When Finnikin was nine years old he swore to protect the kingdom of Lumatere. Soon after, the royal family was murdered, and a curse has cast the kingdom into darkness. No one can pass through this boundary. Ten years later, Finnikin is a wanderer, looking for a new homeland for his people. His travels bring him to a temple where he meets a strange girl called Evanjalin. She believes the heir to Lumatere, Balthazar, still lives. But Evanjalin is clever, devious, and more than she seems. Can Finnikin trust her? If he does, will his people be able to return to Lumatere?
This lovely tale of high fantasy uses all of the common themes of its genre, but adds depth, maturity, and an intriguingly complex plot. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Finnikin has a way with people and a true desire to do what is right. His relationship with Evanjalin is intense from the start and becomes more complex over the course of the story. No need for a sequel, this book tells a full story and comes to a satisfying conclusion, both romantically and politically.