Wyvernhail (The Kiesha'ra Series #5)

Wyvernhail (The Kiesha'ra Series #5)

4.4 50
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

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HAI HAS ALWAYS been an outsider. With a falcon mother and a deceased cobra father, she is considered a mongrel by most, an ally by some, and a friend by few. Hai's broken falcon wings are a painful reminder of the life she once led on the island of Ahnmik. And here in Wyvern's Court, the avian and serpiente royal family keep their distance, refusing to acknowledge

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HAI HAS ALWAYS been an outsider. With a falcon mother and a deceased cobra father, she is considered a mongrel by most, an ally by some, and a friend by few. Hai's broken falcon wings are a painful reminder of the life she once led on the island of Ahnmik. And here in Wyvern's Court, the avian and serpiente royal family keep their distance, refusing to acknowledge her cobra bloodline. They know that Hai's magic is so volatile, she can barely control it, and images of the past and future threaten to overwhelm her.

When Hai's cousin, Oliza Shardae Cobriana, abdicates the throne of Wyvern's Court, Hai has visions only of destruction: the serpiente king Salem, dying in her arms; the dutiful guard, Nicias, unable to save a generation of children; and Wyvern's Court engulfed in flames.

Now Hai will do anything to protect her new home - even if it means betraying the very people who need her most.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Set in a time and place not known to man, our hero Hai must find a way to save her people from themselves and from others in the book. Being a mongrel, Hai has the birthright of her deceased cobra father and the falcon heritage from her mother. Both sides pull Hai apart and seem to drive her to the point of insanity until she takes hold of her destiny and finds a way to control her visions. Her knowledge of the future tells of how her people would destroy themselves if Oliza, her cousin, takes control of the throne. Now Hai must find a way to keep this from happening even if she must give up the love of her life and never know happiness again. This character-rich book brings together an interesting set of creatures that feel like humans because of their emotional upheavals and like primitive animals because of their violent nature. Many twists and turns happen as our hero must face her fate. Cliff Nielsen, jacket illustrator, has created an incredible image that gives readers a glance at what these fanciful characters would look like. The author, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes seems to have produced dramatic characters with more adult-natured qualities then young adult. For instance, how many fifteen year olds would have so gracefully accepted that she would have to give up her lover to save the world without a tear bath? I appreciated the original voice and plot, but I would only encourage readers fifteen years old or older to read this book because of the sexual content and subject matter. This was the fifth and final book of “The Kiesh’ra” series. Reviewer: Julia Beiker
VOYA - Snow Wildsmith
While Hai's cobra blood links her to the serpiente royal family, her inherited falcon magic makes her an outsider. Wyvern's Court, the combined serpiente and avian city founded to end the war between the two disparate groups of shape shifters, is in disarray after the abdication of Oliza Shardae Cobriana, wyvern princess. Hai and Nicias, the exiled heir to the falcon's throne, must struggle through many possible futures to find one that does not end in bloodshed, death, and anguish. The final book in Atwater-Rhodes' The Kiesha'ra series about warring tribes of shape-shifting snakes and birds is, like the previous titles, more about political intrigue, romance, and personal responsibility than about grand sweeping armies. Focusing this time on Hai, a broken, bitter, and magic-crazed half-breed, Atwater-Rhodes slowly wraps up loose ends but does not try to pretend that life ends at the final pages of a book. This soft ending might disappoint readers looking for more closure, but it makes her world seem more realistic and believable. As with the other books in the series, there is some adult language, some violence, and several delicately written sex scenes, but nothing is extremely graphic. This title is recommended for libraries with the other books in the series or with fans of romantic fantasy writers like Robin McKinley and Clare B. Dunkle.
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up
This final volume in the series tidies up loose ends after Oliza's abdication in Wolfcry (Delacorte, 2006) with Salem Cobriana set to take the serpiente throne. Treachery, however, forces Oliza to become ruler after all. Powerful cobra-falcon Hai, the narrator, is having waking dreams predicting disaster under Oliza. She fears her hidden plans to claim the throne will be perceived as betrayal, and that she will lose those closest to her only after fostering their deep affection and devotion. Knowledge of other books in the series is needed to understand the highly complex history of and power struggle between avian and serpiente shape-shifters. The family tree in the front helps to keep track of the large cast of characters. The invented language of the shape-shifters enriches their well-imagined world, in which some can communicate telepathically. Themes include illusion and reality, self-sacrifice, one's sense of duty, and love. Hai transforms from recluse to leader, gradually mastering her power and inner conflict. Secondary characters are kept distant, were explored in other volumes, or remain static. Frequent switching in and out of a dream-state is initially confusing; however, revelation, justice, and reconciliation (for some) ultimately flow together seamlessly. The pacing is even and holds tension throughout, maintaining a sense of impending disaster. The conclusion, filled with betrayal, tenderness, and peace for diverse peoples, will satisfy, despite ending a little too neatly. A must for libraries collecting this series.
—Amy J. ChowCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Kiesha'ra Series, #5
Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.76(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


