We interrupt your regularly scheduled episode of "Talk About How Long The Tale of Genjii Is" to bring you this post on Finnikin of the Rock. (I actually finished this a few weeks ago, and just didn't get around to writing about it.)
I'll admit that I'm a sucker for a good story. The Hunger Games isn't the most sophisticated piece of literature, but it was a lot of fun to read, and it does contain quality writing. A good story, however, isn't enough to make me overlook major flaws in a novel.
You may not have seen this coming but, in spite of its promising plot, Finnikin of the Rock has far too many flaws for me to overlook. Finnikin, the son of the captain of the guard, is from Lumatere. Ten years ago, however, his homeland was cursed, and since then no one has been able to cross its boundaries, either in or out.
Like I said, this is definitely a promising story. Unfortunately, between a lack of consistency in the geography of the world, and flat, boring characters there isn't much else to like about this book.
Speaking of boring characters, why can't any of them communicate like normal human beings? Why do they always have to jump to conclusions, and flee from each other at the slightest (assumed) offense? The School Library Journal review on Amazon.com calls Finnikin and Evanjalin's relationship "intensely emotional". I think a better description is "annoyingly unrealistic" or "frustratingly devoid of reason". It's not a good sign when even The Tale of Genji, in which characters purposefully obfuscate their language by speaking in ancient Chinese poetry, has more open communication.
Suffice it to say, I don't recommend Finnikin of the Rock. If you could consider the plot apart from the characters, no doubt you would be able to find some moments to enjoy, but those pesky characters just keep getting in the way.