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(The Kiesha'ra #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  21,000 ratings  ·  949 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 243 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Laurel Leaf (first published July 8th 2003)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,000 ratings  ·  949 reviews

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Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of YA fantasy with arranged marriages
Although Atwater-Rhodes has garnered much-deserved attention from critics and received several awards for her young adult stories, here on GR and on several other book-reviewing websites, her positive feedback has been moderate at best. I believe this is partially because of the age of most of her stories/series: most of them began before the Twilight era swept the world, and thus don't have the swooning heroines and brooding heroes that everyone has become accustomed to in more recent years. (T ...more
All right, what do we have here?

A conundrum, of course.

My mind kept oscillating between 3.5 or 4 stars and I'm choosing neither. This book is actually very difficult to rate! The reasons?

1) It has a splendid story line.
Who doesn't love shape - shifters with a history? I simply love history and ancient stories and this book had quite a lot of them. But I was so disappointed because the execution of this splendid story line sucked. A lot.

This story is about two warring sides who try their best to
Rachel E. Carter
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-paperback
Read back in middle school & decided to finally write my review. I still love this book to this day. Amelia was a 16-year old prodigy when her first book got published and I enjoyed her take on vampires far more than Stephanie Myers's. This book doesn't have vampires but it had shape shifters & one of my favorite tropes done right: arranged marriage between enemies. It's a very sweet read & I look back on it fondly, this was my favorite of the series! ...more
Ever since I've arrived at GoodReads, I've wanted to write a review for this book. It deserves a review. But every time I tried, the proper words wouldn't come, and so I just stuck with a completely insufficient paragraph outlining my thoughts in a nutshell. But I'm going to try again, and this time, I'm going to get it right, damnit! So, here goes:

Hawksong is vastly unique and different from most of YA. Its set long in our past (and the past of the Den of Shadows world), and it focuses entirely
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction, fantasy
It’s been a while since I read YA. I’m so glad my friend recommended this one!

Hawksong tells the story of Danica, a shapeshifter who takes the second form of a hawk, and her efforts to end an ancient war between her people and the snake shapeshifters known as the serpiente.

The story is well-crafted, the world building is original and enthralling, and the characters are delightfully mature and capable of growth. Excellent work!
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: swoooon
Hawksong is possibly one of the most under-rated fantasy novels I've come across. In fact, this book simply seems to fall under everyone's radar - much to their own loss, I must say. Atwater-Rhodes is a brilliant writer, creating a world rich in lore, myth, and tradition. Danica, the queen of her hawk people, and Zane, the king of the cobras, are shapeshifters who marry to end the centuries-old feud between their people. Both Danica and Zane are tired of war, but their marriage will prove more d ...more
Minni Mouse
Ah-ha! Finally! An answer to my tireless search for the next Warprize-arranged-marriage-between-two-feuding-clans story! I've skimmed lots of trashy books in order to get to where I am today and lemme tell ya - it is no easy feat trying to find a good action/romance/medieval fantasy story that doesn't feature bodice-ripping and quivering members within the first few pages.

We have two main groups of humans/shapeshifters: Hawks and Serpents. Avians can fly and are more dangerous with thei
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal
I rarely read YA novels, but I had this series in mi TBR pile for a long time and I decided to give it a try. Nor do I ovely like a fist person narrative...but...
Oh, boy, was it good!
Really, I wouldn't classify this as YA... it has a "flavour" of a classical fantasy.
The language was almost lirical and the story very interesting: how could two races, which hate each other and are natural enemies, forge peace? Marrying the heirs, of course! It is not a marriage arranged by the parents but by the
Lauren Elizabeth
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ALL FANTASY LOVERS
Recommended to Lauren Elizabeth by: Rachel E. Carter
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU sooooo much Rachel for the recommendation!
Tricia Levenseller
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-fantasy
I loved the idea behind this book. Snake people vs bird people? Yes, please! And the character interactions were pretty sweet.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this one.

