Tuesday 24 January 2012

Initiate (The Unfinished Song # 1) by Tara Maya - Book Review

Title: Initiate (The Unfinished Song # 1)
Author: Tara Maya
Publisher: Misque Press
Publication Date: March 2011 (2010)
Pages: 161
Format: E-Book - EPUB
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Review Copy from Author



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.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I was approached by the author to review this book and, since the story sounded interesting, I agreed.

The idea behind the story is really great and I liked the characters of Dindi and Kavio. The fantasy element was nicely woven into the story and the prose was readable, the story nicely paced.

Given that, you may wonder about my three star rating. The truth is that despite a strong idea and likeable characters, there were a few small issues with the piece that prevented me from giving it four stars.

First off, the language. A lot of terms are used in this story for rituals etc. Now, naturally the author knows what they mean, but they leave the reader a little confused. Eventually, as I got into the story, I began to understand more clearly, but at the start it felt like I'd been thrown into a story partway through, with not enough background information. A big spiel at the start would disrupt the rhythm of the book, but maybe the author could have included a glossary to explain some of the terms, so that readers had a point of reference.

Second, this book is fairly short. It doesn't even break 150 pages as there is a chunk of 'additional' material at the end that is not part of the story. I just felt that I wasn't getting all the background information because, in such a short piece, there wasn't enough time to supply it. I know that this is part of an ongoing series and so more information may be forthcoming, but I just would have liked to have had more time to get to know the world and characters before being thrown right in. There are a fair number of characters and it is sometimes hard to get a fixture on who is who in such a short space of time.

This was still a fun read with an entertaining premise though and I would recommend it to fans of fairy/fae fantasy. The author also sent me the second book in the series, so I will be reviewing that one later this week.

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