Tara Maya


FAERY REALMS: TEN MAGICAL TITLES (Multi-Author Boxed Set, novels & novellas)

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*Purchased individually, these books cost over $15 – List price $9.99 – Save 90% – Now on sale for only $0.99 cents!*

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Enter the magical realms of Faery with these ten award-winning, bestselling fantasy authors. Each title in this sampler collection offers a new and different world full of mystery, love, and most of all, fae enchantment!

Over 1400 pages of stories, with *exclusive* titles from Alexia Purdy, Tara Maya, and Anthea Sharp! Together, these books have over 250 5-star reviews on Amazon and 150 5-star reviews on B&N.

Best for ages 13 and up.

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THE FAERIE GUARDIANRACHEL MORGAN

Kickbutt faerie Violet is about to graduate as the top guardian trainee of her class, but when an assignment goes wrong and the human boy she’s meant to be protecting follows her back into the fae realm, a dangerous plot is set in motion. (298 pages)

THE WITHERING PALACE (A Dark Faerie Tale 0.1)ALEXIA PURDY *Exclusive Content*

Untold darkness rules the Unseelie realm of the Land of Faerie. Hidden in this vast area, Aveta, the future queen of the Unseelie Army, perfects her gifts over lifetimes. Learning that magic isn’t the only way to manipulate the world around her, this naive girl grows into a woman of strength and cunning, ultimately becoming one of the most feared leaders in Faerie.

DARK PROMISEJULIA CRANE & TALIA JAGER

Rylie’s life is turned upside down when a stranger knocks on the door, claiming to be her real mother. Soon she will have to face the terrifying fact that not only is she a faery, but one that has been promised to the dark prince. (240 pages)

FEYLAND: THE FIRST ADVENTUREANTHEA SHARP

High-tech gaming and ancient magic collide when a computer game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. Jennet Carter never thought hacking into her dad’s new epic-fantasy sim-game would be so exciting… or dangerous. But behind the interface, dark forces lie in wait, leading her toward a battle that will test her to her limits and cost her more than she ever imagined. (65 pages)

BLOOD FAERIEINDIA DRUMMOND

Unjustly sentenced to death, Eilidh ran—away from faerie lands to the streets of Perth, Scotland. When she discovers a human murdered by one of her own kind, she must choose: flee, or learn to tap into the forbidden magic that cost her everything. (264 pages)

HOOD & FAE (Daughters of Red Riding Hood)TARA MAYA *Exclusive Content*

Roxy Hood is just trying to make ends meet to pay her mom’s medical bills. Sure, Roxy takes on some jobs of, ahem, dubious integrity, like pretending that she can speak to the dead. But hey, that’s harmless. It’s not like a malignant ghoul is going to attack her. Or a sexy billionaire will show up trying to buy her red jacket. Or a werewolf will attack Granny Rose. Because that would be whacked.

THE DARK FAETERRY SPEAR

Alicia can recognize the mischievous fae when they show up to “play” with the humans. Only now she’s faced with one highly annoyed dark fae and she’s certain he knows the truth about her. She can see him, which means her life is forfeit. (184 pages)

EHRIADJENNA ELIZABETH JOHNSON

Cade MacRoich is Ehríad, an outcast of Eile. While hunting Otherworldly monsters in the mortal world, he discovers Meghan, a young woman whose magic seems very familiar … Three scenes from Faelorehn – Book One of the Otherworld Trilogy, told from Cade’s perspective. (84 pages)

ONCE (Gypsy Fairy Tale)DANA MICHELLE BURNETT

Harmony’s life will never be the same… Every day is just as normal, and just as boring, as the one before it… And then the Carnival comes to town. Suddenly, Harmony’s small town world is overtaken by the handsome Kieran and she discovers that not all fairy tales are pretend. (140 pages)

