Title Hawksong (The Kiesha’ra #1)
Published: September 28, 2004
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk’s form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long that no one can remember how the fighting began. And Danica is tired of it. As heir to the avian throne, she’ll do anything in her power to stop this war–even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind’s greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.
Now Danica must convince her people that Zane is just as committed to peace as she is–though she can’t help fearing that, despite his word, he will strike as swiftly and lethally as the cobra that is his second form. Among the serpiente, she’ll have to pretend to be in love, though when they’re alone, her reserve threatens to keep her and Zane worlds apart. And in their midst are dissenters who will do whatever it takes to destroy this union.
In one of the Top Ten Tuesdays that I did, I wrote about things that I wished authors would write about. One of the things on my list was more shapeshifters that weren’t wolves. Don’t get me wrong, I love werewolves so.much. but I think they’ve saturated every book and I really wanted a palate cleanser. (The Top Ten Tuesday for reference’s sake) and one of the comments left was by Elizabeth at Oboechia Books, and she recommended Hawksong and the other books by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It took a little while for my library to get it in, and when I got my hands on it, I was in the midst of a Bleach binge.
I devoured this book in like forty-five minutes. It’s a really quick, good read. I like the character of Danica a lot. As a female lead in any other setting but this one she would irritate me. Seeing as she’s a bird shapeshifter though, her flighty (oh lord forgive the pun), and reserved nature fits her really well. It’s not a detriment to the character at all. She is strong within her own right, standing up to the royal guard, her mother and at times Zane. She has a good head on her shoulders, and does what is right for her people. She’s motivated to end this war with the serpiente at whatever the cost. Enter Zane. The leader of the serpiente people, who in the beginning of the book lost his brother in a battle where Danica fought. He’s hotheaded and possesses a dangerous air. It works here too, the character’s other form being a snake, he’s emotional, quick to strike and will defend himself. I really liked the way the story fell into place.
The two different cultures shone when put under the microscope. They have different beliefs, different celebrations and formalities. It’s a detail that a lot of these ‘warring countries/arranged marriage type’ stories tend to gloss over. Both mess up when it comes to social turns, and it’s really great. There is not any insta-love. There’s hatred and fear, insta-lust and emotional growth and acceptance. It unfolds naturally. The supporting cast is just as great as the main cast, and I really fell for one of the supporting characters (and cheered with the fact that the story didn’t take a love triangle approach)