Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta (Candlewick Press, 2013) will be published April 2013. My full review will appear then; in the meanwhile, my tease — and tease it is — is I loved Quintana and loved this conclusion to the Lumatere series. You’ll be seeing this as a Favorite Books Read in 2013. Reviewed from the Australia Edition (Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (Australia), 2012); gift from a friend.
The Lumatere Chronicles began with Finnikin of the Rock (Candlewick Press, 2010); the second book was Froi of the Exiles (Candlewick Press, 2012). Finnikin is a standalone and creates the world and characters of Lumatere; Froi and Quintana combine to make one story told in two volumes. (A short story, Ferragost, takes place during the same time as the events in the beginning of Quintana). If you haven’t read these yet, you have plenty of time before the final volume is published!
About ten years before the events in Finnikin, the country of Lumatere was invaded, the royal family murdered, and the country cursed; half the population are trapped outside in exile, half trapped inside with an impostor king. Finnikin is the teenage son of the head of the royal guard, one of the many exiles. There is a rumor that the royal prince survived the massacre, so Finnikin goes in search of him.
Froi takes place a handful of years later; Lumatere has been freed of its curse and Finnikin, with others, has been working to restore the country and bring it back to a place of prosperity as well as heal the deep wounds from the turmoil years before. Froi was an orphan, a child raised on the streets, found and taken in by Finnikin and the other Lumatereans. Intensely loyal to those in Lumatere, Froi is sent on a mission of revenge to secretly kill the King of Charyn, the man the Lumatereans believe orchestrated the invasion and murders of the royal family. Froi finds the King to be just as bad as everyone believes, but also finds that the Charynites are not all evil. He meets the king’s daughter, Quintana, a cursed young woman.
In Quintana, Froi and Quintana have been separated and Froi’s loyalties are torn between Lumatere and Charyn. Charyn is in turmoil.
Quintana, like Finnikin and Froi, is full of adventure and politics, intrigue and romance. It also addresses bigger questions of survival; of forgiveness; of reconciliation; of hope. It’s about the hard choices one has to make. I got to the end of Quintana and began reading it again, because I was not ready to leave this place and these people.