Finnikin of the Rock: Week Two

It's week two of the Lumatere Chronicles Read-Along! We're making progress, meeting new characters and taking back the kingdom. Huzzah!

Sooo... anyway, if you're a little behind, it's not too late to catch up. Go visit the week one post, and be sure to join in on the awesome discussion in the comments. Just to repeat: answering the questions is optional. We really just want to discuss our thoughts, theories and feelings on what happened in that week's reading.

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

So much is happening in our reading, and that made it so hard for me to stop at Chapter 18! I really did want to continue. The book feels like it's flying by, and I am loving being able to share my thoughts and hear yours as we discuss. This is the best kind of book to read with others - political intrigue, magical elements, fighting to reclaim a kingdom... Lots to talk about this week!

Here are eight questions to get us started:

1. In the first chapter of this week's reading, there is a line about how it was "as if [Evanjalin] could barely raise her head from the demons that weighed her down" (135). How did you feel about what we learned this week about her past?
I think it's interesting how much we learned about what Evanjalin has gone through, but it still feels like we've barely scratched the surface. I did feel like it helped explain some of why she's so secretive and untrustworthy. I think she's been on her own for so long, doing everything she can to survive, that maybe she still isn't quite able to be forthcoming about everything she knows, her motives, etc.

2. Trevanion describes Perri and Tessadora as "victims of hate" when he tells the story about them. Did that strike you as also being an accurate description for Froi and Evanjalin?
I think this phrase really stood out to me after our conversation last week about the scene with Froi attempting to force himself on Evanjalin and her decision to then sell him to traders. It's also interesting to think about the different mentality associated with being a victim versus being a survivor.

3. What do you think about the idea of the blood curse? And about what might be taking place back in Lumatere since, as Trevanion points out to Finnikin, Evanjalin omits the information about why the deaths are being faked in the first place?
I'm so nervous about what is going on back in Lumatere! I don't even want to speculate because what if it's worse than I'm imagining! I feel like there's more that will develop here. But I did like that Evanjalin was more upfront about what she had seen. I thought it might be a good step for her character to share that information instead of keeping it to herself and using it later for her own advantage. And I did get a little tickled at the men's reaction to the mention of monthly bleedings. Oh the horror!

4. Was I the only person who thought Evanjalin seemed to be running a little hot and cold this week depending on the scene?
I was getting a little frustrated with Evanjalin in this week's reading. It's not that I need her to be in love with him or anything, but girl definitely seems like she can be kind of moody at times. One minute she was crying because he'd been shot with an arrow and the next she's calling him stupid. I guess she's angry because she wants more from him, but dang girl cut the boy some slack!

5. How do you feel about Perri? 
From the quote about "the defeat that came from not being able to escape his roots" to the mystery about his actions toward the end of this week's reading, I find him very intriguing! I loved that Trevanion chose him to protect his son despite his reputation. And that scene where he protects pulls  a knife on that lad that goes to look at baby Finnikin? Adored!

6. What did you think of the scene where Evanjalin asks Finnikin if he fears that he's "stolen their life" in regards to the royal children?
I thought this was heartbreaking! It helps explain why Finnikin seems so burdened. He was live up to his father's reputation, suffer from watching so many people get murdered, as well as feel as though his secret thoughts had in some way contributed to what happened to the people he loved. What a burden to bear!

7. Did anyone else underline Evanjalin's words to Finnikin about leading with your head and your heart?
Whatever she does wrong, I do like that she challenges Finnikin and wants him to think about being more than just a warrior. I have no idea what's coming, but I feel like she is trying to prepare him for something BIG that is going to happen. Will Finnikin embrace being a leader?

8. What did you think of Evanjalin's speech to the exiles when she tries to convince them to leave?
When she wants to show her strength, this girl does not back down. I find it interesting that she has physical strength (being able to defend herself), emotional strength (being able to survive all that she has without completely shutting down inside) and this verbal strength that gives her such power when she chooses. Just re-read these words: "I suggest, sir, that you find no joy in being an exile. Do not make it a badge to wear with honor."And tell me that wouldn't have you seriously considering following her lead?

