Froi of the Exiles
Lumatere Chronicles #2
Published March 13, 2012 by Candlewick
Froi of the Exiles was an excellent sequel that impressed me much more than Finnikin of the Rock. Definitely worth reading more than once.
After being not terribly impressed with Finnikin of the Rock, I wasn't really sure how I'd like Froi of the Exiles. Sure, I (oddly) loved Melina Marchetta's contemporary YA books, but Finnikin fell a bit short for me. I needn't have worried. Froi was amazing. It was full of mystery and suspense and humor and holy crap family issues and all the things I love about books.
Although the Lumaterans have retaken their homeland, Charyn remains a threat. When an opportunity comes to do something about it, Froi leaves the place he's come to think of as home for Charyn, where he discovers a web of secrets and people who aren't what they seem.
Froi was a complicated character. In Finnikin of the Rock, you didn't get much of a sense of who Froi was, and what you did get was not very good. In Froi of the Exiles, with much of the story told from Froi's perspective, it's obvious what a struggle he goes through every day to try to be better than his past and to control his temper. When I started the book, I didn't like Froi at all, but by the time I finished, I was definitely rooting for him.
In fact, all the characters in this book were fascinatingly complex. From astonishingly gifted twins Arjuro and Gargarin, to strange, mercurial Quintana, to bitter Lirah, the characters were wonderfully written and completely credible. I really enjoyed reading their interactions (aka arguments) and seeing their quirks.
The most appealing aspect of this book was its secrets. Mysteries had to be dragged out of it; every time I thought I knew something, new information was revealed that brought into question all of my assumptions. I love not knowing things (read: it drives me crazy and I have to keep reading to learn ALL THE SECRETS), so this book was brilliant. And I can't really tell you anything more because it would ruin ALL THE SECRETS.
In the same aisle
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemison
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Medalon by Jennifer Fallon