Finnikin of the Rock: Week Three

Welcome to week three of the Lumatere Chronicles Read-Along! First, I apologize for my delay in posting the Friday discussion post... especially since it's obviously Saturday. Oh well, life just got in the way.

BUT that just gave you more time to get excited about all the thing we have to talk about this week. Because was this a week of revelations or what?!

As always, discussion starts after the jump so we don't spoil things for anyone not participating.

I thought it was hard to stop at Chapter 18 last week, but that is nothing compared to how difficult it was to stop during this week's reading. So much was revealed, but I feel like there's still so much to learn.

Here are some thoughts I had while reading:

1. Did the comments about how Froi feels calm when the duke's wife hugs him and how he wonders if anyone had ever looked at him the way Trevanion looks at Finnikin seem notable to you?
I think one of the biggest things that stuck out to me in this week's reading was seeing Froi grow as a character. Even though they were small moments, I think it revealed so much about who he is becoming. I loved at the very beginning of our reading when comments are made about how Froi is interacting with others. I thought it was interesting how he went from behaving almost like a wild animal to being calmed by human touch and to be able to recognize the love in someone's eyes.

2. Were you struck by either of these two statements, one from Evanjalin and one from Trevanion, in light of our discussions about omitting information? "There are different types of truth, Froi." / "The queen omits rather than lies, Finnikin. For a purpose. One that will humble us each time."
Both of these sentences really stood out to me this week, and I think a big part of that is because we've spent so much time discussing how tricky Evanjalin is as a character. She certainly keeps a number of secrets (as we learned this week!), and that can sometimes make her unlikeable. Anna had a great comment in last week's discussion about the possibility that it's an issue of power for Evanjalin. Not that she needs to be more powerful, but that she needs to reveal information in doses in order to use them to her advantage.

So, all that being said, now that we know more of what Evanjalin has been hiding, do you agree with the comments that were made in the reading? Are there different types of truth? And are lying and omitting two very different things?

3. What did you think about Evanjalin and Finnikin's conversation about measuring loss? (See my "So Quotable" section if you don't remember this moment.)
This may not have jumped out to anyone else, but I still wanted to remark upon it. This conversation just struck a chord with me - maybe because it's not something that I'd necessarily thought about before. Loss is loss - no matter what it is or how it happened, you can't measure your loss against someone else's. I just like that they had this moment, and I think it's even more poignant once you know that Evanjalin basically experiences everyone's losses. She knows that the grief and pain are universal.

4. Were you surprised to learn that Balthazar was dead, or had you suspected all along?
I really had been holding out hope throughout the reading that Balthazar was alive! Even though I knew that Evanjalin wasn't always completely honest, I kept wishing that maybe this time she was telling the truth. I felt Finnikin's anger and despair when he learned the truth.

5. What did you think of Froi after he decides to follow Evanjalin and tries to claim he's Balthazar when they are captured?
So we started the reading seeing Froi grow emotionally based on his reactions to the hug and the look in Trevanion's eye. These two scenes then meant so much to me. I love that Froi, who was filled with so much hate, wanted to stick with Evanjalin because he'd do anything to live. And then finding out that he claimed to be Balthazar! Did that seem like a huge thing to anyone else? The old Froi, who cared only for himself, would never have done that in my mind. I love seeing how he is learning to interact and form relationships. 

6. Did you like how the scene where Finnikin reunites with Lucian mirrors Trevanion reuniting with his Guard?
I absolutely love how Marchetta gave Finnikin his own reunion scene! Although I loved him fighting in the courtyard last week, I was even more in love with him reuniting with his old friend. I love that he is able to have his father and friend restored to him, even in the midst of facing the depth of all he's lost.

7. Evanjalin's true identity is revealed! Were you shocked by the truth, and did the story of how she survived break your heart?
I totally did not see this coming! I know Heidi has suspected all along, but I really didn't think Evanjalin was Isaboe. So tell me - were you just as shocked as I was or did you have a feeling in your gut that's who she was?

And was your heart breaking when you learned about that night - Balthazar protecting his sister, Isaboe having to bury him and fake her death? Of all of the sad stories in this book, this one might be the one that touched me the most.

8. Did you notice that the recurring theme of identity becomes an issue for Finnikin after Evanjalin's identity comes to light? "He knew how to be Finnikin of the Rock to Evanjalin of the Monts. But he had no idea who to be to Queen Isaboe."
As we've already noted a number of times, identity is a big theme in this book. From the two shouting their names on the rock to Evanjalin returning her friend's name to her home, it has definitely been a key issue in the book. I love how it takes center stage when we learn about Evanjalin's true identity, but that is also a catalyst for Finnkin's own little identity crisis. Who is he now - particularly in light of Evanjalin's identity and what his two fathers (essentially) have raised him to be? 

9. What did you think of Evanjalin's reasoning that she didn't tell Finnikin everything, not because she didn't love or trust him, but because she needed him to choose his path?
I'm actually torn on whether or not I agree with Evanjalin here. While I understand her reasoning, I think it would be difficult to build a future with someone you can't fully trust because they haven't been honest in the past. That is a huge secret to keep, and I felt like it was a little manipulative. It does, however, help explain why she'd get so frustrated with Finnikin when he didn't do what she wanted or believed for him. So I'm curious, do you think this explanation is a good justification for omitting a lot of information, including her real identity?

10. Give me some clarity: did Trevanion really see Beatriss and their child alive in Lumatere? If so, why did she just walk away from him?
I need help! I reread this scene like three times and feel like I'm missing something. Did this really happen? And why in the world did it happen that way? I was so confused by this scene! I'm thinking I must have missed something, so fill me in if I did. If it was just as confusing to you, maybe Marchetta was purposefully being vauge and we'll learn more in our final week of reading?

Other things I loved this week: the story of young Finnikin demanding the exiles be fed, Finnikin dreaming of being a peasant farmer with his bride, Finnkin fighting to protect Lucian's "circle of grief" when his father dies, and Finnikin wishing he could tear away all of Evanjalin's memories of the pain and suffering experienced by the Lumaterans, FROI HOLDING THE FUTURE OF LUMATERE!

So Quotable
"But it was Finnikin he tried not to look at, except her heard something come from him that sound like some wild animal and then Finnikin said her name and as long as Froi was alive he had never heard a word said with such pain and he knew he never would again." - page 246

"How does one measure it, Finnikin? Does a man who's lost his family to famine suffer less than one who's lost them to an assassin's knife? Is it worse to die of drowning than to be trampled under the feet of others? If you lose your wife in childbirth, is it better than watching her burn at the stake? Death is death and loss is loss." - page 251


  1. I'm so glad I'm not alone in my what the what! reaction to Evanjalin's "true" identity. Heidi and Amy were both way ahead of us on that one, and I cannot for the life of me understand how! Actually, that's a lie: as I re-read, I did notice a lot of clues, but still. :p

    1. Haha they were definitely wayyy ahead of us on that one! I'm sure I'll notice more clues upon rereading :) Love your responses this week!

  2. I definitely did not think that Evanjalin was Isaboe! I guessed that she was lying about who she was, but I couldn't figure out her true identity. So when I found out, I was just completely shocked!

    1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't see that coming! I know Amy and Heidi suspected haha! Anna was rereading so she knew this time, but she's said she didn't see it coming the first time. I think I probably missed a lot of the clues, but I don't always put my "investigator" eyes on while reading :)


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