There were other scenes I really enjoyed this week, such as Evanjalin returning Majorontai's name to her kingdom for the ghosts to capture it, Finnikin and Evanjalin pretending that they want to be joined to enter Pietrodore and Trevanion reuniting with his guard. Anything I left off that you loved?

So Quotable
"Sir Topher, do you honestly believe we are not all marked for death anyway?" - page 165

"'Today this courtyard was filled with great warriors. What is one more? But it was not filled with great men who have the heart to rule a kingdom. Any man can kill, Finnikin. It is a stroke, an action with one's hand. But not every man knows how to lead. For that you need what's here,' she said, pointing to his head, 'and what's here.' She laid a hand on his chest." - page 204

"I cannot begin to tell you of the demons that visit humans as they sleep. Guilt is the greatest monster. Remorse, a killer. But the worst are the memories. Yet sometimes, they are the only things that keep our people alive." - page 213


  1. Ah! You've reminded me of something I meant to talk about in my discussion post (see here), but forgot: Evanjalin returning Majoratani's name to her homeland, and how nicely that ties in with the two other times that names have been at the center of a scene—first, with Finnikin and Evanjalin shouting from the rock, and later, when the merchant child tells Evanjalin that her name "doesn't matter."

    I also love, love, love the quote you cited, about "the demons that visit humans as they sleep." As a holdover from my days as a literature major, I'm always fascinated by the tension between how something intangible, like memory, can both destroy and give strength.

    I'm so excited for the next section. Going to try not to read it all in one go, but ugh, not easy.... Thanks again for running this read along; I'm having so much fun. :)

    1. YES, Anna, I love the continuing importance of names and identity in this book too.

    2. YES to both of you! I am so in love with how names and identity are central to this book, and I'm wondering if this will continue into the next two books.

  2. Yes! I feel like no matter how much we're learning about Evanjalin there's still so much more we don't know. You know her omitting knowledge drives me nuts, but I suppose if I think about her past, I can understand how it's become a habit. But yes, she totally needs to cut Finnikin some slack because the kid DOES have a massive burden. :P

    I'm dying to know what's going on in Lumatere as well! I'd actually love to read a story from the perspective of someone trapped inside (though it would probably be largely depressing).

    For some reason I really enjoyed the scene where Finnikin was fighting Moss--it was just one of those happy homecoming type moments even if it wasn't exactly home yet. I was stupid smiling the whole time.

    Awesome discussion questions again, Hannah! Set me up to talk about everything I wanted to, and also made some connections I hadn't thought of.

    I posted my thoughts on my Goodreads review again. Heads up, I'm out of town this next week, so I won't be chiming in until early the week after that. My copy of Finnikin is too beloved and signed to be shoved into a suitcase, so I'll be reading when I get home.

    1. Totally agree that it constantly feels like you never quite know everything about Evanjalin! She's such a complex and complicated character. And although I think that makes her frustrating and unlikeable at times, I also LOVE that Marchetta writes women who are layered. She isn't a cookie cutter badass fighter heroine. She's not a stereotypical victim who has been so broken by everything she has gone through. And that's what I'm coming to love even more than Evanjalin herself. I love that Marchetta writes complex women that keep me coming back for more.

      Dying for more info from Lumatere! I feel like we'll never really know EVERYTHING that happened inside those walls.

      I LOVED the fight scene, too. Such a joyful reunion! I almost included a question about it :)

      Glad you loved the questions! Excited to go check out your responses.


  3. Anna and Heidi -

    Just in case you missed these, there are also some great responses to this week's reading from Amy and Alexa!

  4. I feel like there's so much more going on in this book now, since Part 2 featured a whole slew of new and important things happening in all their lives! I'm learning to like and trust Evanjalin more than ever, and I'm now roused to help the Lumaterans recover their home!


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