The Holy Terror

A possible retreat from goodreads ... though I'm tempted to yell "get off my lawn" at this site's tumblresque-ness. Yes, that's totally a word.

Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock - I think this is the point where Marchetta and I go our separate ways. I read Saving Francesca and didn't enjoy it, and thought maybe it was just my aversion to realistic/contemporary fiction that was keeping me from riding the Marchetta love-train. After this second attempt I think she's just not for me. There isn't one thing I can point out that makes me say "this" is why I don't like her books, but there are numerous problems I can draw attention to.My biggest gripe is that the plot hinges on assumptions made by numerous characters. What I mean by this is: if Evanjalin had revealed her secret early on then a lot of the problems that cropped up wouldn't have manifested. Although, Marchetta does address this by having one of the characters point out to Finnikin that if he knew the truth then he wouldn’t have made the right choices. So we have assumptions on top of assumptions now. Evanjalin constantly keeps secrets from them: both big and small ones. She puts everyone on a need to know basis, and makes their journey harder by doing so. I can’t even count how many times I wanted to shake her and tell her just to be straight with them. It was beyond frustrating.And THEN, when her secret is revealed, everyone treats Evanjalin like she’s a saint and did no wrong-doing; suddenly, she's up on this pedestal and can't be touched. This felt so manufactured and inorganic. Everyone acts differently and practically out-of-character from how they were just a few chapters ago. I can understand some of this to a point, but the complete 180 everyone did just didn't sit well with me. Surprisingly, Finnikin was the only one who still acted marginally the same.Evanjalin manipulates everyone and everything around her, without any regret. She is largely of the mind that "the ends justify the means" and does whatever the hell she wants. Evanjalin knows best and everyone else can just suck it. I understand she went through more than any person should have to endure, but her actions and her attitude throughout the book did not endear me to her. I liked Finnikin until he decided that he was in love with Evanjalin; which was yet another thing that didn’t occur naturally. Evanjalin lies, manipulates, and somewhat betrays everyone in her traveling party, even Finnikin, and everyone just accepts this and falls in love with her. It's so mind-boggling. Then we have Froi. I will never get over what he did, and I honestly don't understand why Marchetta had his character do what he did, because it didn't fit with the image she created of him for the rest of the book. You want me to like him? Well, don’t make him attempt to rape the main character. I don’t care what sort of environment someone grows up in, I can't imagine anyone being able to rehabilitate, forgive, and grow to love someone who tried to rape them.Then there are two nit-picky things that were always in the back of my head. Finnikin learns the Yut language within a few days. And, from what I gather, the Yut language is very different from any of the other languages, as it’s described as being guttural and full of grunts (166), so it’s not like it’s just a dialect of another language or even a close sister-language. Finnikin is also a wiz when it comes to learning new languages, and I understand that, but to be able to make complex proclamations in a language you’ve only been taught in a matter of days is incredibly implausible.Also, we have the multiple races (different skin/eye/hair color combinations are constantly remarked on) all living on one tiny island. There is a reason that almost 99% of the people in Japan are Japanese (even taking into account their tendency towards xenophobia). You just won't find so many different ethnicities living on such a small land mass, and even if this did somehow exist, they would eventually interbreed to the point where everyone would be a mix of everyone else. And, considering the remark Trevanion makes about the Yuts being at war for the past 10,000 years (175), this makes the fact that there are so many races even more unbelievable. And why are the people who live in the hot tropical climates fair-skinned with pale eyes (171)? The closer you are to the sun, the darker you’ll be in order to survive. This is such a weird thing to overlook.I also felt like the magic and religion of this world were thrown together rather haphazardly. Nothing is really explained all that much and you’re just supposed to accept things for what they are. I don't mind not having info dumps about everything, but at least eventually let me into the club so I know what the rules are. Evanjalin explains that she can walk the sleep when she bleeds (which we later find out that she can do this if the wound is self-inflicted as well), does that mean that Vestie walks the sleep somehow in a different way? Obviously a toddler isn’t going to have a period, and no one would deliberately cut her, so how did she manage it? Why go to the trouble of creating this situation for Evanjalin and then arbitrarily change the rules when Vestie is introduced? Did I miss something in the explanation? And the religion seemed pointless as well, when it didn't even factor into anything other than having a place to sequester people. I didn’t understand placing so much emphasis on Sagrami and Lagrami worshippers, other than to have a convenient group of people to persecute.Marchetta is a competent writer, but I don’t think she’s a good story-teller. There are too many things I can pick at and too many issues I have with her characters that I just find myself unable to enjoy her books as a whole. This is likely my last chance I'm giving her, because I normally like fantasy so much more than contemporary, and this one had almost as many issues for me as Francesca did. I know lots of people love Marchetta, but in this book lots of people love Evanjalin too, and I think in both instances I'm just not drinking the right Kool-aid.

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