Parents' Guide to

Quintana of Charyn

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Engrossing end to fabulous epic trilogy for mature readers.

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There's no room for mediocrity when it comes to epic fantasies, and Marchetta has outdone herself with this intricately woven tale. It deftly manages a cast of hundreds, each member with his or her own allegiances and dilemmas. But it's the beloved core we first met in Finnikin and Froi that shines in this final installment. All of these characters can be infuriating and selfish and stubborn, but somehow you root for the half-mad Quintana and the passionate Isaboe to stop hating each other enough to see that they're so ridiculously alike they could be sisters -- each with their matching ideal mates in Finnikin and Froi. Their unborn sons -- one doomed and one blessed -- even share a connection in the womb.

In addition to the central quartet of the Lumaterans Finnikin and Isaboe and the Charynites Froi and Quintana, the most heartbreaking love story belongs to Lucian and Phaedra, a Lumateran and a Charynite who love each other desperately even as they're both pulled in by duties to their own kingdoms. It's these three relationships, along with their too-large-to-name families, that make this such a beautifully crafted tale. You'll cry as a mother weeps at the loss of her baby, only to nurse another baby she feels compelled to protect. You'll laugh as Finnikin and Froi fight, debate, and love each other like brothers. And when you finish the last satisfying sentence, you'll want to go right back to Finnikin of the Rock and start the breathtaking journey to Lumatere once again, because it's a place of heartbreak and joy, like Middle-earth and Narnia and the wizarding world.

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