FAE HORSE: A Faery TaleANTHEA SHARP

Accused as witch, Eileen flees for her life. When a strange black horse appears, her only hope of escape, she mounts it—to discover the cost of her ride may be more than any mortal could bear. (20 pages)

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SELECT REVIEWS:
“It was fast paced, entertaining, witty, and even swoon-worthy at times. Rachel’s characters were fun to follow, and Violet is sarcastic and strong and a force to be reckoned with—everything I love in a female lead.” –Cover2CoverBlog review of The Faerie Guardian

“Turmoil, heartache and unexpected romance – all three are immersed into this tale of the Fae.”— Craving YA Reads review of Dark Promise

“The plot was fast paced and interesting … I can’t recommend the rest of the trilogy enough.” –The Mad Reviewer on Feyland: The First Adventure

“All in all, this is hands down one of the most unique Fae stories I have ever read before- India Drummond has truly created a beautiful world.” –Avery’s Book Nook review of Blood Faerie

“Enter the World of the Fae: Magical worlds aren’t just for young adults, I enjoyed this tale and look forward to reading the other books in this series.” –ParaNormal Romance Reviews of The Dark Fae

“I thought this was a great, quick summer read! Great story combined with bits of mythology and Irish folklore. I read the entire trilogy in a few days.” –Kristin David on Ehriad

“Once I started this book I could not put it down, I had to know what happened next.” ~ Amazing Book Come To Life review of Once (Gypsy Fairy Tale)

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A stand-alone short science fiction novel.

Publication year: 2013
Format: ebook
Page count: 192 including several appendixes and glossaries

The book is set between 5025 and 5040, covering many years of the main character’s life, spent mostly in warfare.

The story starts on the year 5025 when humankind has spread to many planets and many galaxies. The story is set in a different planet, Neraka, which is pretty hostile place to live. The humans have to wear breathers and full bodysuit, which has been changed into armor, called “kits” in order to stay alive. On this planet, feudal lords control the machinery and therefore the population. They use various mind control technologies on the thralls, who are the lowest class workers on the planets (their minds are wiped to make them compliant), and even on their wives to make them loyal to their husbands. The lords also use combat mechs.

Charlie Cooper is a Fredder. He’s part of a community which is fiercely independent from any feudal lords and refuses to have their minds altered. He’s 18 and about to me married to his sweetheart Bernisse. After they exchange their vows, Charlie leaves for the traditional walk but during it he notices that a heavily armed mechs are advancing on his village. He gives warning but lord Domany tries to blackmail and threaten the village into giving him food and repairs. Charlie is close to his mech and manages to ambush the lord. However, the villagers find out that the lord is badly wounded and give him aid. This is something of a mistake, because another, more powerful lord is after Domany. It turns out that Domany is very much down on his luck: he’s wounded and has only a couple of mechs to help him. However, the Fredders don’t want to ruled by the conquering lord, so they agree to help Domany.

In the middle of battle, Charlie’s new wife Benisse is abducted by the attacking lord’s henchmen. Charlie is wounded and knows that he has no way of rescuing Benisse. But Charlie finds himself in the land of the Sulphines, almost mythological aliens whom nobody has seen in hundreds of years. They are supposed to be sulfur-based and retreated after humans settled on Neraka. However, now their Queen confronts Charlie and gives him a choice: to die or to use the helm of Brin. The helm has the memories of a thousand years of warfare but using it would be a Fredder’s greatest nightmare; losing his mind to the personalities and memories in the helm. Charlie hesitates but he knows it’s the only way to save his wife, even though he will be dead to her.

At the start of the book, Charlie is a pretty simple farm boy. He knows the dangers of the land he lives in and his culture and behaves accordingly. For example, he’s never seen Benisse without her breather until the wedding ceremony. He’s also somewhat reckless when he defends his town but he knows what he can do and takes calculated risks. When he puts on the helmet, he doesn’t feel any difference, but it’s very clear to the reader: his narrative voice changes from a (readable) brogue to more standard English. Later he even gets a British accent. He also becomes more ruthless and struggles to keep his initially good character.

