Publication Date: September 29th 2008
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5
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.
There were some things about this book that I liked less than Finnikin of the Rock and some things that I liked more. I don't think that it is actually worse, but the fact that it is so much longer makes its faults more obvious and gives them more focus.
I think my biggest complaint about this book, besides the length itself, would be the writing. It seemed really chopping and hard to follow. In particular, I remember one scene where Lirah slaps someone, and then just continues to talk to Quintana as if the slap never happened, no one acknowledged the slap, the person who was slapped did not protest, nothing. It felt like the slap had been cut and paste from a different scene. And a lot of times a scene is just abandoned and the next line says, "The next day Froi went to..." or something of the sort. Even if the previous scene seemed incomplete, ended in the middle of a conversation, or with a question. A lot of time was skipped and I felt like I was missing stuff. It had no flow.
I also had a lot of trouble understanding the characters. Their behaviour was inconsistent and after 600 pages I still feel like I don't know any of them and I don't understand their motives. I still don't know who to trust. One minute Froi loves them, the next minute he hates them, and they have never really did anything to deserve either sentiment. They were just in the way. I really couldn't care less about any of them. They could just die for all I care. Except for Quintana because Froi loves her and I want Froi to be happy. Froi is the only good character in this whole series. I remember thinking that even while I was reading Finnikin of the Rock.
So, as with Finnikin, this book only gets stars for the story. The story of Charyn is very interesting and deserves to be told. I only wish it had been told differently, and written differently. But it is a very unique story, I will give it that. And I enjoy Froi and seeing how far his life has brought him, and everything he has accomplished. I will read Quintana of Charyn eventually, but I am not making it a priority.
"It's not that I like you least. It's that I feared you most. The Reginita taught me to like you. There was a strange joy to her that lifted my spirits. But you, Quintana of Charyn, you made me love you."