I have a confession to make – I love fairies! Even the worst fantasy novel has a chance to hold my attention if there are fairies involved. I’m not talking about those playful sprites, glimpsed only at the corner of the eye, but the diminutive, magical fairies who dance upon both ground and air, driving us ‘big folk’ to distraction.
Perhaps that’s why I had such a childlike smile plastered across my face through parts of Initiate, but an even larger part is simply that this is a wonderful story, well-told, with characters I quickly came to care about.
Although relatively short (with an effective cliff-hanger guaranteed to have you gnashing your teeth), this is a book that manages to deliver a solid reading experience. The setting is established nicely, complete with foreign creatures and unusual names, and the characters are well-developed, particularly those of Dindi, Gwenika , Kavio, and Puddlepaws (did I mention I love cute animals almost as much as I love fairies?).
The magic here is subtle, a natural extension of the world, but lovely to behold. The fairies, Dindi’s visions, the dance of the Tavaedi, and all the other magical elements are a nice counterpoint to the realities of a life amidst ancient tribes. As for the use of a civilization not far removed from the stone age, it’s a nice change from the standard medieval-tinged fantasy upon which so many authors seem to dwell.
I will admit that the frequent changes in point-of-view distracted me at first, particularly when some sections are told in the first-person and some in the second-person. There were also a few times where I felt the faint touch of an omniscient third-person narrator, but thankfully Tara kept that reined in. Those are minor quibbles, however, and not enough to take away from the enjoyment of a wonderful tale.