Quintana of Charyn
by Melina Marchetta
Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: NetGalley
The climactic conclusion of Printz Award winner Melina Marchetta’s epic fantasy trilogy!
Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi and his companions travel through Charyn searching for Quintana and building an army that will secure her unborn child’s right to rule. While in the valley between two kingdoms, Quintana of Charyn and Isaboe of Lumatere come face-to-face in a showdown that will result in heartbreak for one and power for the other. The complex tangle of bloodlines, politics, and love introduced in Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles coalesce into an engrossing climax in this final volume.
QUINTANA OF CHARYN was the kind of book that inspires haunting the internet, keeping an eye out for pre-orders and strategizing to outsmart regional publication dates. Here in this last story, the rhythms of the trilogy transmuted to something new. If FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK gave me Finnikin and Evangeline, if FROI OF THE EXILES broke my heart and reassembled the pieces around Froi and Quintanta, QUINTANTA OF CHARYN is the story of all of these characters. Of their kingdoms and politics, of their past loses and vengeful anger, of the danger and passion that no sword can fend off.
The stage starts with political intrigue. Charyn convulses with warring factions and political agendas, and the reality of ruling Lumatere means Finnikin’s happily-ever-after is as fraught and beautiful as the events that lead up to it. But if the politics provide the backdrop, the true stars are the returning characters. Despite the ferocious cover and title, Quintana’s point of view doesn’t dominate this book. Rather, this is the story of Froi trying to protect his family. Lumateran or Charyn, both blood and adopted, Froi battles to bring some measure of safety and happiness to them all. Marchetta has strung so many threads over the course of these books, written so many beautiful and heartbreaking relationships, and she forsakes none of them in QUINTANA OF CHARYN. In this culminating story the true measure of her genius is revealed as the little hints and events from past books create a natural cascade. Anger, love, and grief, forgiveness, healing, and hope, this book had me strung tight between tears and laughter the whole way through.
The politics of this series are complex enough that I wouldn’t recommend skipping a single book, let alone how important the slow build of these relationships is to this most satisfying of conclusions. Fans of Game of Thrones will find sweeping intrigue and politics with a bit more humanity, fans of fantasy will find a rich mysticism that blurs the lines between death and life, and fans of romance will find relationships so real, so heart-wrenchingly beautiful and painful and glorious, that the day to day events following a storybook happily-ever-after are just as rewarding as any glamor and drama that preceded it. I gave QUINTANA OF CHARYN 5 bats, but in reality this rating needs to be shared across the entire series. Marchetta has created something haunting and lovely in these books, terribly sad and undeniably real, and this last installment delivers the full fruit of the promise that has built from page one.
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