The Kiesha'ra: Volume Five

By Amelia Atwater-Rhodes Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Copyright © 2008
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780440240037


Serpiente who held to the old myths believed that the world began in fire. Out of the numb void came passion and heat, and Will too strong to be denied. Order and chaos--Ahnmik and Anhamirak--began their eternal dance, and from the embers of their battle, the world was born.So perhaps it was not surprising that the world would end of that same heat.I was pulled from my musings as the door opened, drawing my attention to the small two-room building in which I had been sitting cross-legged before the hearth, perhaps for several hours. I looked up as a trio of falcons entered the candle shop, their steps uncharacteristically light and their expressions unguarded."Hanlah'ni-aona'pata'rrasatoth-rakuvra'pata'Diente." Cobras change kings, Spark observed with some amusement, as easily as the white Lady's heir changes lovers.The four falcons who frequented this shop at the edge of the avian hills of Wyvern's Court were in hiding, criminals who would probably be executed if they ever showed themselves in the white city again. Though Spark, Maya, Opal and Gren disguised themselves as simple avian merchants in the public areas of Wyvern's Court, here they switched back to the falcon language ha'Dasi.I enjoyed hearing the language of my home, even spoken by these exiles. Some of the serpents of Wyvern's Court tried to use it, but ha'Dasi alwayssounded stunted and twisted to me when it came from the tongue of a snake.Opal emerged from the back room, his eyes heavy lidded from sleep. Without sparing a glance at me, he asked, "Hehj' hena?" What happened?Gren, the owner of the candle shop, answered in the same language. "Oliza Shardae Cobriana," he announced, "has just abdicated the throne of Wyvern's Court. She and some wolf have run off in the woods together, leaving Salem and Sive holding the bag."The words stole my breath, not because they shocked me but because they left me with a powerful sense of deja vu. Months before, I had seen a vision of the wyvern princess dethroned. The image had been unclear, and all I had been able to do was go to Oliza and warn her: "You are about to do something that changes everything." I had hoped to make her think through her actions.Instead, I had triggered the very events I had sought to avoid.Around me, the falcons continued their conversation. "Changing leaders like autumn leaves is better than letting one rule for a thousand years," Gren observed."It makes you wonder, though, how easy it might be to put someone on the serpiente throne who would turn this land in a more favorable direction." Maya looked pointedly at me.This was not a new argument, and Opal dismissed it before I even needed to reply. "Makes you wonder, perhaps," he scoffed. "One would think that several days of punishment by the Empress's Mercy would have taught you not to speak treason with every word.""The Heir gave me to her Mercy for conceiving a child," Maya spat. This was the crime that had led to her flee from the falcon island. "If that is treason--""Which it is," Opal said, interrupting, "seeing as the Empress forbids kajaes from breeding."Kajaes were falcons born without magic, freaks in a city whose inhabitants breathed power and worked spells as if they were weaving baskets. But Ahnmik's magic was poison to new life; the royal house had had only one child in the past thousand years: Araceli's son, Sebastian. Kajaes children were conceived more easily.Almost as easily as quemak, mongrels like Opal--whose father was human, leaving Opal with the stigma of mixed blood in addition to no magic--and of course me."If that is treason," Maya said softly, "and is deserving of what I suffered for it, then do you think I fear a cobra's punishment? Besides, I speak only of replacing one cobra with another. It's nothing new for serpents."Sometimes I envied Maya for the fire of her hatred. Though kajaes, and therefore powerless to make any change, she maintained an incredible passion that I was no longer able to feel, no matter how I tried."Sebastian's child guards the new serpiente king," Opal pointed out. "Nicias sees us all for what we are, and don't think he doesn't watch us carefully. You don't think he would stop you if you tried to--"Maya uttered a curse. "Then we get rid of him--""At which point you consign to the Ecl the false queen you wish to place on the throne," I said softly, interjecting. This argument was old, and I was bored of it. "But not until I teach you agony the Mercy never dreamed of."Silence crashed down. Unlike these four, I was not harmless kajaes. I had the full ability to carry out my threat, if I chose."Salem Cobriana is beloved by his people," I said. "The dancers adore him, because he is the first in more than eight hundred years to be raised in the nest nursery. He follows their most ancient traditions and knows them all as well as any dancer. He is supported by the previous Diente, by the beloved princess Oliza, and by the avian Tuuli Thea. Most serpents tolerate me, but only because I do nothing that offends them . . . that they know of," I added. If they knew I spent my free hours with falcons and the white vipers of the outlaw Obsidian guild, they would tolerate me far less. "Sive Shardae, on the other hand, can barely stand to be in the room with me--""Who cares what the hawk thinks?" Maya asked, challenging me."Everyone who does not wish to return to war," Gren answered for me.I nodded. "And as you mentioned, Salem will now be guarded by Nicias Silvermead. I will kill any who touch the falcon prince. That is, if they aren't first killed by either the Wyverns or the serpiente palace guard."Maya tossed her head. "You are forgetting that you are the rightful heir to the serpiente throne. You are Anjay Cobriana's only daughter--""And Salem is his nephew," I said. "You are forgetting two very important things. First of all, the serpiente would rebel and dethrone any who dared challenge their beloved king. No matter what my birthright, they would never allow me to take the throne from the one they want there."Again Maya argued. "There are traditionalists among the serpiente who think you should be queen. I have heard them speaking. Whether or not they approve of you specifically, they think that Anjay's daughter--not the son of his younger sister--should take the throne. You are the oldest and the first in line. Blood may not matter to a serpent as much as it does to a falcon, but a cobra's blood still