Telesā: I Am Daniel by Lani Wendt Young
For those that enjoyed the Telesā trilogy, now you can read Daniel's story - how he and Leila met, their struggles, their love, and their fight to survive the power of the Telesā sisters.
However, for those that have not yet had the delight of knowing the Telesā series, this book offers a wonderful introduction that will leave you frantically hunting out the rest of the collection. This companion novella isn't too tricky to follow if you're new to the series, but it will most definitely intrigue you and urge you to find out more.
In this novella, Daniel tells of how he met Leila and their struggle to overcome the fates that beset them. The first person narrative offers an insight into Daniel including his choices and his more emotional side. His humour shines through and author Lani Wendt Young answers some questions readers have following the first two books in the series. It's interesting re-reading a plot line from a different perspective.
The Telesā series was written after Wendt Young and her brother discussed how a Sāmoan version of the vampire series Twilight would be far better. It is.
The fantasy romance rooted in Sāmoan mythology. I Am Daniel Tahi assumes readers have a basic knowledge of Sāmoan culture, but Wendt Young doesn't leave readers floundering.
Recently in New Zealand, Wendt Young gave the annual New Zealand Book Council lecture. Her lectures looked at diversity, Pasifika writing and the 'castle of white literature'. The Telesā series, and any of Wendt Young's writing is much needed. She gives aspiring Pasifika writers the knowledge that they too can write. That their stories are important.
To fully appreciate I Am Daniel Tahi, as well as to immerse yourself in the incredible world of Telesā, make sure you buy and read all the books in the series.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
OneTree House, RRP $20.