Initiate is the first instalment in the epic series The Unfinished Song by the independent author Tara Maya*. There are twelve instalments planned for the series, other instalments available now are Taboo, Sacrifice, and Root. To find out more about this series and/or its author why not pop over to the author’s blog Tara Maya’s Tales.
Dindi has grown up in a small rural clan in Faearth. Dindi is somewhat of a black sheep of the clan though because she’d rather dance with the pixies than do her chores. Dindi dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, a group of powerful warrior dancers to do this though she will have to pass a secret test as part of her initiation ceremony into womanhood. The rest of her clan thinks this is madness as no one from their number has ever managed to pass this secret test before. Instead they feel Dindi should find a suitable husband, have a family, and put her silly dreams to bed. Kavio is a similar age to Dindi but in stark contrast to her he is already a very powerful Tavaedi, some might say the most powerful. His power has brought him many enemies though. Soon Kavio finds himself falsely accused and found guilty of a crime which means he is exiled from his tribe, family, and home. This leads Kavio’s path to cross Dindi’s in an unexpected and powerful way.
I found Initiate to be thoroughly interesting and a quick read too. I originally picked up this book, read a chapter, and found I really wasn’t in the mood for it. A couple of days later I picked it back up and I was clearly in the right mood because I finished it that evening! Initiate is a very short novel, which could have been easily finished in one sitting. What I found though was the story was a lot darker than I have first presumed. From looking at the pretty cover and hearing terms like ‘fantasy romance’ used to describe this book I went into reading it quite naive. Hence my almost shock on the first sitting. On my second sitting I was prepared. There is violence, and there is sex and rape in this book but I do think it is tastefully done. There is enough detail to know what is going on but not enough to make you shy away from what your reading.
I enjoyed the characters of Dindi and Kavio both were believable and very like-able, and the technique of switching between them for narration kept my interest fresh. It also meant that there was a nice balance of male/female perspective which meant the story didn’t become too girly. What I really loved about this book though was the setting. Maya herself says that she initially sat down to write this story in the generic medieval/castles/knights sort of setting but found it just didn’t work. And so she changed the setting to one of tribes and almost stone age surroundings. I’m so glad she did! The idea of faeries, magic, warriors, clans, hut villages, tradition, stone monuments all worked perfectly together.
The underlying inspiration for The Unfinished Song series is apparently a Polynesian myth, not a mythology a know anything about! So I can’t wait to read the next instalments as it will all be a surprise for me. If you are a fantasy bookworm I highly recommend you give Initiate a go, you can get your hands on a copy at Amazon for a bargain price.
I received a free copy of Initiate from the author in return for my honest opinion.