The book has a lot of fighting, especially during the latter half. However, I was more interested in the various cultures. Except for the Fredders, they all use technology to alter memories or personalities. However, they use it somewhat differently. Neraka’s lords use it to keep other people in line but we find out that this a rather old-fashioned way of using the tech. The lords also have duels between single warriors and their armored mech rather than wars, which is very medieval.

The central themes of the book are what is real and what is not, and whom can you trust. When other people can change your memories, your emotions, your thoughts, what can be real?

Today I’m excited to join the blog tour for Blood, the sixth book in Tara Maya’s The Unfinished Song series which is set in a fantastical Neolithic Age. You can buy Blood and all Maya’s other books via Amazon and other book retailers. Tara Maya’s blog has lots of information about writing in general in addition to her book info.

Publication year: 2013
Format: ebook, Kindle
Publisher: Misque Press

The previous book in the series, Wing, ended in a very exciting cliffhanger and I was anxious to continue the series. Blood continues immediately where Wing ended.

Dindi has been captured by Umbral who is a Deathsworn. The Lady Death commanded Umbral to kill Dindi, her love Kavio, and all of the remaining Aelfae. Umbral has already killed Kavio but now he and Dindi face a common enemy, the Bone Whistler who is secretly one of the two Aelfae left in the world. The Bone Whistler has a plan to kill all of the humans and to resurrect the Aelfae who were killed in a war with humans. Dindi and Umbral reached an uneasy truce to kill the Bone Whistler before he can set his plan into motion.

However, a part of it is already working. Six Aelfae have been resurrected, brought forward in time from the past. Also, because of the resurrection magic the other remaining Aelfae, Vessia, has lost her memories of the intervening time. Vessia married a mortal man and had a son with him but now she doesn’t remember that. All she wants is to rid the world of humans because her last memories are of the brutal war between the Aelfae and the humans.

Meanwhile, Finnandro the champion of the Green Lady had been forced into uneasy truce, as well. His tribe and another fought each other but now Finnandro is forced to work with the enemy tribe in order to kill Umbral. Unfortunately, the leader of the enemy tribe, the Orange Canyon, is no other the Bone Whistler himself and he manages to charm Finnandro into a willing ally.

However, the resurrected Aelfae don’t know that there’s a traitor among them. Their greatest enemy, the Lady Death herself, has disguised herself as one of them and plans to kill them all.

Blood is just as good as rest of the series. The plot has twists and turns which I, at least, couldn’t see coming. We get to know a lot more about both Umbral and Finnandro in flashbacks about their past.

Deception seem to be this book’s theme. A lot of people are deceived in this book. Not only has the Lady Death disguised herself and deceiving the Aelfae but the Bone Whistler uses his powers to charm other people to trust him, while he’s advancing his plan. He’s also an accomplished liar and can turn any event to his advantage when given enough time to either explain or let other people draw their own, wrong, conclusions. Vessia has lost her memory and is convinced that she couldn’t possibly have married a human. Umbral has the Obsidian mask which can make anyone who looks at him see the person they want to see.

I continue to be fascinated with this Stone Age world. Most of the tribes don’t have a king or nobility but are instead lead by elected leaders. The one exception is of course the Bone Whistler who uses his charm and power to keep his people in line. The Orange canyon tribe has the Raptor Riders and their slaves who can change their shape into huge raptor birds. The Aelfae are a bit puzzled by this and claim that the Riders have also shape changing magic. The tribe is pretty cruel towards their own members, too.

The new element in the book are the resurrected Aelfae. We get to see how they lived during the war and presumably before it. They seem to be pretty self-centered, tormenting Dindi for their own amusement. They’re also dismissive of humans because they see the humans as enemies. When the Bone Whistler revealed to them that he lives among humans as their war chief, the Aelfae were shocked and dismayed. However, they agree to live as guests in the human village and even take part in their celebrations.

