Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra Series #1)

Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra Series #1)

by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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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, Danica will do anything in her power to stop the bloodshed–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. Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica–and all they ask of their people–but it may be more than she can give.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440238034
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/28/2004
Series: Kiesha'ra Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

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.

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; theyonly 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."

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Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 378 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
HEABookNerd 9 months ago
I first read Hawksong back in high school and it's stuck with me all these years as one of my favorite reads. I've always loved books about shifters but there's something unique and different about what Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has created. While the writing does have a very formal feel, it still pulled me in from the very beginning and I became invested in the peace these at war groups were seeking. Both Danica and Zane are willing to sacrifice everything to stop the killing and protect their people and this desire clearly comes through in their actions and words. It takes a while for Danica and Zane to learn to trust each other and begin to understand the other's culture. While the main characters are older, 19 to 20, this is still a young adult novel and the steam is very low. However, they still had great chemistry and the pace of their relationship made perfect sense considering they've been mortal enemies up to this point. Danica was the perfect mix of gentle and compassionate alongside strong and brave. She was born to lead her people but that doens't mean she isn't afraid she'll make mistakes. On the outside Danica's the perfect avian lady, reserved calm and always in control but on the inside you can tell she yearns for more. In contrast, the serpiente are loud, fiery, and passionate and Zane is no exception as their ruler. As a sweet and innocent 14 year old first reading Hawksong Zane was my first bad boy crush and he'll always hold that special spot in my heart. There's no doubt that Zane is an alpha male used to leading but he also wears his heart on his sleeve a lot of time. Zane might be quick to anger but he's also honorable, loyal, and genuine. I loved the edge of danger that Zane always had, even when he was trying to hide it behind his more charming side. Hawksong will always be one of my favorites that I find myself rereading over and over again. Danica and Zane's forbidden romance is filled with tension and slow burn that always keeps me engaged from the first page to the last.
jayde1599 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is first of the Kiesha'ra series of books about avian and serpiente shapeshifters. It follows Danica Shardae, heir to the avian throne. Danica is tired of the war her race has waged against the serpents for thousands of years. She longs for peace, but the only solution is to become a pair-bond with Zane Cobriana, the leader of the serpiente.This book was good, but not as great as I expected it to be. I really enjoyed Atwater-Rhodes Den of Shadows series. There is a lot of mythology in the book and the focus lies in the clash of the two races, rather than the characters and action.I finished the 2nd and I am reading the rest of the series now. It does get better, so I would recommend the book if you could obtain the omnibus versus just trying out the first book.
Lauren_W on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story. Two species are at war with each other, have almost annihilated one another in fact. For there to be peace a dangerous marriage is proposed. Zane and Danica must learn where their loyalties and their hearts lie before someone destroys the fragile peace their marriage has bought. I did notice the author heavily favor the Snake people in this book. I loved this book so much I made the horrible mistake of reading the others in the series. I read all of the author¿s books, expecting the same magic and intensity in them that I found in Hawksong. I was sadly disappointed. Luckily, Hawksong can stand alone, and it has the pride of place on my shelf.
rebachin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's interesting when you switch genres of literature, styles of writing, time periods... it feels like you are changing realities - like you are being subjected to the same culture shock as if you Bill and Ted stepping into the phone booth in sunny so-cal only to step out onto a stormy battlefield in France during one of Napoleon's campaigns.Sometimes that switch is not easy - sometimes I find myself struggling through the beginning of a book, like this one, for the simple reason that it is not the same (in any way) from the other book I am reading or the book I just finished. I spend the first few chapters thinking, Wait! this isn't morbidly funny like The Dust of 100 Dogs. It isn't eerily gothic like A Great and Terrible Beauty. It isn't Felicity-esque like Under the Rose. That initial struggle dissapates once I become invested in the characters and their own unique story, and whereas the following may sound strange considering the characeters are shapeshifters who spend equal amounts of time in a human form or an animal form, but, I think I rely heavily on the plausibility factor. I need something to believe in when I read - even in the most fantastical setting.All that to say, I didn't latch on to the story until a few chapters into it but I know that is not due to any inherant quality (or lack thereof) in the story but only due to the hiccup of switching genres so abruptly like I tend to do.Hawksong is a lovely story. I loved experiencing the difficulty the characters went through because they wanted to trust in something unknown and how they were scared to because it meant danger and sacrifice.
dk_phoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first in a series, and I received it from my SantaThing gift-giver¿ I¿d not heard of the author before, which was nice, and I sat down and read this one in an afternoon. (It¿s not long, so that¿s easy to do.)It was alright. I didn¿t love it, but I didn¿t dislike it, and it kept my interest for the duration of the novel. If I can find the sequels for a decent price at a used bookstore, I¿ll pick them up, but I can¿t see myself seeking them out by choice.The plot: The main character is an avian shapeshifter, and her worst enemy is a serpiente shapeshifter¿ but in order to stop the war between their people, they¿ll both have to make the ultimate sacrifice by agreeing to the worst possible alliance imaginable: marriage.The problem: The storyline is very linear, with little to no subplots. The description is minimal, and the characters are outrageously one-dimensional. I honestly didn¿t care what happened to any of them¿ and I found the change in Zane, the ¿bad guy¿, far too quick and inexplicable.The verdict: Pick it up at a used bookstore, but don¿t purchase it new.Ultimately, I¿m thrilled that I had the opportunity to read a new author that I probably would never have discovered on my own¿ and I realize that there are lot of people out there who absolutely adore this novel. Really, they love it wholeheartedly and will probably be disappointed at my thoughts on it¿ but I have to be honest, and it just didn¿t work for me. Who knows, maybe you¿ll love it!
Erika3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel, Hawksong, encompasses the theme that sometimes peace can only be achieved through sacrifice. In the beginning, Danica, the heir to the Tuuli Thea, like many of the other Avarians only knows of war with the Serpiente; she longs for peace between the two families and feels that as heir she should make peace with the Serpiente by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Zane the heir of the royal Serpiente family decides that he should call a meeting between the two royal families, so that they can try and reach a compromise. When the idea that Zane and Danica should marry comes up at the meeting, both sides quickly make it known that they do not wish for Zane and Danica to marry even if for the sake of peace. Throughout the middle of the novel, Zane and Danica meet up because they both agree that marriage may bring peace. However, they must face assassination attempts when they announce that they will become mates. By the end of the novel the people of both leaders have accepted that their leaders are together, Zane and Danica have fallen in love with each other, and the traitors behind that assassination attempts are caught. (243/243)
yourresidentvillain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love books that make me feel stuff. I felt the sadness of war, the desperate need for peace, the development of love, the aching need for comfort. This book made me feel so much that I almost lose my breathe every time I remember reading this.
Allizabeth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Completely enjoyed this book! My favorite of Amelia Atwater-Rhode's novels. The Avians and Serpientes were amazingly described and written about in a tale of love, sacrifice, and new beginnings. One might find this series too science fiction for their tastes, but I found it enthralling and completely mesmerizing!!!
jwhalen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As an avian shapeshifterhow far do you trust the shapshifter cobra even though you are trying to do the right thing?
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful fantasy of sacrifice and love.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is such an amazing book. The characters became so realistic to me, my heart actually beat faster during the more tense scenes. Very romantic but with a lot of action. It's one of the first books I ever went back just to read certain scenes from.
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.