Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta *** 6 Stars ***

I finished this not 5 minutes ago, and though I may be wiping my eyes and typing through tears, I felt it fitting to write down just how amazing this story was while it was so raw on my heart.

First off, Melina is a master of her craft, and has more ability in one finger, than many authors have in their whole being. She has brought to life a place and people who are so real, and dear, that I know I will treasure them always and wish I could keep them safe and happy for always. Such is the feelings one gets when presented with such rich and textured writing. I bow to you Melina Marchetta.

When I first read Finnikin Of The Rock I was unexpectedly swept away into his world, and I felt the joy and anguish that I had found such a tale and that it would undoubtedly end leaving me to re-read it many times over. What I hadn't quite grasped was how Froi could be the person to whom I would learn more about in the second installment. I did not feel particularly attached to him and was a little surprised that he had become so loved. However, anything that was given to me that was set in this world would be loved so I knew that I would need to find out more, and I can admit that I was intrigued enough by him to want to know what needed to be revealed to me.

What I found was a tale that not only gave me as much joy as the first, but surpassed it. The story of Quintana broke my heart at every word, and I feel quite shattered right now and the atrocities to which she faced all her life. A 4 year-old begging for death after vomiting because she had been poisoned? Yes, that ripped my heart out and brought tears to my eyes. "“Quintana of Charyn's body was a map of hatred.”

Everyone in this story made my heart hurt to some degree or another. Gar and Ari and the chasm that was not breached by the end of the novel. Oliver even, who was so lost as to not know that he was doing the wrong thing when his actions took Froi where they did. Lirah. Oh Lirah made me weep with her tale of the night of weeping, and I think that I would be very happy indeed to read that she is happy and rearing horses at some stable with land and space all her own. Beatriss made me cry when she couldn't get out of bed, and she made me cry with happiness when Vestie was given her father. There are more, but right now I do not want to write them all down. Just be warned that the strength of the people created in this world are unlike that of any I have read, and I have read a great deal over my years (not all of my reads are recorded here as I only joined a year ago).

As I fell in love with Lumatear when I was with Finnikin, so to did I find myself grudgingly loving Charyn with Froi. I hoped to hear Froi let his song loose, but I will have to wait for that.

All in all this is the story of strength and love, and pure stubborn will. I know this will be another that I will treasure and dream about, and have to loving touch the cover to feel as though they aren't that far away. Do yourselves a favor and read this story. It is not fair to yourself to go another minute without it. My absolute gratitude to my friend Catie for sharing her book with me and putting me out of my misery of waiting.