A word of warning, though: the book has pretty gruesome torture scenes. The torture is seen both from the eyes of the tortured and the torturer, and it’s quite disturbing.

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
Format: ebook
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!

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

Publication year: 2011
Format: ebook, pdf
Page count: 150
Publisher: Misque Press

Some time seems to have gone by after then end of the previous book, Sacrifice. The group of Initiate Tavaedis, magical dancers, have been formed into a performance troop under their teacher Abiono and they have traveled away from the Yellow Bear clan. Unfortunately, Abiono is an old man and unable to control the young dancers. Dindi is working as the Tavaedi’s serving maiden and has been given permission to learn the dances openly. However, a spoiled girl from the previous book, Kemla, is part of the group and as the most popular girl is apparently leading the women of the group. She seems to hate Dindi because the red fae, whom only Kemla and Dindi can see, constantly tease Kemla that Dindi is a better dancer than Kemla and that Dindi should take Kemla’s place as the star performer. Since Kemla can’t punish the fae or make them silent, she takes her rage out on poor Dindi, treating her as a slave. She takes things so far that she urges Tamio to sleep with Dindi so that Kemla can reveal it publicly and Dindi will be thrown out of the party. Apparently, there are no consequences for Tamio?

Now Dindi she can practice as much as she wants even though the others are pretty cruel to her (and once again the adults just stand by and let this happen). However, she was forced into a bargain with the fae in the previous book; she will have to find a way to lift the Curse from the Aelfae and bring them back from the dead. Dindi is using her corncob doll to find a way to do that. However, Tamio is hounding her so there’s not much time to do it. She also found out that there’s a hex on her family and she’d like to find a way to undo that, as well.

Meanwhile Kavio’s fae mother Vessia, known as the fae White Lady, is determined to help her son by finding women who could become the next Vaedi, the wife of the war chief. However, she’s being held captive by her own nephew. She manages to escape with the help of a young warrior and they set out to flee Vessia’s own tribe. They come across the Lost Swan tribe looking like a pair of beggars. Kemla denies them hospitality but Dindi shares her meager food and shelter with them.

Then, a group of warriors attack. They ride on big birds and kill some of the people before the nearby tribes come on horseback to aid them.

Umbral is a new characters and so is his group. He is a leader of a group of Deathsworn; those who serve the Lady Death. They all seem to have some sort of physical deformity and so they have been sent to the Deathsworn. Even the women have physical deformities and this was a refreshing change form the “flawless skin” princesses of fantasy. They are eager to kill people and are investigating a magical plague which devours people’s spirits. They also want to kill Vessia and the next Vaedi. Umbral comes across traces of a magic both ancient and fresh. Quickly, he becomes obsessed with the maiden who has left such traces behind her.

Dindi’s visions with the Corn Maiden seem to be over and she now sees into the life of Mayara, who is the last survivor of an Aelfae settlement. As a little girl, Mayara suffers horrible things: her mother cuts off her wings so that the humans wouldn’t kill her. Then her mother hides her just before the humans come and little Mayara sees her people slaughtered. Later, she wanders alone in the woods until a human finds her and takes her home, to live among his family.

Even though the group is performing and working magic in the Lost Swan tribe, Dindi’s tribe, she’s treated poorly. She is sent to sleep in a very cold hut and given only a small amount of food. However, this doesn’t seem to be her home tribe because we don’t see her parents or other close family.

There are some differences in the setting. Specifically, riding mounts. The Raptor Riders have large predatory birds which they use to ride on and the Broken Basket and Full Basket clans have horses. Unfortunately, the inclusion of horse made the setting less unique to me. Part of my enjoyment of the books have been their setting which is rather different from all the pseudo-medieval settings which are very common in fantasy. The use of horses makes the setting more familiar and less unique. In the previous book, there was a mention of gold and jewelry so the people have the means to smelt metals and work them quite intricately.

