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Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra Series #1)

Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra Series #1)

4.7 369
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

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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


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

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling fantasy writer Amelia Atwater-Rhodes takes wing with her fifth riveting novel, this time whisking readers to a world of warring shapeshifters and turbulent attempts at peace.

Forever at war, the hawk-human shapeshifters and serpiente snake-human shifters feel only raging hatred for each other. So when an important serpiente dies in the arms of Danica Shardae, heir to the Tuuli Thea throne, she makes the decision that she's had enough fighting. Likewise, Danica's serpiente counterpart, Zane Cobriana, has also grown tired of losing close relatives to war, and when a peace meeting leads to the two getting secretly married and joining their clans, their decision could mean either wide acceptance or revolt. Thankfully, Danica and Zane's high rank and prestige have a fairly positive effect on the masses, but with assassination attempts and a marriage not based on love, the pair are tested to learn if their own resilience and faith is enough to overcome cultural differences and deep-seeded distrust.

Tense and empowering, Atwater-Rhodes's fifth book won't disappoint her fans. This page-turner is as fraught with battling clans and clandestine relationships as Romeo and Juliet, while peace -- not love -- is the tie that binds the two main characters. Always forcefully grounded and skilled at plot twists, Atwater-Rhodes will be sure to snag readers in her imaginative grip. Matt Warner

Publishers Weekly
The leader of the Avians and the ruler of the serpiente choose to mate, in an attempt to end the bitter dispute between their peoples. "Atwater-Rhodes creates impressively complex cultures for both clans," PW wrote. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Shapeshifters, politics, and romance, oh my! Hawksong is the first installment of a fantasy series. This novel finds a balance between wit and tragedy, centuries of violence and a glimmering hope for peace. The author gives Danica a believable voice and surrounds her with fleshed-out characters. Atwater-Rhodes fans will find enough similar themes in this book to find it just as readable as the vampire series. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Jessica Lee, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Danica, an avian shapeshifter princess, and Zane Cobriana, a serpiente prince, agree to marry in an attempt to end years of bloodshed and hatred between their kingdoms. Tension, treachery, love, and loyalty are the hallmarks of this stunning adventure. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Trappings of fantasy veil a stock romance plot. Nineteen-year-old Danica is a shapeshifting hawk. Heir to the throne of an avian race, she hates the generations-old war with the serpent people that has claimed so many of her kin. Her worst enemy, the dreaded, but sexy, Zane Cobriana of the serpiente, proposes a peace treaty bound by a marriage between them. Though Danica mistrusts Zane, how can she refuse the chance at peace? Despite their racial differences, Zane and Danica find each other physically appealing. Is their attraction enough to overcome centuries of hatred? Though the fantasy is strained, Danica's (PG-rated) love story, which follows the plot of conventional adult romance, is enjoyable for that genre. (Fiction. 13-17)
From the Publisher
“Teens will relate to these characters and the universal themes of peer pressure, family problems, and the search for identity.”—Starred, VOYA

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Kiesha'ra Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


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 scream or beat the ground and curse the sky.

Among my kind, tears were considered a disgrace to the dead and shame among the living.

Avian reserve. It kept the heart from breaking with each new death. It kept the warriors fighting a war no one could win. It kept me standing when I had nothing to stand for but bloodshed.

I could not cry for my brother, though I wanted to.

I pushed the sounds away, forcing my lips not to tremble. Only one heavy breath escaped me, wanting to be a sigh. I lifted my dry eyes to the guards who stood about me protectively in the woods.

“Take him home,” I ordered, my voice wavering a bit despite my resolve.

“Shardae, you should come home, too.”

I turned to Andreios, the captain of the most elite flight in the avian army, and took in the worried expression in his soft brown eyes. The crow had been my friend for years before he had been my guard, and I began to nod assent to his words.

Another cry from the woods made me freeze. I started toward it, but Andreios caught my arm just above the elbow. “Not that one, milady.”

Normally I would have trusted his judgment without question, but not here on the battlefield. I had been walking these bloody fields whenever I could ever since I was twelve; I could not avert my eyes when we were in the middle of this chaos and someone was pleading, with what was probably his last breath, for help. “And why not, Andreios?”

The crow knew he was in trouble the instant I addressed him by his full name instead of his childhood nickname of Rei, but he kept on my heels as I stepped around the slain bodies and closer to the voice. The rest of his flight fell back, out of sight in their second forms--crows and ravens, mostly. They would take my brother home only when it did not mean leaving me alone here.

"Dani." In return, I knew Rei was serious when he lapsed into the informal and used my nickname, Dani, instead of a respectful title or my surname, Shardae. Even when we were alone, Rei rarely called me Danica. It was an entreaty to our lifelong friendship when he used that nickname where someone else could hear it, and so I paused to listen. "That's Gregory Cobriana. You don't want his blood on your hands."

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet 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.