matters.""The second and most important thing you are forgetting," I said, ignoring the valid but irrelevant argument, "is that I have no desire to be queen. Breathing is a bother to me. Why would I wish to rule?""Think what you could accomplish," Maya said, impassioned. "Imagine a world where the serpiente followed you. Imagine if you could rally your Nicias to our cause, or--""I could, what, topple the white towers?" I asked. "Survive, Maya. That is all you and I can do. And for some of us, survival takes enough effort. Let it be.""If nothing else," Maya said, "you would be able to protect those of us who are here. We would be able to live our lives without constantly fearing that the serpiente will discover us and send us away, or that the Empress will remember us and have us dragged back to the island to be put down like feral dogs. If you would not or could not fight Ahnmik on the island, you could fight the Mercy if they came for us here. The serpiente army would be able to win if you showed them how to fight a falcon. We're all kajaes. Our children would have no magic. They would be no threat to this realm. As Diente, you could give us a chance to have normal lives."Tears glistened in Maya's eyes, no doubt as she remembered the infant the Mercy had ripped from her the moment it was weaned of its mother's milk.Had my own mother ever cried this way? I thought not. Darien of Ahnmik had shown more compassion to these kajaes, whom she had smuggled off the island beneath the veil of her own magic, than she ever had to me, her own misbegotten child."Go to Salem, while he is holding his first child in his arms and feeling how precious it is," I said to Maya. "Or go to the Tuuli Thea Sive, when she is first a mother. Tell that monarch your story, and speak your plea.""Trust a hawk?" Maya replied incredulously. "Or a cobra? What would stop them from turning me in?""Honor?" I suggested."Cobras have no honor."I couldn't help smiling a little, though most wouldn't at that thought. "I am a cobra," I answered Maya. "Quemak, remember? And the other half of my blood comes from one of the Empress's Mercy. Not a good lineage for a woman you would like to place in power.""You're a gyrfalcon," Gren argued. "And your mother isn't just one of the Mercy; she is Darien, to whom we all owe our lives--""Darien," I said, "who tortured your mother, Opal, for her dalliance with a human. Darien, who--""People change. They learn," Opal asserted. "Darien most of all. She wants to--""My mother wants a lot of things," I said. "She speaks about a great many dreams as she stands in the white city, by the right hand of the Empress, while we rot in this mongrel land."I tried to turn away, but Maya gripped my hand."Hai, please, try to imagine--"" 'Try to imagine' a world where she cares," Opal spat. "Imagine a world where our mongrel cobra has the courage and conviction of her mother. But the Empress long ago wrote that a quemak child will have cowardice and treason in her blood--""The Empress says a lot of things about quemak, things that may serve her agenda more than the absolute truth," Maya snapped. I tried to pull away, and she held more tightly. "Hai, listen to me! Imagine a world where a mixed-blood falcon like you isn't automatically branded a dangerous traitor. Imagine being able to study your magic, take your wings, and dance--"I tore away from her, aware that my garnet eyes were flashing with rare temper. "I had that," I said. "And it wasn't something my mother gave to me. My Empress raised me, when the woman you praise was otherwise occupied. When my first sakkri made me scream until I lost my voice for days, Cjarsa bent her own laws and let me grow my wings and dance so I could focus my magic on the present and perhaps not see such horrors again. What did that leniency get us? I lost control, lost my wings and endangered the woman who had raised me, all because my quemak arrogance convinced me that I could be more than my cobra father's mistake.""You are--""And now here I sit," I continued, "in a room full of criminals, listening to treason. So tell me, Maya, how was Cjarsa incorrect?"Bitterly, Maya said, "You speak very highly of your Empress, yet you are the only one of us who is willingly here in Wyvern's Court. If you love the city so much, why don't you go back to it?""Give it a rest," Opal said, placing a hand on Maya's shoulder as I turned to leave. "Sometimes the Empress is right. People change. Snakes don't."I did not slam the door as I left. There was no need. We had had many arguments about this here--and we would have more.It was true that I would be allowed to return to Ahnmik if I chose. Empress Cjarsa might send someone to carry me, since I did not have wings of my own anymore. Then I would once again be able to walk in a land where the walls glistened with magic and the roads sang a melody no voice could reproduce. I could live out the rest of my days in a land where even the prison of the mad--the Halls of shm'Ecl, where I had spent many years--was so beautiful to behold, it could bring tears to a mortal's eyes.So, too, could a cuckoo be raised by robins. I loved the white city, but in it, I would be that cuckoo, put into the nest by a mother more interested in using me as a political excuse than in nurturing me. If I returned, I would be Darien's pawn to use against my Empress, and that I could not stand.CHAPTER 2I was not the only citizen of Ahnmik who had chosen this exile. Nicias Silvermead was the acknowledged heir of Lady Araceli, who was heir to none other than the Empress herself. Yet the beautiful royal peregrine had chosen to stay in Wyvern's Court to serve the now abdicated wyvern princess, Oliza.My loyalty to the Empress Cjarsa kept me from the white island, but my connection to Nicias kept me in Wyvern's Court--and indeed, in this reality.I had languished in my silent madness for years before Nicias found me hiding from the pain of a shattered body and ruined dreams. His vows to the Cobriana line and royal falcon blood helped him pull me from that void, and for that salvation, I both loved Nicias and hated him. Ahnmik's reluctant prince had given me the world . . . or as much of it as I could hold. Visions of Ahnmik, shards of Wyvern's Court, fragments of pasts and futures other than my own. I still felt trapped within Ecl's numbing ice, able to watch others live but not quite able to feel that life--except sometimes when I beheld Nicias's love for this land and its people. His passion for Wyvern's Court drove me now from Gren's candle shop to the marketplace, to see what would happen next.

