Jellicoe Road had me gripped from start to finish, so I expected to be just as enamored with Finnikin of the Rock. In a way, yes, the story *was* gripping, but in another way, I found myself put off by it. I’m still trying to put my finger on what caused such a reaction, but I think I’m starting to get an inkling. It’s the magic – which is unusual for me, because I love fantasy novels. If you look at my overflowing bookcase you’ll find a variety of fantasy novels ranging from classics: The Chronicles of Narnia and LOTR, to lighter, fluffier books: Howl’s Moving Castle and Ella Enchanted..
But – I did not care for Finnikin of the Rock. Why? I think I’m starting to figure out exactly why. I like stories where the magic isn’t dark and the magic isn’t the main focus of the storyline. Okay, so in LOTR and many other novels, magic has a huge part to play, but it’s rarely the biggest focus – usually I find myself following the characters on a journey as they deal with magic.
And, in a way, I did with Finnikin of the Rock. But it was incredibly hard for me to see past the magic to the storyline and the characters. The magic was just so constant and just did not resonate with me in a good way at all. It felt…oppressive; a magic where characters use magic through blood-letting? Just a little creepy to me. You see, fantasy novels are a way for me to escape from the cares of daily life into a world where I wouldn’t mind visiting if it were at all possible (in a way, I’m much like the characters of the Inkheart books in that respect). Finnikin’s world is one that I’d never want to visit. Never. As a result, Finnikin of the Rock doesn’t meet my standard of a good fantasy novel – unfortunate, but true. Just not my cup of tea.
Still, Jellicoe Road was excellent and I know I’d give Melina Marchetta’s other books a try if I ever have the chance.