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Quintana of Charyn

Quintana of Charyn - Melina Marchetta Review and giveaway of all three Lumatere Chronicles hardcovers on The Midnight Garden blog!I keep to myself, but I find they are watching. I clench both my fists; I'll kill them in a beat. Your words pound my brain, Froi; if they dare try to touch me, a knife to the side and a slit ear to ear.Those in my cave, they grab and they drag me. They want me to bathe, but they'll soon know the truth. And the fear in their faces speaks loud of their awe, and I capture the crying and tell them what's true. ...and the women, they stare with fear in their hope, but it's a hope drenched in tears, and it smothers me whole.Every time I set out to review something by Melina Marchetta, I end up staring at a blank screen wondering just what I could say that could possibly do what I've read justice.Quintana of Charyn is my fifth Marchetta book, but it hasn't gotten any easier. I am, as usual, left speechless in awe.I could talk about the scope of the world building in the Lumatere Chronicles; how Marchetta has created a full-fledged country--or continent, maybe--with 11 different regions, and countless provinces within them. And within those, their own separate societies, languages, traditions, and lore.Or maybe I should focus on the characters. I should tell you about the way they reach off the page and wrap their fists around your heart. They way they crawl under your skin and build a home inside you, so you swear they must be real people you've known forever. So you burn, and ache, and grieve for them. So you love them, even when they're wrong. Maybe especially when they're wrong. Because their flaws make them feel all the more real. The sheer depth Marchetta is able to bring every last one of her characters is astounding--especially when you consider just how many characters there are in this series. And not one is superfluous.Froi's characterization in particular is nothing short of masterful. From "filthy little feef", to farmer, to assassin, to lover, to a beautifully flawed man, capable of loving with a ferocity that is as ruthless as it is endearing. His emotional growth is evident on every page, but never conspicuous. And then there's Quintana, who I have loved from the first shadow puppet. So broken, so strong. Her character only grows more interesting, more complex. More lovable. Just as insane, but imbued with an undeniable humanity. With the same fierce love as Froi, the same courage that grows from self-doubt, but with a grace that is all her own.One of the things I love the most about this series is how all the characters continue to grow through all three books. Finnikin and Isaboe, Lucian and Phaedra, Trevanion and Beatriss (and, and, and...) are not simply relegated to background characters. They continue to grow, to change, to have an integral part of the story. The relationships between them all deepen, stretch, conform to fit the shape of the new people they become. The message of family, and friendship, and love--for your country, for your home, for your people, for yourself--endures in Quintana. It is a gripping, haunting, sexy conclusion that fulfilled and exceeded every one of my expectations. So, no. I don't really know what to tell you, only that I hope you read these books--or any book at all by Melina Marchetta, who writes the most emotionally powerful stories I've ever read. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.