Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

It’s been awhile since a book has taken my breath away, and Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes did just that.

Danica Shardae, heir to the Tuuli Thea, is an Avian shapshifter who goes to unexpectable lengths to ensure peace in the bloody war against the Serpiente people. She arranges a marriage with Zane Cobriana, the leader of the Serpiente. The Serpiente and the Avian people have been at war so long nobody knows how it all started. In this short tale, a girl’s bravery and a boy’s desperate desire for peace bring together two totally different worlds.

This book was recommended to me, and quite honestly, I dismissed it initially. I mean, look at the cover; it doesn’t exactly peak my interest. The worn and tattered copy I received from the public library didn’t bode too well either, but I decided to give it a chance. This story was written when Atwater-Rhodes was only 19  and published in 2003. I can hardly believe I’ve missed it all these years.

I absolutely loved Hawksong. I was totally and utterly intoxicated by this short novel; it’s only 243 pages. I was immediately drawn into this world of shapeshifters. It’s a little out of the ordinary with the shapeshifters being birds and serpents, but it made it that much more enjoyable. Danica made an amazing Queen and her decisions reflected the fierce leader she was. Zane was also very loyal to his people to the point of giving up everything to stop the bloodshed. This story had an amazing message of peace by overcoming differences. The Avians had their steely reserve where as the Serpiente people were fluid and emotional. Atwater-Rhodes brought everything together beautifully.

The only complaint I have is I want MORE! The chapters flew by and the scenes were brief flashes. Even though it seemed too short, I was pulled right in to the point where I was longing for more. I wanted to hear more about their world, and I wanted to read scene after scene of Zane and Danica’s interactions. I was so enthralled, it got to the point where I was irritable if anyone or anything had the gall to interrupt me! (Sorry hubby!) I was thoroughly impressed by the writing for such a young author. Granted, I wanted more detail but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a lack of depth in the story. I would highly recommend this book. From the cover and the length, it seems to be for a younger audience, but I found it enjoyable and refreshing; it explored real issues in a mystical world. Amazingly — and to my sheer joy! — this book is the first in a series. The second installment, Snakecharm, will soon be gracing my bookshelves.

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