Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: The Unfinished Song: Initiate by Tara Maya

Title: The Unfinished Song: Initiate
Author: Tara Maya
Series: Unfinished Song, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: December 22, 2010


Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile

When I was first offered this book to review, I thought it sounded absolutely fascinating – not quite like anything I’d ever read before. I was definitely right.

The book starts out rather slow. There’s a lot of description of the place, the people, the setting. It was a little hard to get into at first, because I was having trouble following the story among all the descriptions.

But it wasn’t too far into it that the story really picked up. When Dindi is taken for her Initiation, and Kavio is kicked out of his tribe, everything starts to get interesting.

I could not put my Kindle down. The story flows beautifully, and naturally, from this point forward, and I was up late into the night finishing it.

Dindi is an great character. She dances in secret, she’s not supposed to before becoming a Tavaedi, with the fae and wants nothing more than to be able to continue to dance. She’s not entirely sure of herself, but she’s sweet and kind.

Kavio is something else entirely. He’s strong – physically, mentally and emotionally. He willingly takes his punishment as exile, when all he was doing was trying to save his tribe. He fights off those that would do more harm, saves young girls from drowning, and doesn’t expect anyone to give him any trust or belief. He sets out to make his own way – refusing to let that way be less than what he was, he strives for better.

I really loved both main characters, as well as being incredibly interested in a few of the secondary characters we got to know (Gwenika comes to mind immediately). The Corn Maiden – I sure hope we're going to learn more about her!!

The real prize here though, is the world. It’s an intricate, beautiful, harsh world. Ancient, ancient times – think Neolithic – with tribes that remind me of the Native American or African tribes of old. Magic and fae still populate the world, and if you have magic you are admitted to an entirely different class of the tribe. The customs and interactions between the tribes were fascinating. I could see the influence of a few different ethnicities and histories, and they were seamlessly woven together into a brand new whole.  Honestly, it delighted me.

Tara Maya has given us a beautiful new fantasy world. The Unfinished Song: Initiate will pull you in, immerse you in the people and stark beauty of Faearth, and leave you wanting more when you’re done. I know I definitely can’t wait to start The Unfinished Song: Taboo to see what’s next for Dindi, Kavio and the rest.

Grade: B

P.S. There is a cliffhanger at the end, but the second book The Unfinished Song: Taboo is already out and it looks like the final book in the series should be out next month!

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook

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