“The Unfinished Song: Initiate” by Tara Maya

Looking at the cover of The Unfinished Song: Initiate and the author’s name, I figured that this was some fluffy romance disguised as fantasy, and that I’d probably hate it. Then I figured it was free, so why not get it. I’m glad I did.

Dindi is a young girl that is nearing her Initiation. She hopes to be picked to join the Tavaedi, who are highly skilled magical dancers. However, everyone she knows thinks that she’s awkward and unskilled, and that she will never make it. The other main character, Kavio, is a skilled dancer that is exiled from his tribe for a crime that he did not commit. His travel is in the hopes that he will find a new home in another tribe.

This is a pretty short book, and it whizzed by. It is supposed to be the first of a 12-part series, so be warned! It was pretty light reading, but each character was really well fleshed out. Everyone was hiding some kind of secret and seemed to be much more than what they appeared to be on the surface. I was amazed at the distinctiveness of each character, especially given that the book is so short and there were quite a few characters. Dindi was a very lovable protagonist, and I can’t remember meeting any protagonist quite like her. I also enjoyed the characters of Gwenika and her sister and mother. Vessia was fascinating, and I can’t wait to find out more about her. I also enjoyed the little touches of detail given to extremely minor characters like Ula and Great Aunt Sullana.

There were a few romantic undertones in this book, but no outright romance yet. I suspect that I will not like the upcoming romantic bits, but there’s definitely enough meat on this story for me to overlook that.

The world of The Unfinished Song is a fascinating amalgamation of customs that I recognised from very different cultures. I enjoyed how it all worked together, and I was glad to read the author’s note at the end about the author’s inspiration for the world.

There are a lot of questions and mysteries in this book, and a lot of characters whose actions that I can’t quite predict. I look forward to reading the rest of the series to find out!

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