Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, book three)
By Melina Marchetta
Published 2013 by Candlewick Press
WARNING: There may be spoilers ahead. For my review of book one, go here; for book two, here.
Continuing the quest begun in Froi of the Exiles, Froi searches Charyn, desperate to find the girl he has sworn to protect. Meanwhile, Quintana will come face to face with Isaboe - and it may not end well for one of them. Will Froi find his true happiness? Will Quintana find safety? Will Finn and Isaboe find the peace for Lumatere they have sought for so long?
As I mentioned in my recent review of Froi, it's very difficult to review the last two books of this series separately. I read them back-to-back, with no break in between and it really seems to me like they read as one gigantic book split into two large books for convenience sake. Reading these two books almost makes Finnikin of the Rock feel like a companion novel instead of the book that started it all.
While it's true that Finnikin lays a lot of groundwork in establishing the characters and setting, the plots of Froi and Quintana are so intertwined and continuous that they feel like a duology instead of books two and three of a trilogy. Really, it doesn't matter, because all of these books are absolutely gorgeous and mesmerizing reads, but it is something I'm not sure I've seen before.
Regardless, everything I've said in my previous reviews of this series held true for book three as well. I was completely sucked in from page one, and even more emotionally involved having just finished book two. This series is such a stellar example of quality writing - the characters are engaging and easy to fall in love with, the world that's been created is fascinating and feels real, and the story never drags and holds the reader's interest over the entire series.
I think of myself as a lover of fantasy fiction and yes, the Lumatere Chronicles are a fantastic example of high fantasy that I think would appeal to any fantasy lover. But, I think the reason I really love this series is because of the characters. They feel so real and human - I feel all their feelings right alongside them. All of them struggle in their relationships with each other. All of them ask universal questions - what am I doing here? How do I know what's right? I think I would probably keep reading about these characters forever if Marchetta decided she wanted to keep writing about them.
While the main focus of both books two and three lies with Froi and Quintana, this book really pleases me as a conclusion because it brings every story line to an extremely satisfying conclusion. I felt like every character I had met and loved throughout the series got their due by the end of this novel. I get the warm fuzzies just thinking about this book, even months later.
Overall, this is an absolutely perfect conclusion to an enchanting series that needs to be read by any and all lovers of quality fiction. Highly, highly recommended.