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Teen review: Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

My name’s Leo. I’m a ninth grader at Pittsburgh Obama Academy 6-12 (Also known as IB High and formerly Schenley). I’m a gender-queer, lesbian, mentally ill writer. I’ll be reviewing books, with occasional graphic novels and music — I mostly read fantasy and horror, and listen to various forms of rock.

Hawksong, Book One of the Keisha’ra, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

With the death of her final sibling at the hands of the serpiente, Danica Shardae becomes the heir to the avian race of shapeshifters’ throne. Her people have been at war with the serpiente as long as anyone can remember, and peace is a hopeless dream.

But her soldiers are planning a reckless – even suicidal – assault on the serpiente the day after Danica will take the throne. Can she avoid disaster for her people in three days’ time?

There aren’t a lot of authors who can pull off this type of novel, with its loads of made up words and trashy romance novel plot (the details of which are a spoiler, but I’ll just say that it is a romance) but Atwater-Rhodes is one of them.

The details of the world she’s created are incredible, and the series only gets better. The first one is a solid read, with a good plot and believable characters. The romance does fall prey somewhat to the bad boy stereotype, but it’s quickly defeated with further detail.

If you like fantasy and detailed culture, I’d suggest this series. There is a tone shift somewhere around the third book of the series, into a story more laden with prophecies and fate, but the quality continues to rise.


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