***Before I had even descended the northern hills, I could hear shouting.I took another step forward, and suddenly the noise was replaced by absolute silence. I looked over the market that had just been filled with anxious, frightened and angry avians and serpents, and saw nothing but mist and the pale shimmer of falcon magic.I squeezed my eyes closed, trying to clear the vision from my mind before it could overwhelm me. This time I succeeded in chasing away the sakkri, and I was grateful for that. Too often I became lost in other times and places, especially when I walked through the center of Wyvern's Court. Anhamirak's magic swirled so thickly there among the avians and the serpiente, it frequently robbed me of any scraps of control I might have had.The shouting returned, and I entered the market.

From the Hardcover edition.


Excerpted from Wyvernhail by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes Copyright © 2008 by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Amelia Atwater-Rhodes lives in Massachusetts.

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Wyvernhail (The Kiesha'ra Series #5) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love that Hai is the main character of this volume, since she's made a tiny appearnce in Falcondance. Its good to learn about her, and the dreams she starts having. Once again, great characters make cameo appearances, and a story about someone who tries to break their habit of lonliness and blend with life. This is the best of the series, and I can't wait to see what Atwater-Rhodes thinks of next! P.S. She chooses amazing artwork for all her novels!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved all the books but didn't really care for wolfcry it was the weirdest to me. She ran off with a wolf. Wyvernhail was another gateway to the realm of the falcons like falcon dance I enjoyed all the books in the series. Wyvernhail was Hai dealing with her own feelings and coming to life again while falling in love with Nicias and he doing the same. In the end it did leave me wanting more but that is what its supposed to do.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Being a half breed, Hai knows her blood lines are considered impure by her paternal serpentine family and by her aviary maternal kin. Neither side recognizes her beyond being a mongrel even with cobra blood flowing inside her. Even more painful proof of being a lowlife outsider is her broken falcon wings that occurred when she lived on Ahnmik Island and envisioned her beloved Nicias with a full blooded flacon female at his side. However, residing at the Wyvern's Court has not proved much better though albeit a bit safer as she is unaccepted by anyone and everyone fears her out of control magic causing havoc.-------------- When Hai's half cousin Oliza Shardae Cobriana abdicates the Wyvern's Court throne, the kingdom is thrown into chaos. Hai has visions of the terrible destruction of her new home. It is ablaze and she also sees serpent King Salem dying while Nicias the Falcon guard is unable to save the children or himself. She knows she must do what she can to save the people especially the children, but she feats what it will cost her.---------------- Volume five is a strong ending to the Kiesha¿Ra young adult fantasy thrillers that has been a deep coming of age saga. Hai is terrific as she feels a responsibly to save the court especially the children although most of the adults have treated her with bias and disdain because of her mongrel status. Readers of all ages will enjoy the finish, but it behooves the audience to peruse the previous four tales as this is a fine series.------------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great series. It was different in a good way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this series over and ovrr and I never get tired of it!
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