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. 

Last year I completely lost myself in FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK and I have been waiting ever since to get my hands on FROI OF THE EXILES. As 2012 was ushered in I was finally back in Lumatere.

My first book of 2012 has set a high bar for the rest. This is one wonderful, mesmerizing, turn off the phone, and lock the door book. It’s a lengthy 506 pages, but I just flew through it.

Wonderful as it is this is a dark book, darker than Finnikin, and I think it may not be to everyone’s tastes. A lot of bad things happen, a lot. And they happen to good people, to innocent people, to people you love and care about. While most of these things that happen aren’t actually experienced by the reader, the effects are, and that makes Froi a heart breaking and often uncomfortable read.

But it is definitely a worthwhile one, definitely.

The world is rich, unique, and yet recognizable. The politics, history, cultural tensions and divides are woven into the story, so it felt like something I’d always known about. And the characters, oh the characters! They are vivid, wonderful and real. I fell in love with Froi and Quintana, even though they are not the most instantly lovable of characters. They are both damaged, slow to trust and prickly. Yet they are brave, good, funny, and working for things greater than their own happiness.

I also have a huge soft spot for the twin Gargarin and Arjuro. Their backstory is heart wrenching, but their dialogue just sparkles. Their scenes with Froi, and with each other, were some of my favourites.

It was also wonderful to revisit Isaboe and Finnikin. Now married, with a daughter, and struggling to return Lumatere to what it once was. I love how Melina Marchetta writes couples living their happily ever after. She did it brilliantly in THE PIPER’S SON and she does is brilliantly here too. Plus I adored Princess Jasmine, anyone with a two year old will relate!

FROI OF THE EXILES was wonderful, but the ending, argh the ending! It’s going to haunt me until I can Quintana of Charyn and find out what the heck happens next.

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