. 😉

                • Lis
                  December 19, 2012 at 4:44 am

                  Lol well I don’t really agree with that but hey you can be Mitch’s guinea pig 😉

                  • December 19, 2012 at 7:26 am

                    Hey my sister was my guinea pig and it worked. I’m not guaranteeing success, only saying it’s an additonal option. GL Lexie.

                    • lis
                      December 19, 2012 at 9:14 am

                      yeah but she tried Finnikin first, right?
                      @ Lex: imo you should at least TRY first to start with Finnikin… and if it isn’t going good, try Mitch’s way

                  • Lexie
                    December 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

                    LMAO! I think he already have his sister as his guinea pig. :p

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