Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: The Unfinished Song: Initiate by Tara Maya

The Unfinished Song: Initiate
Author: Tara Maya
Publication: Misque (December 25, 2010)

Description: The initiation ceremony is the gateway to ultimate power...or death. 

A DETERMINED GIRL 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... 

AN EXILED WARRIOR 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.

My Thoughts: This was an entertaining fantasy novel that is clearly the first book in a series. Warning: It ends with a major cliffhanger. But getting to the cliffhanger was a fun ride. This is a coming of age story for Dindi. For Kavio, this is a story of building a life anew after a betrayal.

Dindi has one goal in her life. She wants to be accepted into the Tavaedi. They are dancers who have magic. However, no one in her clan have ever been accepted. Her aunts and uncles discourage her from trying as do her cousins. They all encourage her to accept life as they know it and to be glad to become a wife and mother. But Dindi has dreams. Dindi can see the various fae who also inhabit their world and they encourage her to dance. She also sees other sorts of magic too. In fact, the fae try to entrap her in their circles so that she will dance herself to death. Otherwise, Dindi is a sort of clumsy, dreamy girl. Her clumsiness is helped along by the cruel comments and actions of her cousins. 

Kavio is already a dancer and he has considerable magic too. However, he is exiled from his clan because he was falsely accused of a crime by a cousin who wants his place in the clan. Because he doesn't want to play the politics, Kavio accepts and even welcomes the exile. He is very disappointed in his clan. He is in search of a new life.

The two characters meet and interact briefly when Dindi is on a journey to another tribe to be tested to determine her future and Kavio is traveling toward that same tribe to perhaps ask for asylum. Otherwise, both stories are separate. Kavio does save Dindi's life at one point but then goes away because of his exile status.

The setting reminded me of the desert Southwest of the United States but some flora and fauna don't match up. The culture is sort of Neolithic and sort of Native American. The magical elements with fae was interesting. I liked the world building and want to know more about the world.

I liked the characters too and want to know more about them. I also want them to actually meet and get to know each other. I recommend this story for lovers of fantasy. But I'd say wait until more volumes have been published. I am going to be on tenterhooks until book 2 comes out and I find out what happens next.

Favorite Quote:
High fae were not like low fae, pixies and brownies and sprites and such, but possessed grace and grandeur beyond anything human. In form they were as tall, or taller, than humans, although more beautiful, a strange, glowing people, with wings like swans. There had once been seven races of high fae, and of them all, the Aelfae had been the most beautiful and powerful and wise.
Check out Tara's blog here. This book is available at Amazon as either a print book (for a bargain price of $.99) or as a paperback.

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