Overall I would say I enjoyed the story of Finnikin of the Rock, however, it was bogged down with numerous issues in my opinion. In large part I felt many key points which would have made the story more logical and complete are still locked away in Marchetta's mind. At times it felt like she was taunting us with the lack of information while portraying it like we should know it. Was there a history book on Lumatere I should have referenced prior to reading? It was how it felt at times.
I enjoyed the characters, largely background characters more than Finnikin and Evanjalin. Sir Topher was excellent, although he seemed to be a cliche mentor type of the fantasy genre (but what can you do?). Finnikin's father was a decent character, although his anger comes and goes rather quickly. In fact this occurs with many of the characters--intense emotion is easily calmed. These individuals should exude fire yet their flames can be so easily put out? Froi, oh that little bastard. It seemed Marchetta was trying to get us to accept and even like the character but there really was no reason for it. He spits in faces and tries to rape a character. Then he becomes Evanjalin's little task boy and we are supposed to accept him? No thanks.
Finnikin, while a likeable character, had flaws due to the writing. Such as how can he can learn what is considered a very difficult language in days in order to give a speech of sorts? Implausible. He also seems to despise the character of Evanjalin yet he is madly in love with her at the end? When did this really happen? Yes I've been told it happened but really? Even with the deceit and frustration etc.? Also, why should he want to be her king when he barely speaks to her for weeks at the end and when they do they argue? Huh?
And why is Finnikin taking a prostitute in the story? It seemed out of character for the character Marchetta built to do as such. That and the allusions to sex confused me since they felt forced and unnecessary.
The plot: there was one major plot point that was fairly obvious from the beginning and I wish it hadn't been so simple. The plot is also largely built upon deceit and assumptions, a driving force which makes me crazy every time it is used. Why did Evanjalin never disclose who she was? Wouldn't that have made her more believable and therefore stopped various negative things from happening? But no, instead she practically throws a temper tantrum when they believe she is lying and takes off on her own. I'm sorry, but I would not have much trust in her either if I were them. I suppose without this plot device the book would have been less lengthy but at least it would have potentially be built on more stable legs.
The ending: the climax is a few pages and then nothing. It was a total let down after a major buildup to the breaking of the curse yadda yadda. Then Evanjalin is suddenly the "queen" and everyone loves her and the switch was just TOO DAMN FAST.
The aforementioned lack of information was a major downfall to the novel in my opinion. A large chunk of the novel is spent with you in the dark trying to understand who this person is, what he means to the plot, what this statement was alluding to and so on. I would find myself coming across characters/situations that made me go back and try to find where I had missed this information. Only I never found such information because it was never mentioned before. Frustrating! What is important Marchetta? The info dumping was tedious, especially in the prologue, and started the book on a terrible footing. It was like you were constantly playing catchup to the characters who knew everything. While this way of telling the story can be entertaining, it was simply confusing here. "Confuse now, enlighten later" just does not sit well with me.
I did enjoy large portions of the book, however, it was after information started coming together (about a third in). But then the story would drag and the climax was pitiful. I was hoping for more. Even though I enjoyed parts I found myself pushing to finish the book so I could be surprised (didn't come) or move on to another, not a great sign for a book.