Oh, Melina Marchetta....I've said it before and I'll just keep saying it again -- this woman knows how to write words that go straight to your heart. Her stories resonate with such emotional depth and heart and hope and I LOVE THEM. So, Quintana of Charyn is third book in the Chronicles of Lumatere. I may give away some slight spoilers as I talk about Quintana, so if you haven't read the first two books -- be warned (and go read the books!). There is a long going on in this book: Isaboe and Finnikin are waiting to hear what happened to their would-be assassin, Froi, while continuing to re-establish their kingdom. Gargaran and Arjuro and a bunch of other Charyns are trying to salvage their kingdom's soul and future and prevent war. Quintana is her crazy self, now on the run, in hiding and trying to protect herself and her "little king." Froi is recovering from being shot by eight arrows (Froi, you are such a bad-ass), and desperate to find Quintana. Lucian is still figuring out what it means to be the leader of the Monts, grieving the wife he didn't realize he loved. And there's still a bunch of hated Charyn refugees down in Lucian's valley, desperate and lost. And the spirits of the dead cry and ache for the living to do the things that will bring them rest and resolution.
So, the story is excellent -- a great resolution to the tale that began in Finnikin of the Rock. Marchetta weaves back together all the threads of the story, and brings clarity to some of the more murky aspects of what's been going on. You have great writing, a great story, complex characters, and one of the things Marchetta does so well -- relationships. Blood families, adoptive families, friends, lovers, comrades, enemies -- it's all there. And we get to see how all these different relationships help shape who we are, and how even when relationships grow and change, that's okay. We get to see people fighting and making up, having misunderstandings and then figuring it out. We see people muddle through as best they can, but never giving up.
Froi of the Exiles was a heavy, dark book. In that book, the reader sees heartbreak, madness, ugliness, despair, vengeance, and true evil. In the end, there is little hope...but there is the promise of hope. And in Quintana of Charyn, that hope flourishes, and it is so beautiful.
I'm really not doing this book (and this series) justice, so just go read it!