Two of the point-of-view characters are unfortunately pretty insufferable to me: Kemla and Tamio. They both start as arrogant and self absorbed to the point that they have no compassion or empathy to anyone else. We get to know more about them but they never really reform. Tamio is a unabashed womanizer and the best thing that can be said about him is that he isn’t a rapist. The Deathsworn are interesting and I hope we get see more of them.

I also found it a bit weird that while there are lots of talk about sexual conquests, none of the women worry about getting pregnant. However, in the previous book there was a brief mention that illegitimate kids are “unwelcome” and that a man will have to either marry a girl he gets pregnant or pay with foods and other stuff. The latter seems to be more common. Yet, the woman is expected to care for the kid and surely a poor woman without much kin, such as Dindi, or an ambitious Tavaedi such as Kemla, should be worried about being able to rise a kid. Of course, dwelling over such things would slow down the pace and possibly bore the reader. Unfortunately, this society too has the sexual double standard for women and men.

There are two new tribes in the book, the Green Woods tribe and Raptor Riders. Both are warrior clans which have quite different customs than the tribes we’ve seen so far. For example, both men and women can be warriors in both clans. They also have shape shifters. The Raptor Riders use huge birds and enslave them while some of the Green Woods people can turn into wolves. However, these wolflings aren’t tolerated until they can control themselves. They are banished into the woods to presumably learn control but, not surprisingly, most seem to live in the woods all their lives, and attack people occasionally. A bit disappointingly, at least in the Green Woods tribe the women have to tend to their chores in addition to being warriors while the men sit and talk.

The plot is again fast paced and full of twists, some of them unexpected. The book ends in a cliffhanger. More things happen in every short book than some established writers manage to put into 600 page books.

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.

The second book in the Unfinished Song fantasy series set in a mythical Stone Age.

Publication year: 2011
Page count: Kindle doesn’t have page numbers
Size: 451 KB
Format: ebook
The author kindly sent me a review copy. Spoilers for the first book!

The book starts right after the end of the first book, Initiate. Prologue is told from the point-of-view of Gremo, one of the weirdest characters in the first book. He was a minor character there so I wasn’t expecting him to show up again. Then we’re thrown right into the middle of the rest of the familiar cast.

Rthan is an enemy warrior and a magic-user called a Tavaedi. He lost his wife and child in a raid some years back and tried to get his revenge in the first book. However, he was taken captive by young Kavio. He’s made a slave and given as a ”slave husband” to Brena, the woman he held captive just the previous night. Rthan is quite attracted to Brena and has to constantly remind himself that she is the enemy.

Brena herself is a healer and a magic-user. She’s a widow with two teen aged daughters who have both just been Initiated into adulthood and also into the magic-users’ secret society, so she’s their teacher, too. Brena is impatient and has no use for fools or men. However, she’s also attracted to Rthan but is convinced that he will abandon her at the first opportunity.

Kavio is an exile and a very powerful magic-user. He’s one of the few who can command all six Chromas or types of magic. He hopes he has found a new home here in the Yellow Bear tribe, but the War Chief Hertio is suspicious of him and demands Kavio to show his loyalty.

The young Initiate Dindi failed her Initiation at the end of the previous book. Her whole life she’s wanted to be a magic-using dancer and has trained in secret even though that’s forbidden. It turned out that she doesn’t have magic at all. Still, she can see the small fairies and talk with them unlike other people who don’t have magic. She doesn’t want to live the life of an ordinary maiden: getting married and raising kids. At first, she even seriously considers just dancing the rest of her life away with fairies. Instead, she decides to break another taboo: she will spy on Brena and the Initiates and learn the dances by herself. When she’s confident that she knows them, she will ask for another Initiation. If anyone finds out, she will be killed.

