2012 Immortals reading challenge

The third book in the fantasy series Unfinished Song which is set in a fantastical Stone Age.

Publication year: 2011
Format: ebook, pdf
Page count: 173
Publisher: Misque Press

The book starts soon after the ending of the previous book, Taboo.

The peace party is returning back to the Yellow Bear tribe, defeated. Kavio was the leader and the organizer of the party but he was betrayed almost at every turn. High ranking warrior and an obnoxious bully Vultho, who had been a part of the peace party, had ordered his warriors to attack an enemy clan hold and so in effect ended any chance for peace. The rest of party had been captured and tortured but managed to escape. Kavio has been told that if the peace party isn’t a success, he will die.

When they are near Yellow Bear clan hold, they are warned that Vultho is the new War Chief. Kavio is able to bluff his and his party’s way back into the tribe. However, Vultho doesn’t make his life easy. The clan prepares for war.

Meanwhile Dindi, the clumsy and magickless maiden, has her own troubles. She is still determined to learn the magical dances and Kavio is willing to teach her, in secret. However, this means that Dindi spends pretty much all of her time away from other people and her age mates resent that. Dindi has a hexed corn cob doll which sends her visions, sometimes in very unfortunate times. She’s trying to destroy it but hasn’t succeeded.

Dindi’s friend Gwenika also isn’t very popular and she finds out that the young Initiates have a cruel tradition: they choose from among them one hapless person, who is called the Duck and torment him or her until the Duck kills himself or herself. To her horror, Gwenika finds out that she is one of the candidates this year. However, her sister Gwena has missed Gwenika and stands up for her. Unfortunately, Dindi is chosen as the Duck.

Brena, the adult magic dancer, gets back to teaching the Initiates. But she can’t stop worrying about the coming war and she doesn’t have any patience for the youngsters anymore. When she confesses this, she’s sent to the other tribes as an envoy to gather allies against the Blue Waters tribe.

Even though Kavio is quite young, he has already a lot of enemies. Yellow Bear’s former War Chief Hertio is an old friend but even Hertio is trying to use Kavio to his own advantage. Kavio has to keep alert against any ploy the current War Chief would use against him and train a group of warriors in secret, because Vultho would never allow him to train them.

This third book has more romance than the previous books. Brena and Rthan became lovers in the previous book, Taboo, despite the fact that they come from warring tribes and that Rthan was Brena’s slave. At the end of the book, Rthan decided to stay (and fight) with his own tribe and they separated. Now, they are set directly against each other. Brena is the champion of a fae known as the Golden Lady. The Golden Lady is dying from a wound from the Black Arrow. Only if the Black Arrow takes another’s life, can the Golden Lady be healed. The fae hinted that there are only a few people who can be this victim but Brena is looking for a way to kill someone else than people whom she considers innocents. Rthan is a warrior of the Blue Waters tribe but he’s also a champion of the fae Blue Lady who wants to kill the Golden Lady because they are ancient enemies. The Blue Lady has taken on the form of Rthan’s eight year old daughter who was killed by the Yellow Bear tribe’s current war leader. In addition, the chiefs of their respective tribes have sent Rhtan and Brena to other tribes as envoys to try to persuade the other tribes to join them.

Dindi and Kavio are another romantic couple with romance troupes. They both struggle against their attraction to each other, thinking that the other can’t be attracted to her/him or even if he/she is, they can’t be together because Dindi doesn’t have any magic and Kavio is a powerful magic user. Still, Kavio is teaching Dindi the forbidden magical dances and they have to spend a lot of time together. Fortunately, they don’t dwell on their feelings too much.

There’s a new POV character, Tamio. However, he’s seen only a few times when the plot demands it. He’s a young Yellow Bear Initiate, ambitious and not too picky about whom he serves. He’s in the group Kavio is training to fight in water but later he doesn’t mind siding with Vultho when it seems advantageous. He’s also handsome and uses that to get girls.

Unfortunately, I found Vultho to be almost a caricature as a villain. He’s crude, arrogant, and quick to anger. He has celebrations which wastes valuable food. He also doesn’t seem to be able to plan much. This is somewhat explained with his background; apparently he used to be bullied a lot and when he now has power, he uses it to his own satisfaction.

However, I can believe that the teenagers would choose one hapless person amongst themselves and hound him or her to death. That’s just the sort of cruelty and malice teens are capable of and don’t necessarily even think much about. It’s said that all Initiates know about this, which means that all of the adults know about it, too, and yet nobody interfered. Tacitly, all the adults seems to think that this is just ok which makes them pretty awful.

The rest of the cast are more complex. Gwenika turning on her (former) friend is something that some people do when there’s a right reason. Dindi struggles to fulfill her life long dream against all the odds and Kavio tries to keep the peace.

The faeries have a much larger role in Sacrifice than in either of the previous books. They aren’t just manipulating humans but fight themselves. We also get to meet all six types of High Fae and get to know a little about their relations, and about their physical forms. The faeries have six types, the same as there are six magical colors.

The plot is again very fast paced and full of twists. Several of the plot lines and questions from the previous books are answered here but a couple of new plot lines are introduced with high stakes. This was a great and surprising continuation to the series, and I have a feeling that some of the cast is going to change.

I couldn’t resist this challenge, either: 2012 Immortal Reading Challenge.

The rules:
1. The Immortals Reading Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. You can join at anytime from now and throughout the year. This is a 2012 challenge, so books read before January 1 will not count to your progress.
2. You pick your goal! Read as many books as you’d like for each species. This means that you can do just one category or all five or a combination of. The choice depends on you and your reading pace.
*We have chosen to have a three book per species standard. However, if this is a breeze for you, then feel free to tackle on the additional bonus entries of two more books of the same level.
3. Re-reads are acceptable.
4. Books chosen can be of any genre.
5. To participate, copy and paste this post on your blog along with the challenge button. We ask that you provide a link back to the sign-up page in case others wish to participate.
6. Readers without blogs can still participate! Keep track of your progress with Goodreads, Shelfari or LibraryThing.

These are the books I’m planning to read:
Category 1: Vampires 3 books
Tanya Huff: Blood Price
Tanya Huff: Blood Trail
Sarah Jane Stratford: The Moonlight Brigade
Jocelynn Drake: Pray for Dawn

Category 2: Angels and Demons 3 books
Liz Williams: The Iron Khan
Lilith Saintcrow: Hunter’s Prayer
Roger Zelazny and Robert Sheckley: Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming

Category 3: Fae 3 books
Tara Maya: Sacrifice
Tara Maya: Root
Terry Pratchett: Lords and Ladies

Category 4: Shifters/Werewolves 1 book
Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Take a Holiday

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