Today I’m excited to join the blog tour for Wing, the fifth book in Tara Maya’s fantasy series Unfinished Song which is set in a fantastical Neolithic Age. You can buy Wing and all Maya’s other books via Amazon and other book retailers. Tara Maya blog‘s has lots of information about writing in general in addition to her book info.
Publication year: 2012
Page count: 198 in pdf
Publisher: Misque Press
The Unfinished Song series has been full of surprising twists and the latest book continues in the pattern. Maya isn’t afraid to do nasty things to her characters, even killing them. The book starts immediately after the shocking ending of the previous book, Root.
Most of the point-of-view characters are the same as in the previous book. Dindi is the main character of the series but the other POV characters were introduced in Root or Sacrifice.
The young maiden Dindi has just been kidnapped by one of the Deathsworn, Umbral. Umbral is determined to kill her because she has a connection to the high faeries, the Aelfae, and Umbral is convinced that Dindi can help the Aelfae return to the world. The Deathsworn have killed almost all of the Aelfae and want to now finish their job. However, Dindi is a resourceful girl. When Umbral tries to kill her almost immediately, Dindi manages to trigger a vision which delays Umbral and makes him think that Dindi would be useful to him. So, Umbral suggests a bargain: as long as Dindi will see visions, Umbral doesn’t kill her.
Unfortunately, Umbral thinks that Dindi’s visions are about the current day and about the White Lady, Vessia, who is one of the few remaining Aelfae. While Dindi’s visions are about Vessia, they are twenty years in the past. Dindi is trying to be as vague as possible about her visions, so that Umbral doesn’t realize it. Also, Umbral has confessed that he has killed Dindi’s beloved Kavio. Because Umbral has one of the six objects of power, he looks like Kavio to Dindi. Dindi is looking for a way to avenge her beloved but the way Umbral looks like Kavio is unsettling to her.
Umbral is a devotee of the Black Lady, Death. He has done terrible things in the past but doesn’t remember anything from the time before he became a Deathsworn. The Deathsworn, the servant of the dead, separate the dead and the dying, and most of the time they kill people who are too badly wounded or diseased to live. However, Umbral has also attacked, tortured, and killed healthy people which Deathsworn shouldn’t do. He leads the Deathsworn group with intimidation, violence, and fear.
However, Umbral is becoming increasingly attracted to Dindi. He kills people either with weapons or by absorbing the magical Chromas, the life force, of his victim. Sometimes when he has absorbed someone, the victim’s memories still linger with him. Umbral’s immediate goal is to kill the White Lady because he’s convinced that the faeries will kill humans if they aren’t killed first. He seems relieved when he has an excuse to keep Dindi alive. They must track the White Lady and work together while traveling through wilderness.
Vessia, the White Lady, has been kidnapped by her husband’s brother and niece. They loath Vessia and are trying to use her as a leverage against her politically powerful (human) husband. However, even though Vessia has lost her immortality, she’s far from helpless.
Finnadro the Wolf Hunter is the Henchman of the Green Lady, Vessia’s sister faery. He loves his mistress unreservedly and has even rejected human lovers in favor of her. He’s a great hunter and warrior. In the past, Umbral tortured him and left him for dead. Now, he has an excuse to hunt Umbral and maybe save both Dindi and Vessia.
In the previous book Dindi and her traveling group of dancers were staying in a village called Green Woods. The village was attacked by a group of Raptor Riders and the warriors of the Orange Canyon tribe. The fight was brutal and many died on both sides. The Green Woods warriors want revenge and send a group to the Orange Canyon lands. Among the Green Woods warriors are a few of Dindi’s friends.
Tamio and Hadi are both young warriors and Dindi’s friends. However, while Tamio is expecting the next battle and the glory he will get from killing other warriors, Hadi knows that he’s a lousy warrior (and a hunter) and he’s dreading the fight, thinking that he will be killed. Also, Hadi wants to protect his sister who was married just before the fight – and widowed during it. One of the shape shifters rescued Hadi during the fight and now Hadi owes a liftdebt to him. However, the shape shifter has his eye on Hadi’ sister and takes her as a servant in Hadi’s place. Hadi isn’t happy about it but can’t change it.
Generally, I don’t really care for books with multiple POV characters because most of the time it’s hard to distinguish the young white male warriors from each other and sometimes they aren’t needed to advance the plot. However, in this series all of the POV characters have been so different from each other that I have no problem distinguishing them from each other, even when they travel in the same group. Also, they all have their own problems which don’t necessarily directly tie into the main plot. Even Tamio has an interesting, and appropriate, subplot. I could barely stand him in Sacrifice where he was first introduced.
Most of the book is written in third person but each seven chapters start with a short section in first person. They all give great insight to the character because they all describe a significant event in that person’s history. For example, Finnadro’s first person section is his memory of how he won himself the Shining name of Wolf Hunter and we also get to know a little about his family and tribe. We also get insight into Dindi (in fact she gets insight into her own feelings) but her narration is for the present and not from past.
I’m just wondering a little about the ending. Dindi developed very handy new abilities earlier in the book. Why didn’t she use them at the end where they would have been very, very useful? I suspect it’s because they are new and she couldn’t rely on them but she could have even thought about them or tried to use them.
Each book in the series so far has expanded the world and this book is no exception. We get to know more about the Raptor Riders. They are humans who have enslaved magic users who can change their shape into various raptors. However, the riders have their secrets, too. In Root we found out that some of the Green Woods people are born as shapeshifters, wolves. Most of them are banished into the wilderness and are called wildlings. Finnadro knows them and can even ask them for help. Apparently, it’s also his job to make sure that they don’t bother the tribesmen. Now, we see that some of the shapeshifters can shift into different forms but they seem to be even more shunned than the wolves. We also get to hear a couple of the old legends which I found fascinating. We also get to see a few scenes from the war between humans and the Aelfae. In Dindi’s visions about Vessia we get to see how a human and a fae try to build a life together and it isn’t easy. And Dindi and Umbral encounter a new human clan during their travels.
Wing is another great continuation with twists and turns. It’s ends with a great cliffhanger!