Hawksong is one of the most underrated fantasy novels, centered on shapeshifters of avian and serpent varieties. This book was published before the Twilight era so thankfully escaped the trope of swooning heroines and brooding heroes.

There are two rival clans who are always at war with each other, so to bring peace and call truce one and for all, the avian heir agrees to an arranged marriage with the serpent royalty. Now, that plot may sounds simple enough, but the act
Linda Suzane
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is only 21 and has already published seven books. Her first book IN THE FOREST OF THE NIGHT was written when she was only 13. Every one of her books is a treat. Though marketed as Young Adult, there is nothing childish about subject matter or the writing. The lyrical quality and maturity of her writing belies her age or lack of experience.

HAWKSONG is the start of a series about shapeshifters. Dancia is an avian shapeshifter, heir to the throne, whose people are at war with
Hawksong is a book that's focused on the theme of peace, even when there are differences between two populations. It's about two different "kingdoms" that are currently in a war that has lasted for as long as their history books go back. But, with the two newest rulers, they find peace and realize they are not so different. They're scared of each other, but they have nothing to be afraid of. ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy
Easily one of the greatest books I've ever come across. Zane and Danica are the product of an imagination so complete and powerful, it will move you and never put you back. I've literally had an epiphany after reading this book, and my entire life is practically redefined. Alright, maybe I put it overly dramatically, but the importance of this book is certainly real and I suggest everyone pick it up. IMMEDIATELY.
I should like to analyse all the characters, if you don't mind:
Danica Shardae (what
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
so.. this was like destiny... I've been wanting to read this for awhile but it's not available to download to Kindle. Went to Barnes & Noble specifically to look for a few of those 'non-kindle' books yesterday... (yes the library would make more sense but whatever).. couldn't find it anywhere. Then, in the completely WRONG section there was a small paperback on the shelf in the wrong direction (someone had obviously misplaced it there)... I moved the book just to see what was behind it and *poof ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Reread as part of my ongoing shelf audit. Verdict: I bought the ebook bundle to replace my paper copy so that's... progress in physical space, at least.


This book is... mmm. It's a lot. I have a lot of feelings. I was obsessed with the Kiesha'ra series in middle school; I thought it was the best, most romantic, most compelling thing ever. It's really weird to reread it over a decade later, because I found myself remembering the visceral preteen emotions I associate it
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adrian Fridge
I'm so torn. While I admire the author and her storytelling ability, I also feel this book lacked in so many ways.

Danica is a strong character who chooses duty over love, and she is willing to sacrifice anything to stop the war that's taken so much of her family away. This includes marrying the prince of the warring side, Zane. There's a lot of good build-up with creating peace and growing their relationship, but the ending is so abrupt! I didn't feel the love, and it's sad I couldn't feel the l
I had high hopes for this book: there is so much potential in the world and story outlined by the summary. Instead, all I got was the typical story of "forbidden love". *yawn*

The world imagined by the author is definitely colorful, but I feel it's unreasonable (unrealistic). For example, if the leaders of both parties in the war feel that they don't want the war, then how the earth did they manage to drag it out for hundreds of years? Also, no leaders in any war ever believe their own propaganda
This was partially beautiful but sadly too short.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it

Insanely ahead of its time
The Just sayin....

This book was a book I couldn't put down and read within 24 hours.

I really enjoyed the world building, shape shifters. I loved the sworn enemies. I loved the main character Danica.

Danica was awesome because she is more "human" than the rest of her Hawk clan, but has been raised to conceal and control any and all emotions. I liked how she allowed those emotions to slip with her friend Rei. I loved that her character was slow to melt toward the Serpentine clan. I
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, sf, 2019
I read one of these books as a child [in middle school? I think?] despite the fact that I held a deep-seated prejudice against anyone named Amelia. It wasn't this one, though. It was the one that was gay, and I think that was part of why I liked it so much. Also, it sort of subverted all the tropes that this book plays into. Which isn't at all to say this was a bad book, because it isn't. For what it is: an arranged marriage ya fantasy book that's well written and has interesting characters and ...more
Jessica {Litnoob}
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm really shocked by how much I liked this book. The story was pretty straight forward, two warring races want peace, they have been fighting so long they live on hate without reason for these battles. The solution? A marriage pledging both leaders to one another and one another people. I thought it was really engaging and endearing and there was no rush in the trust building here. The allowance of need was very evident and events unfolded from there. I was expecting ultimate cheese but I'm hap ...more
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Young fantasy fans
This is a compressed review of four of the five books in the Kiesha'ra series (I never could find Snakecharm), so just be warned.

