Fall First Page Critique Blog Hop

Here is the info on how to join this blog hop hosted by the lovely Michelle Hauck, which sounds like fun and a great NaNoWriMo distraction if you need it.

My first page is below:

YA Fantasy

They performed the ceremony like all others, standing at the roots of the Great Banyan tree. Smoke from the fire pits stung my nose. Beetle swarms crawled along the leaves — tick tick tick. The light shifted between shadows and sunlight. Branches and leaves and vines were the Banyan’s tangled hair.

Mother’s hands trembled.

“We must go to your uncle now, Aliyah.” A thick wave of her hair swept over her shoulder to tickle my cheek. She smelled of salt, like her tears, like the ocean where, just days before, my father’s body had been set to flame.

He was released to the Great Ones. I was trapped here without him.

Uncle Talin was not my uncle at all. Not by blood. He was my father’s friend, and my new guardian. As was tradition in the Tribes, I must call him Uncle to represent his place in my new life, but the law could not rule my heart. Uncle Talin would never replace my father. He stood on the roots, watching and waiting for us to come to him. His eyes did not laugh like Father’s had. They roamed over our faces, dark and narrowed, unsettling me where I stood. I could feel the heat of his gaze touch us, moving between us, lingering on Mother, coming back to me.

This was the man who would bear the mark of our ho’omalu.

The Kahuna’s grass skirt hissed as he moved through the village toward the Great Banyan. My skin shivered when he passed me.