Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Series Everyone Must Read

The sordid, complex story of Quintana and Froi continues in Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta. While one kingdom has begun rebuilding, another is struggling to overcome the curse that left them without the ability to have children. However, the very breakers of the curse are the least likely to create hope amongst the broken people of Charyn... unless those people truly knew them, of course.

Froi was just a criminal from Sarnak and Quintana was a savage, mad princess from Charyn, but together they came together and created the first innocent, beautiful creation that had ever come from two tortured and disturbed souls: the baby Quintana is carrying. That baby is the first baby to be born to Charyn since the curse of the weeping began and Charyn's babies were taken from their mother's wombs. Now, knowing a little prince grows inside his mad mother, every person in all of the land hunts for his mother: some to protect her, some to kill her and claim the babe for their own, but only one because he loves her, even if Froi can barely admit it to himself. 

However, the hunt is in the middle of trying times where Finnikin and Isaboe are trying desperately to rebuild Lumatere after the Charyn invasion and curse split their kingdom. Charyn is in the middle of a bloody, desperate power struggle. Even Froi himself is split between the Lumaterians he loves and the Charynites he belongs to. But one thing is for sure, and that is that Quintana is the least "queenly" person to be at the center of it all. Even the women protecting her think she is a cruel, savage girl... at first. The more Quintana's life and decisions come to light, the more people see a woman of true sacrifice before them. It might be shrouded in a rat's nest of hair, wolfish teeth, and a savage grimace, but Quintana and Froi have created a true little king, and as the world's most unlikely couple, they will do anything to protect him. With very bad men out to take the little king, this is a feat like no other, but unlikely allies crop up everywhere. Even where you least expect them. And together, they have the opportunity to rebuild all kingdoms, regardless of how destroyed and demoralized they have become at the hands of those with too much powerful and too much corruption.

I want to weep. I actually want to cry, pound my fists on the floor, and scream knowing this is the final Lumatere story. I can't believe it is over. There is some kind of magic that Marchetta weaves with each of these stories that just takes over your life and makes you unable to imagine a life without them. I am devastated to think that I will not have more of Froi, Isaboe, Finn, Phaedra, Lucian, and even Quintana in my life. They truly transformed a simple reading experience into something so special and magical that I find it hard to locate the words that will actually do it justice. 

There was something so beautiful and bittersweet about Froi and Quintana, that by describing them, I cannot do them justice. I am sure, if you haven't read these books yourself, you think they are the most unlikely "heroes" to ever grace the pages, but you would be wrong. It is their flaws, either the wrongs they have survived and prevented for others, their very savage nature, or even the fierceness with which they react to those threatening their interests, that make them so beautiful. These two have lived through such horrors, and neither should ever be able to trust after the way they both separately grew up. But these characters are so deep and dynamic, that they become REAL with each page, and, in all their flawed glory, you will find yourself loving them as much as I did. 

As a conclusion, there was an important piece to Marchetta's final story: the final 100 pages. Any uninvested author or punchy editor/publisher might not have allowed a story to continue for 100 pages in order to fully explore the story after the final apex, but not Marchetta. She took her time in order to do these characters and their stories justice. And justice you have. There is no way to complete this story and not be more than satisfied. In fact, if you have come this far, you are just as devastated to lose this series as I am. I feel like Marchetta just finished the series that will undoubtedly be the "classic trilogy" we will be reading to our grandchildren the same way they are being read the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter series now. She is going to be one of those authors who is revered for generations to come, because you cannot write a truly perfect series such as the Lumatere Chronicles and not go down in the history books. And thank you, Ms. Marchetta, for bringing these characters and their stories to our shelves. We promise to cherish their stories for years to come!

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