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Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 367 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hawksong was written by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. The moment you open Hawksong you are plunged into the world of Shapeshifters. But there is one catch to this fantasy world ¿ it is in the midst of war. And not just any war, this is the legendary war between the Avians and the Serpiente. No one knows why they fight anymore ¿ not even the warriors themselves. And no one even remembers why or who started this war. All anyone knows is that all these years of bloodshed are caused by the other ¿ the enemy.

The Avians are a race of shapeshifters that can turn into birds. They are very conservative; they have their children¿s marriages arranged soon after birth, they never show any public displays of affection, and never, ever show emotion. Emotion is weakness. Their cities and people are decorated with earthy tones of gold and other under toned colors, and their leaders are somewhat set apart from the rest of the people. All they want is to be rid of their opposites, the Serpiente.

The Serpiente are the very opposites of the Avians, and they can turn into snakes. They are very passionate about every little thing in their lives ¿ including war. They marry for love, public displays of affection are a standard greeting, and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Bottom line - if they feel it, you see it. The people and city of the Serpiente are decorated with bold colors, and their leaders are found among their subjects nearly every day. They don¿t understand the Avians¿ thirst for structure, and the war has caused them to hate the Avians, especially after all the death they¿ve caused.

Needless to say, the leaders of the two legendary races are growing tired of broken wings and torn scales. Danica Shardae, the main character, had drawn the line. She ¿ a hawk ¿ has had to sing a member of the of the Cobrianna line into death because of the pain he was left in after one battle. She has lost countless family members, friends, and subjects to this war, and will now do anything to stop the war ¿ or so she thinks. She is given one chance, but it was not what she expected. She could marry the heir to the Serpiente throne, Zane Corbrianna, and sell herself into a lie in order to make peace, or watch as more of her loved ones die.

Danica agrees to this mad scheme, and secretly marries Zane ¿ without her mother¿s permission. This causes an uproar among the Avians, and the Serpiente are just as disgusted with Zane¿s choice of a mate. There are many obstacles that the two must conquer such as assassinations, their subjects, and themselves. If they can¿t learn to trust each other, how can they expect their subjects to trust them? Danica and Zane are trying to merge two worlds ¿ a task others have said is impossible. Somewhere along the lines, the façade wears off and the two fall in love. As their journey goes on, they find peace in each other. But can the two races do the same?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! This is one of the few books I can re-read over and over.
LaLaRainbowNinja More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this book in high-school, it's been stuck in my head ever since. One of the best books I've read in a long time, it draws you in and it becomes one of those books you just can't put down.
LindaSuzane More than 1 year ago
HAWKSONG is a wonderful fantasy novel, rich in imagination, vivid in images, entrancing in its characterization. It certainly well worth reading, even if you are no longer a young adult. Read more at www.midnightblood.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have reread this many times and love it equally each time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm simply gushing over this book!!!! This is a must read!!!! ~Eagle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Although it is the only book that I have read from this series I must say that I am looking foward to read all the other titles in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hawksong, in my opinion is a fantastic book and is actually a fast read. I only hesitate to give it a rating of 5 for two reasons. 1st, it was too fast of a read (I finished the book in only about 7 hours). I prefer a longer book. The second reason is a little harder to explain. This book is so fantastic and amazing, but this could have also been an even better book if we had more detailed of that incredible world that the author created. I'm not saying the, wasn't descriptive enough, but I wanted to know even more about the world she created. But my minor opinions do not at all limit how amazing this book is. In fact, I have reread this book quite a lot. There are so many pros I could quickly type, but the most important would be character substance and developement. You find yourself quickly feeling for the characters and rooting for your favorites. Danica (Who's POV you're reading in) is a great character and heroin in this story and is the perfect POV to read in during this point in the stories history. (Try reading the sequel). But my favorite is Zane, because his emotion is written in the most realistic and raw way.  All in all, a great read that (even with a 4) is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The kiesha'ra series is and always will be one of my most favorite series of all time. I abosolutely fell in love with the characters and their world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unexpected and rich with strongly developed characters that are not to be forgotten.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite in the series. That and Snakecharm actually. Writing was really good as the two character Zane and Danica. Thought at first, on the cover Danica looked like Claire Danes. Good cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love. Best books ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is the firs book since the Twilight series that I couldn't put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I thought that the book was boring because it started off slow. Then it picked up the pace a little. It then became an "Oh my God!Whats gonna happen next! I need to know NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it over a million times! Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amelia is a great author she is the reason i started reading in the first place and this is another wonderful creation and is beautifully written
Svalentin More than 1 year ago
I've read this book many, many times and I have yet to get tired of it. The characters are compelling, the storyline is wonderful, it took hold of my heart immediately. I've read the entire series, and unlike others that are surrounded around relationships and a love triangle, this series also includes an incredible world that is at war and you discover more about it and its history as you read on. Hawksong is one of those books that will draw you in from the first page and will never leave your heart.