The first book in this series was really good. I loved the ideas involved in this book. I loved that people could change into birds and snakes (I've always thought that would be a really cool superpower). I loved that, even though their people had been warring for centuries, the leaders of each nation were willing to leave everything they knew in order to bring peace t
Emily Eastman
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a great and quick book! This book was amazing! Some reasons I liked this book are the characters were great, the plot kept you always excited, and it was clean!

First the character in this book were phenominal! Zane the mysterious cobra keeps you on the edge of your seat for half of the book. Is he sincere? Does he love her? Is he planing something? Zane reminds me a lot of Peeta from the Hunger Games. At first he's all show for the cameras, trying to put on the charade that he's in love w
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When people ask me what my favorite book is my mind immediately goes to this title.

A rich, well-written and UNIQUE fantasy that absolutely captivates you. I don't know what else to say except that I loved, love it, and will love it forever and ever.

The world Atwater-Rhodes creates is full of rich history and an understanding that shows true depth from the author. The main character is strong and beautiful. And the romance is raw and real.

I could give it no less then 5/5 stars, and if it was poss
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hawksong may look like a short book, but there is certainly nothing simple about it. I liked it best out of the series, but the others still captured my attention.

One hawk-shapeshifter, heiress to an avian race. One cobra-shapeshifter, prince of the serpents. One cool and aloof, the other sensual and sensitive. Both of them sick of the endless war between their people. Both willing to do anything to end it...even when it means becoming pair-bonded with each other.

Danica and Zane's emotional and
Mar 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
What do we have here? What a puny plot. Unoriginal, boring, how shameful...

People, what's the 4star+? How many sovereigns married people they didn't know before "I do"? And just in case you're quibbling about the "possible murderous" factor just consider dear old Henri VIII... Come one, look at this face


She has it way easier.
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Patton Book Club: Book review #2 1 6 Nov 03, 2017 12:56PM  
Alera: Hawksong 2 19 Oct 13, 2012 05:37AM  
WHY isn't there a movie? 16 149 Dec 31, 2011 08:00PM  

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I grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, where I matriculated through the public Concord-Carlisle school district from kindergarten until my graduation in 2001. The best part of school, from fifth grade until the year I graduated, was definitely chorus. I love music, and I love to sing, and though I never had the courage or the talent to participate in any of the high school plays as a performer, I en ...more

Other books in the series

The Kiesha'ra (5 books)
  • Snakecharm (The Kiesha'ra, #2)
  • Falcondance (The Kiesha'ra, #3)
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40 likes · 3 comments
“I lifted my face to meet the kiss, wanting the comfort of his touch as much as I was willing to provide the comfort of mine. The contact was sweet and soft, yet at the same time desperate.

It was Zane who pulled away first. "Danica, I think..." He trailed off and kissed me again, this time briefly, just the barest touch of lips to lips. "I love you."

From a man who frequently uttered eloquent speeches, the tentative declaration was not the most flattering of compliments-especially when every movement he made and look he cast my way had shown the long truth before now.

But coming from the serpent who had once informed me that he did not love me and did not think he ever could, whose cool, polished words could cut to the bone and freeze the Earth's frozen molten blood — whose eyes right now were just a bid dazed, and whose expression was as open and startled as I had ever seen it — the words were more than enough.

"I know," I answered. Then, soft but certain, I answered, "I love you too."

His smile matched mine and said the same as mine: I know.”
“I ask for trust. It is a lot, I know; it isn't easy to give. But it is all I ask.” 111 likes
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