My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After thousands of years, male after male, finally —a female COMPIS is chosen. The peace of a nation seems secure, yet beneath the facade turmoil boils among its leaders. The innocent children, raised in ignorance all their lives until the Initiation of their seventeenth year, have no idea of the true face behind their High Council.
Why has a girl been chosen? Why is she special? Will she be able to do what no other Compis has done and bring the hypocrisy to an end?
Compis is divided into two parts, The Initiation and Aquis. The book itself is mostly quite well-written. There are some very nice descriptions of landscapes, and the writing itself is smooth and easy to read. Pre-teens and teens should find the reading experience enjoyable. Adults who enjoy a quick read might enjoy it as well. The characters each have their own personality and they are who they are: inexperienced, self-centred and sometimes reactive adolescents/young adults.
I did have issues with specific things. The Initiation section was too long and the events mostly occur in the same place. There is very little action or tension in this section which is loaded with orations and explanations of this and that aspect of tribe life, sometimes repeated throughout the section by different characters, and the result of the ceremony is telegraphed early on so that the end is no real surprise. I also found the retelling of the same event 3 times from different perspectives to be too much. Also, the romance between Zyan and Nikka is sweet but feels very, very adolescent, even for adolescents.
The narrative finally picks up in Aquis, and even then only when Zyan begins to have dreams which lead him on a journey (at last) to save his tribe, and when Nikka finally decides to do something important in her new role. Much time is spent on Lukka and I’m not sure why—he seemed a minor character throughout until this point. I suppose he becomes more important later on, which is good because he did get one bad-ass animal spirit. That I would like to see more of. The ending came on quite abruptly—there was no preceding round-up, or resolution phase to ease me out of the story that had just begun to get interesting.
Personally, I would have preferred if The Initiation had been cut down and more time spent with Zyan and Nikka puzzling through their problems, and the reader discovering more about the political and social issues burdening the tribes, as that is really what this story seems to be about. However, the writing is good, the characters likeable, and the stage is set for an engaging story to come. For these reasons, I give Compis 3 out of 5 stars (3 1/2 if I could).