The Unfinished Song
by Tara Maya
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.
I had no idea what to expect going into reading this novel, except I knew it wasn't finished, I mean I knew there were other stories. Four so far. But the name -The Unfinished Song kind of gives it away for anyone that takes a look at the title. You should be able to deduce that the story will not be ending with this novel. I'm glad! I was incredibly and pleasantly surprised by how sucked into this novel I got. It's got fairies in it, but they're kind of on the periphery for now. I think they'll be a bigger part of the story further down the line. Initiate is made up of seven serials that flow together very nicely. I asked the author why there were individual stories and then this book and she said she didn't want people to have to wait. The serials are like chapters in the book. Right now, The Unfinished Song: Initiate is FREE so you might want to catch that deal while you can. Personally, I have all four books and I'm glad I do because Maya knows how to write!
The story has a lot of different characters, but it isn't hard to keep up. Their stories are separate and you know they are from separate tribes and areas. Dindi is a young girl who can see fairies, a rarity among humans. Her dream is to become a Tavaedi a secret warrior dancer who can heal, or make it rain or change the course of a river depending on the strength of the magic inside the dancer. The Tavaedi dance a history of her people who killed the beautiful fairy race, the Aelfae and were victorious. But I honestly couldn't tell if it was a dance of victory or just history. It didn't seem celebratory. In any case, Dindi is one of only many characters who get chosen to be an initiate this year. With each character we hear the story from their point of view. I don't remember reading a novel from so many different points of view, but in this novel, it works very well.
The time isn't stated, but it's fairly primitive. Spears, flint arrows and pottery bowls are used. Gold is prized and there are tribal feuds and wars. There are also a lot of politics and that's where the "hero" Kavio gets caught. Accused in his own father's court of a crime he didn't commit, something we don't know, he is exiled and forced out of his home. He saves Dindi's life and they are drawn to each other, but it isn't insta love. They go days without seeing each other and he isn't considered worthy of her because he is exiled. He has no clan, no tribe. But, that might change. And she might help Kavio make the biggest decision of his life.
There are some truly heinous villains in this novel, too. Villains posing as friends. And it's sickening to think what they want to do, but I guess such was war back then. I still have high hopes that Kavio can save the day. There is so much action in this book! If you like action, this one is full of it. It's not really character driven. There are too many characters, so I guess I'd say it's plot driven because the whole plot is to become an initiate and make it to the destination where they will decide who they are to become. But a lot more than that happens.
I'm really excited to read the next three books in this series! I have to say this is different than anything I've ever been asked to read before. The time is past the cave man era, but still it's fairly primitive. There are mentions of a lot of different types of fae, some good, some bad. And I'm just really enjoying the magic and the war and the really tough decision Kavio is going to have to make. Oh and Dindi has visions of the Corn Maiden, a woman named Vessia of unmatched beauty who doesn't understand anything in this world, whenever she touches the totem she was given. It's an ugly dried up husk of a doll that all the girls laughed at when they saw it.
Another mystery to figure out!
This is not for the younger YA reader. There are some scenes in it of harsh treatment of women as you can imagine happened in more primitive times during war. And there are some scenes about sex that younger readers shouldn't read. Nothing explicit, but told in a way that you wouldn't want them to read. Sixteen and up crowd.
Well, I'm off to read the next book!! Thanks Tara Maya for finally writing something different and interesting!