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Hawksong
Cover of Hawksong
Hawksong
Kiesha'ra Series, Book 1
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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, no one can remember how the fighting began. 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.

Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica—and all they ask of their people—but it may be more than she can give.

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List selection
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, no one can remember how the fighting began. 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.

Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica—and all they ask of their people—but it may be more than she can give.

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List selection
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.9
  • Lexile:
    930
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 6

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book Prologue

    They say the first of my kind was a woman named Alasdair, a human raised by hawks. She learned the language of the birds and was gifted with their form.

    It is a pretty myth, I admit, but few actually believe it. No record remains of her life.

    No record except for the feathers in every avian’s hair, even when otherwise we appear human, and the wings I can grow when I choose—and of course the beautiful golden hawk’s form that is as natural to me as the legs and arms I wear normally.

    This myth is one of the stories we hear as children, but it says nothing of reality or the hard lessons we are taught later.

    Almost before a child of my kind learns to fly, she learns to hate. She learns of war. She learns of the race that calls itself the serpiente. She learns that they are untrustworthy, that they are liars and loyal to no one. She learns to fear the garnet eyes of their royal family even though she will probably never see them.

    What she never learns is how the fighting began. No, that has been forgotten. Instead she learns that they murdered her family and loved ones. She learns that these enemies are evil, that their ways are not hers and that they would kill her if they could.

    That is all she learns.

    This is all I have learned.

    Days and weeks and years, and all I know is bloodshed. I hum the songs my mother once sang to me and wish for the peace they promise. It’s a peace my mother has never known, nor her mother before her.

    How many generations? How many of our soldiers fallen?

    And why?

    Meaningless hatred: the hatred of an enemy without a face. No one knows why we fight; they only know that we will continue until we win a war it is too late to win, until we have avenged too many dead to avenge, until no one can remember peace anymore, even in songs.

    Days and weeks and years.

    My brother never returned last night.

    Days and weeks and years.

    How long until their assassins find me?

    Danica Shardae
    Heir to the Tuuli Thea


    Chapter 1

    I took a deep breath to steady my nerves and narrowly avoided retching from the sharp, well-known stench that surrounded me.

    The smell of hot avian blood spattered on the stones, and cool serpiente blood that seemed ready to dissolve the skin off my hands if I touched it. The smell of burned hair and feathers and skin of the dead smoldered in the fire of a dropped lantern. Only the fall of rain all the night before had kept that fire from spreading through the clearing to the woods.

    From the forest to my left, I heard the desperate, strangled cry of a man in pain.

    I started to move toward the sound, but when I took a step through the trees in his direction, I came upon a sight that made my knees buckle, my breath freezing as I fell to the familiar body.

    Golden hair, so like my own, was swept across the boy’s eyes, closed forever now but so clear in my mind. His skin was gray in the morning light, covered with a light spray of dew. My younger brother, my only brother, was dead.

    Like our sister and our father years ago, like our aunts and uncles and too many friends, Xavier Shardae was forever grounded. I stared at his still form, willing him to take a breath and open eyes whose color would mirror my own. I willed myself to wake up from this nightmare.

    I could not be the last. The last child of Nacola Shardae, who was all the family I had left now.

    I wanted to scream and weep, but a hawk does not cry, especially here on the battlefield, in the midst of the dead and surrounded only by her guards. She does not...
About the Author-
  • Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. She has since published Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, all ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults, and Snakecharm.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 30, 2003
    Atwater-Rhodes (In the Forests of the Night) takes a break from vampires to create two warring clans: avians, who are human and bird, and serpiente, who are human and snake. No one remembers how the conflict began, but narrator Danica Shardae, the beautiful but tough avian leader, is tired of the bloodshed that has killed most of her family. She longs to end the war, enough to agree to choose serpiente leader Zane Cobriana as her mate, even though she has always "feared" and "hated" him. Not everyone is on board with this plan; members of both clans are critical, and both Danica and Zane have love interests among their own kind whom they must now abandon. Plus, there's a mysterious assassin among them. While the writing often comes off as overwrought, Atwater-Rhodes creates impressively complex cultures for both the avian and serpiente people. She gives each clan a mythology, distinctive fighting styles and different ways of relating to one another. Avians, for example, are known for their reserve, while the serpiente are passionate people who would never expect their leader to "choose his mate for politics." The trajectory is fairly obvious, but readers are still likely to be caught up in the details of the avian Hawk's Keep and the serpiente palace—and to wonder who is out to destroy the "fragile peace." Ages 12-up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2003
    Gr 7-10-In this engaging fantasy, Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter. She is a princess of her people who, like the birds they become, is reserved and disciplined, yet full of passion. Her people have been at war with the serpiente, a people who shapeshift into serpent forms, for so many years that no one remembers how it all started. The hatred and bloodshed have taken a heavy toll on both sides, and Danica and Zane Cobriana, a prince among the serpiente, are determined to stop it, at any cost. He is the last of his line as is Danica and so he proposes that the avian and serpiente royalty meet at a neutral place and seek mediation to end the war. The mediator proposal-that Danica and Zane marry-is so crazy and repugnant a plan that both parties leave immediately. The young people, however, consider it in spite of the apparent lunacy, for it would mean an end to the fighting. But can they pull it off? And can they keep the dissenters among them from destroying this shred of a chance for peace? This book takes the Romeo and Juliet angle to new heights and is dealt with in a completely original way. It's a love story and a plea for peace, and an intriguing look at a world that is teeming with tension and danger and beauty. Atwater-Rhodes has created a stunning adventure that draws readers in and leaves them begging for more.-Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ

    Copyright 2003 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Starred, VOYA

    "Teens will relate to these characters and the universal themes of peer pressure, family problems, and the search for identity."

Title Information+
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    Random House Children's Books
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Hawksong
Kiesha'ra Series, Book 1
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
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