Cels Reviews: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes—"The Shapeshifters"

The Shapeshifters is the complete collection of all five novels in the Kiesha’ra series and, at nearly 1000 pages, can seem a scary undertaking. But it’s well worth the effort. This is a saga of breaking old prejudices and the sacrifice two young rulers who have suffered war and loss make to bring peace and unity to their people (the Avians and the Serpiente). Although this is, at heart, a love story, there is also plenty of magic, lore, myth and legend, intermingled with hate, distrust and the long journey to break millenia-old stereotypes.
The characters are all a delight to get to know: the Avains, with their cool detachment, the colourful and vibrantly fierce and loyal Serpiente, and the superior (and at times, quite frankly, frightening) Falcons. And the vivid, separate personalities among the factions almost give you the impression that you have met them in the flesh. The exploration of the history and sorting truth from myth will be a great treat for fantasy fans.

Though each of the novels centres on a different main character, and stands alone in its own right, they all flow together nicely as a series. For me, the only drawback was the use of the old language; although it was translated, I did find it confusing and, at times, distracting. All in all, though, The Shapeshifters is a wonderful, magical journey and is well worth the trip.

Book one, Hawksong, marks the beginning of our journey, with Danica and Zane trying to find a way to bring peace to their warring people and making a personal sacrifice to make peace a reality. The must shake off millennia-old prejudices and lead by example. But can it lead to love?

Book two, Snakecharm, has Zane picking up the storytelling, as he and Danica anxiously await the birth of their child; but, when the Falcon, Syfka, turns up, stirring up dormant feelings of distrust among the two kingdoms and searching for a runaway criminal, Danica and Zane desperately try to hold on to the newfound peace.

Book three, Falcondance, introduces us to Nicias, the son of royal soliders, and exiled Falcons Kel and Rei. Nicias finds himself being haunted by visions and dreams of The White City, his parent’s birthplace–a city of extreme beauty and extreme terror. He must also fight his feelings for Oliza, daughter of Zane and Danica, since this is a union that can never be.

Book four, Wolfcry, is the story of Oliza’s coming of age. As heir to both thrones, and being half Cobra, half Hawk, she is the first of her kind. Oliza must try to lead the people and keep them united, and the fragile peace in place; but is it possible to for one queen to lead both people, even if she is half of each?

In book five, Wyvernhail, we meet poor Hai, who is considered by most to be a mongrel. He is the daughter of a Falcon mother and the deceased former heir to the Cobra throne, Anjay (older brother to Zane). After her cousin Oliza abdicates the throne, Hai is tormented by terrible visions. Despite it all, she must help save her new home and face the possibility of being the new queen.

Amelia has two new novels to be released in 2011: Persistence of Memory and Token of Darkness.

The Shapeshifters – Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

January 12, 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Paperback, 968 Pages

  • ISBN-10: 0385739508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385739504

    • reading almost a thousand pages is indeed a monumental task but i happened to read a hefty one too one time and it was worth it. shapshifters sounds interesting especially when you mentioned magic, lore, myths, etc. the encyclopedic book i read had those elements as well. thanks for sharing!

    • Cels

      Tnanks aobibliophile it definitely is worth the effort you hardly seem to notice how big it is once you get into it, the pages just fly

    • Melissa May

      Sounds like the type of books i would enjoy .1ooo words not too much the Stephen King im reading now is 837 pages long so whats a few more i love epics.
      I will look them up in the book shop in my holidays at christmas .

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