Dindi also has her magical corncob doll and she continues to see visions of the past. The young woman Vessia, who is called the Corn Maiden and is now a prisoner, is the focus of the visions. She and her friends are trying to stop the Bone Whistler who wants to kill all magic-users who can use more than one Chroma.

Kavio finds out about Dindi spying on the Initiates. Instead of telling others what she’s doing, he breaks the taboo, too. Since Kavio is a powerful Zavaedi, he will teach Dindi, so technically, Dindi isn’t doing anything wrong anymore. Dindi accepts even though she’s very attracted to the handsome young man and knows that he can never care for her.

Kavio wants peace between his adoptive tribe and the tribe who attacked them. Blue Waters’ War Chief sends an envoy for peace talks, so Hertio sends Kavio and a small party of the Yellow Bear men and women to talk of peace with the powerful Blue Waters’ War Chief. All of the point-of-view characters are in the party so the middle of the book is spent traveling from Yellow Bear to Blue Waters’ territory. Unfortunately for Kavio, the two tribes have been warring for generations and they aren’t likely to forget their old grievances.

Gremo’s few chapters are told in the first person but the rest of the book is in third. I thought this was an interesting technique and it didn’t bother me.

This book has more romance aspects than the first one. Brena and Rthan are an obvious romantic couple while Dindi and Kavio are doing their best not to be attracted to each other. Kavio thinks that as an exile, he has nothing to offer Dindi while Dindi thinks that as a mere maiden she’s not significant enough to interest Kavio. There’s also a third couple who were a surprise to me. There’s also adventure and double-crossing

We are introduced to another class of people, so to say, men who dress as women and apparently are also attracted to other men. The War Chief’s envoy is one of them and we get to know him pretty well during the journey. The journey was mostly quite leisurely and the excitement didn’t really start until near the end. Still, I liked the character interaction quite a bit. Dindi got reacquainted with a girl she had befriended before, and Kavio and Rthan started perhaps to understand each other a bit more. Through the journey, Kavio teaches the magical dances to Dindi so we get to know a lot more about the various Chromas and dances.

Unfortunately, there was one thing that threw me out of the story: the use of minutes. Unless the characters have some way to mechanically measure time, they can’t really even know about minutes, or hours or seconds for that matter. It seems to me that Stone Age people would measure short amount of time differently: through heartbeats or breaths or just moments. Longer time might be measured with the length of shadows or which way the shadows point or how high or low the sun is.

Also, I had hard time believing that the Yellow Bear men would have let Rthan live with Brena and her daughters. Rthan is known to be a dangerous enemy and he had already tied up Brena to be whipped and raped. Why would he be allowed to live alone with three women whom he could have easily murdered before escaping? I know that it was done to further the romance plot but it still seemed a bit weird.

I also find the concept of a ”slave husband” a bit dubious. It seems to me, that in this time a husband would have owned his wife and kids and everything they had. (Although to be fair, we don’t know much about marriage in this world at all. It might even be different from one tribe to the next. None of the POV characters are married and the widow Brena seems to have just scorn for her dead husband.) On the other hand, slaves own nothing; instead they are owned. I think it’s even expected that a slave would try to run away so he can hardly be expected to have the sort of ties and loyalty that a marriage brings. Also, I would have thought that it would be humiliating for a woman to be tied to a slave instead of trying to further her own life with a good match. What about kids? Would they be slaves, too? I would have loved to hear more about the whole concept.

During the journey, we see that different tribes have different things, and people, they consider taboo. For example, while some tribes, such as Kavio’s Rainbow Labyrinth, prize people who can use more than one Chroma, the tribes we meet here consider such people diseased and Shunned. To them, only people with one Chroma are pure. Dindi and some other characters break the taboos of the other tribes knowing what they do and that they will be punished if they are caught.

Faeries play a smaller role this time but the world has the same mythical feeling as in the first book.

The book doesn’t end with a cliffhanger but leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

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