Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta Froi of the Exiles was set three years after the events in Finnikin of the Rock. In "Finnikin", we were introduced to the young warrior whose country were ravaged by a curse that separates Lumetere to the world after the deaths of the royal Lumateran family and a mysterious young woman who dreams of the Lumateran people who were imprisoned inside. Despite all odds, both of them released the cursed kingdom and became the king and queen of the broken country. We were also introduced to a boy-thief named Froi whose life became entangled with the two -lost exiled Lumaterans- that in the end he became the queen's most trusted ally and friend and eventually he found acceptance among the people of Lumatere where he can call it home. Now, eighteen years old Froi was in despair. Although he was surrounded with his loved ones who wasn't by blood but by spirit, he still feel at lost despite being in the safety of the newly rebuilt Lumatere capital. One day a man from Charyn made a tempting request to the Lumateran; a chance for revenge as the Charyns were the ones that responsible to destroying the royal family and placing a false king to the people of Lumatere and eventual 10 years long curse where the girls were raped or the men killed out of Charynites' boredom. However, to the Lumateran shock, the main reason why Charynites interested with the Lumaterans was that their people were under a curse too. For eighteen years, the Charynites were unable to bear a child and those who were born before the curse were called lastborn. It was also prophesied that the princess of Charyn and lastborn would break the curse but so far, it never succeeded and the people became desperate. The messenger offer the Lumateran Queen a chance to kill the king of Charyn. Froi, who had become a highly skilled assassin -trained under the captain of guard, Trevonian, the King's father- was sent to Charyn capital to impersonate a lastborn to came to the palace where he met a young princess who curiously went into verges of insanity and branded by her people as the 'Whore of Charyn' due to her inability to break the curse of her people. Seeing the girl broken from the inside from abuse of body and soul by the power hungry mad men with strings; Froi was at lost with his bond or promise to his queen to kill the Whore of Charyn or to save her from herself and the cruel world around her.I had a hard time with this book. The story was rich and empowering and at the same time sad and depressing with every pages where we see a lot of things that weren't as it seems. It was disturbing as well as fascinating. You can't help but empathising with all the broken souls in the book and hooked by the story from the beginning to the end. The book narrates the inner struggle within Froi that he had tried to contain within himself (which will be explained as the book goes along) and the eventual growth of his character when he began to doubt everything that he knew about himself, was fascinating. I especially like it when he constantly at war with himself as soon as he came to know the Charynites he entangled with. For a young adult, this book carries a strong matured realism in its storytelling. A young girl was sexually abused that she developed layers upon layers of personalities to be alive against the depravity of the men around her. A young man who arrived in the enemy palace where he suddenly grown to love even with the complexities of its people and found his past among them. The characterization was rich and disheartening. This was not a fairy tale but the story of hardship and sacrifices.I thoroughly enjoy the book even with its hefty length of reading which I commented with every attempt in reading. One shan't ever judge a story based on the amount of the pages since every chapter in this book carried a lot of depth and hidden messages that will caught you unaware until the last pages. The book work as a stand alone but many unresolved characters in "Finnikin" had their storylines continued in this book.For a book that was generalized as a Young Adult. Most of the hardship it consisted of was very adult-centric.Another gem in writing that should be hyped for all. I really can't wait for Quintana of Charyn.