Marchetta Madness: Guest Post from Joy of 132 Minutes

Joy is one of the ladies behind 132 Minutes, a blog dedicated to Melina Marchetta fans. If you’re a true Marchetta fan, you’d get the name of the blog. 😛 Go check it out and follow them on Twitter. They’re currently having an awesome giveaway of six Melina Marchetta novels. Today is all about Marchetta’s fantasy novels as Joy talks about Evanjalin from Finnikin of the Rock. Heads up, this post contains spoilers so avert your eyes if you haven’t read the book yet (go grab a copy and read that instead).

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Evanjalin of the Monts

“Do not underestimate this girl,” the priest-king said quietly.

Finnikin gave a humorless laugh. “I am with the King’s First Man, the captain of the King’s Guard, and the priest-king of Lumatere. The most powerful men in our kingdom, apart from the King himself. All brought together by her. At what point have I led you to believe that I have underestimated her?”

Chapter 10, Finnikin of the Rock, exiles and fever camp in Sorel.

Evanjalin was a woman with a purpose. Driven by an incredible desire to save her people, the ways and means with which she achieved what she’d set out to do was rife with well-meaning deceit and hardhearted determination. She was a conniving, lying, thieving and in some instances, vindictive heroine who used her smarts and courage to free her people. She wasn’t the type who wilted under the patronizing opinions of the men that surrounded her and the type who’d never hesitate to maim or even kill to exact justice. She’s a superhero(ine) in every sense of the word; a woman possessed and obsessed with seeing Lumaterans back where they belong. And for every lie, every scheme, every single act of calculated bravery, this woman imparted a piece of her soul and heart that truly embodied a strong female lead who would remain my standard of measure for every book that graces my bookshelves.

Without giving too much of the story away, here are some of Evanjalin’s gambits of trickeries that eventually led to her people’s freedom and secured Lumaterans of their rightful royals. These are only the ones that in my opinion were catalysts to the story and to the series.

1. Evanjalin convinced the Sorel authorities to arrest Finnikin, imprisoning him in the mines where he would be in the mercy of a savage prisoner, named Trevanion.
2. When Finnikin escaped, she then tricked him into saving the thief of Sarnak from the hands of the Sorel traders who bought and sold humans as slaves. The same thief who stole from her, spat at their faces every chance he got, and tried to rape her.
3. She convinced everyone that she only walk the sleep when she bled. They didn’t know that more often than not, she “made” herself bleed.

I have read Finnikin of the Rock at least half a dozen times; and each time, I’m left feeling too much and breathless by the beautiful, visceral writing. The heart-wrenching stories of the people of Lumatere never fail to bring on bouts of choked sobs and seemingly ceaseless tears. But trust me when I say the bliss at the end of the story was well worth it.

I’m glad I got to be a part of Marchetta Madness here at Chachic’s blog. For lack of a better word, I’ve been pimping Ms. Marchetta’s books any chance I get. Her books are something that needed to be shared – for the incredible writing, for the soul-searching stories and the wonderful characters that everyone should know.

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Thank you, Joy! Me too, I’ve been pimping MM’s books, trying to encourage everyone to read them. I’d be thrilled of Marchetta Madness manages to convince more readers to pick up MM’s novels.

Check out these Marchetta Madness posts in other blogs:
Aaron wrote about The Duality of a Narrative (with Jellicoe Road as a jump off point) over at Guy Gone Geek
Alex wrote a review for Looking for Alibrandi, the movie over at A Girl, a Book and Other Things