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Wyvernhail: The Kiesha'ra    by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes order for
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I enjoyed Wyvernhail, I felt that I was missing a lot of nuances by not having read the previous four volumes in The Kiesha'ra shapechangers series. Before opening Wyvernhail, I recommend going back to the beginning and reading Hawksong, Snakecharm, Falcondance and Wolfcry first.

As in previous episodes, the story focuses on an outsider and on romance with serious obstacles to overcome. The protagonist of this episode is Hai, daughter of serpiente prince Anjay Cobriana (once heir to the cobra throne) and of powerful falcon Darien who's sworn to the Empress Cjarsa. Hai was 'raised a mongrel in the beautiful white land of Ahnmik', only the Empress herself showing her kindness. Hai suffered greatly at the onset of her magic, won her wings and later lost them in a tragedy that sent her into the void. Royal falcon Nicias Silvermead extracted her and now she lives at Wyvern's Court, kept at a distance by the avian and serpiente royal family and befriended by falcon exiles who have ambitions for her that Hai does not share.

The story opens to the news that Hai's cousin, Oliza Shardae Cobriana, has just abdicated the throne of Wyvern's Court to be with her wolf lover, and that the new king will be Salem Cobriana, guarded by Nicias. Hai is troubled by regular visions of Salem's death in her arms, of disaster for Wyvern's Court, and of a red-eyed child who will bring that destruction. Nicias frequently checks on her and expresses concern for her wellbeing, but she wonders whether he returns her feelings for him. Eventually, Nicias's strong sense of duty comes in conflict with Hai's absolute determination to prevent the terrible future that she has foreseen. Hai is given unexpected choices and picks freedom.

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