Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta ran hot and cold for me. Sometimes I was into it, but not consistently. I would recommend it if you were passing it at the library, but I wouldn't run out and push old ladies down to buy it. ( I will read the sequel, however, when it comes out).
The third section of the book is a surprisingly serious meditation on hope, broken faith, the sexual vulnerability of women, and female power. The best part of this book is that it doesn't end with a triumphant battle, but a mediation on life and loss. I found this section moving and thought provoking.
Originality: 6. This is a pretty basic 'kingdoms at war' plot, with the pre-rec fantasy map. BUT I found the diplomacy between these nations boring. Snooozzze.
Absurdity: 8. Pretty high, because it is true fantasy: long-lost prince and princesses, prophecies, curses, and magic.
Paranormal Romance: I don't want to give too much away, but at the end there is a long march (emotional and physical) that Finn undertakes, and it made for a surprisingly swoon-worthy finale--so 6! I was happily surprised.
Level of Harry Potter-ness: a 5 for magical curses and 6 for writing--Marchetta is good, even if I don't totally love the world she built. It is still compelling and well done.