Book Review: Falcondance by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Title: Falcondance The Kiesha’ra volume 3
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: September 13th 2005
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Nicias has never felt completely at home among the avians and serpiente in Wyvern’s Court, despite his loyalty to Oliza Shardae Cobriana, the heir to both thrones. He is a falcon, the son of two exiles from Anhmik- and images of this distant island have always haunted his dreams. But when Nicias’s visions become more like reality, his parents have no choice but to send him back to the homeland- and a royal falcon- they’ve tried their best to forget.

If Araceli won’t bind Nicias’s new found magic, it could destroy him. In a place where everyone is a pawn, only one other woman has the potential to save Nicias. But she holds the keys to a dangerous power struggle that will force Nicias to choose between his duty- and his destiny.

picadillypink To be completely honest I’m still on the fence with this series, as Snakecharm left a bad taste in my mouth. Falcondance introduces a slew of new characters, the second generation of the books if you will, and it’s a little difficult to sympathize with any of them straight off the bat. As readers we’re thrown directly into the story without any sort of buildup or back story at all. Nicias is an interesting character, and I have a feeling he’ll play an important part in the next book.

Falcondance is a bit of an information dump after the first chapter, revealing more about the Falcons, their history, their magic and their part in the war between the avians and the serpiente. This book is far more political than the other two, focusing on an older, stricter culture than the others. It was interesting to see the differences between the three, especially through Nicias’ eyes as he’s someone who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, until later in the story. It is a short book at just under two-hundred pages, but at times drags. The action, when it does happen is far more brutal and intense than the other two books in the series, further progressing the story and introducing some darkness to it.

Overall: pink3 Falcondance hasn’t redeemed the series for me, but I am more likely to pick up the next one rather than dropping it.


Book Review: Snakecharm by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Title: Snakecharm
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: June 13, 2006
Publisher: Laurel Leaf.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Zane Cobriana, cobra shapeshifter, thanks the gods every day for Danica, his hawk pair bond, and the peace their union has brought to the avian and serpiente. Soon, Danica will have a child to carry on their royal line. But what should be a happy time is riddled with doubt.

Syfka, an ancient falcon, has arrived from Ahnmik claiming that one of her people is hidden in their midst. The falcons are more powerful than the avian and serpiente combined, and Syfka shows nothing but contempt for Zane and Danica’s alliance. To Zane’s horror, his own people seem just as appalled as Syfka is by the thought of a mixed-blood child becoming heir to the throne.

Is Syfka’s lost falcon just a ruse to stir up controversy among them? The truth lies somewhere in their tangled pasts and the search will redefine Zane and Danica’s fragile future.

After reading Hawksong and falling in love with it, I immediately went to reserve Snakecharm from the library. It took a few weeks for them to get it in, so I was chomping at the bit to read it when I finally got my hands on it. I still like the world, and the characters–though in Snakecharm there’s a narration shift from Danica to Zane. About halfway through the book we find out that Danica is pregnant with their first child, and along with that comes the problems of raising a mixed breed child, and which throne the child will inherit. I found that Danica changed a bit in this book. She’s not as strong/self sufficient in this book, relying heavily on others.

Zane is a believable narrator though a bit passive. I felt that it dragged a bit, and lacked some of the excitement and drama from the first book. I did also notice that there wasn’t as much world building–it was as though I was supposed to take things at face value. The story felt a bit rushed, a little stitched together to further the main plot along. I did like the side story with the two falcons that are hidden among Danica’s people. It was a nice twist that I didn’t see coming.

Overall: pink2 Snakecharm suffers from second book syndrome–adding in details to pad the story and push along a larger plot that will be revealed in later books. Feels like filler.

Book Review: Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Title Hawksong (The Kiesha’ra #1)
Author:Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: September 28, 2004
Publisher: Laurel Leaf

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
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)

Overall: pink4 Great story, great cast, different breeds of shifters. Downside–a little rushed and wrapped up too quickly.