2.1.2011 | Tuesday


category: Book Reviews

Initiatetitle: Initiate
author: Tara Maya
series: The Unfinished Song #1
published: 25 December 2010
publisher: Misque Press
genre(s): fantasy, romance
pages: 188
source: author
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | Goodreads

rating: four-half-stars | series rating: five-stars

the blurb

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 review

The Unfinished Song:  Initate is the first installment of a new series by Tara Maya set in the fantasy world Faearth.  There are only seven tribes of people in existence, and faeries, pixies, brownies, and the like still roam the earth.  It is set in a stone age era, more civilized than cave dwellers.  This novel is primarily the story of Dindi, a young girl living in the Lost Swan tribe, anxious to pass Initiation and become a Taevaedi, a member of a secret society of revered magical dancers.  It drew me in slowly at the beginning, but most fantasy novels do, as the new worlds and societies are built within the framework of the story.  The world that the author created in Faearth was extremely creative and unique.  Elements from many different cultures, legends, myths, and fairy tales were woven throughout the story.  There were Slavic rusalkies and tribal rituals reminiscent of Native American culture, as well as some plot points that reminded me of some of the Hawaiian and Polynesian folk lore I learned when I lived in Hawaii.  Even the physical environment had things brought together that would never have been found on our version of Earth.  This made the texture of Faearth, its inhabitants and the story very intriguing.

I found the book to be well-written, with lots of descriptive phrasing that made me feel as if I were standing in the midst of the story.  The weaving of myths and legends and tales from so many cultures could have left the reading a little muddy, but this wasn’t a problem at all.  There were twists and turns throughout the book, including intermittent travels back in time.  That threw me at first and confused me, but I later realized it was because I had accidentally missed a couple of paragraphs when continuing to read after a short break!  The action was fast-paced and kept me wanting more!

Dindi was my favorite character in the story.  She was both relatable and lovable with all of her issues.  She was underappreciated as a person, and didn’t give herself enough credit for her abilities.  The way she was treated by the other members of her own tribe, as well as those she met on her path to Initiation, made me hurt for her.  And any time I feel strongly for a fictional character is a sign that I am reading a great book.  I also liked her friend Gwenika whose self-sabatage and her lack of self-esteem made her as relatable as Dindi.  Kavio, the exiled warrior, embodied all the traits of a good fantasy novel hero:  strong, honorable, and compassionate.

The cover art was stunning, created by the author herself.  That alone would have drawn me to the novel!! A fantastic read!!


About Tara Maya

Tara Maya has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia. She’s pounded sorghum with mortar and pestle in a little clay village where the jungle meets the desert, meditated in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas and sailed the Volga river to a secret city that was once the heart of the Soviet space program. This first-hand experience, as well as research into the strange and piquant histories of lost civilizations, inspires her writing. Her terrible housekeeping, however, is entirely the fault of pixies.

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