Hawksong by writer Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is a striking example of young authorship’s creativity a insight in a way that is more complicated than wisdom and skill beyond age but rather a type of insight in narrative that can be fantastical in the strengthened creative vein of youth while simultaneously being able to see life at its most simple levels. What is thereby created is a world of beautiful fantastic artistry held well within a reality that is easily accessible to the reader. She creates a world of fantasy that bends it magical qualities and allows you to experience the story on a very human level. It’s that type of thing that has made J.K Rowlings so successful and the same thing that makes Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Studios films so successful. Giving you a taste of grand imagination that you feel no need to question because the elements of humanity within the story make you mind feel right at home in their imagined realities. And what makes this so impressive is that she was able to hone this skill at no later than the age of nineteen. She was able to temper the wild imagination of youth and form it into a story that feels all so real because of the intense humanity held within the narrative of the story.
Hawksong is the first book in a series of books in The Kiesha’ra Series. I haven’t read the other books yet but after reading this one I certainly intent to. I really enjoy the narrative and I also enjoy the style in which Atwater-Rhodes writes. The narrative follows the course of negotiations to stop an ancient way between the Serpient, a kingdom of shape-shifters whose second form is that of a snake and the Avians who can transform into birds as their second form. There are other forms of shape-shifters as well and regular humans but they play little part in this book. If you haven’t learned by now, I talk about what I like about books and do my best to stay away from spoilers so I won’t divulge too much of the plot. The negotiations which are brokered by another very powerful kingdom leaves the two young leaders of the Serpient and the Avians with a very odd proposition as to how best to end this war. The two leaders are war weary and broken hearted from the endless and now senseless violence that is perpetuated between their two kingdoms and being young, idealistic and passionate they agree to the idea for a lasting peace proposed by the head of the brokering nation during the negotiations.
I will tell you that if you are a student of history or an avid reader then the proposition will not be particularly surprising. It’s a very old way of maintaining peace between nations. Probably as old as the first warring groups of humans. What is spectacular however is the poise and insight with which the author delivers the narrative. The story is fair and honest to human thoughts and emotions. Something that I think the authors youth had a vital role in creating. Young people have a propensity for stripping reality down to the bare minimum, making the most ardent scholar or the most seasoned thinker look like an absolute idiot. Atwater-Rhodes uses that to fathom deeply thoughtful interaction between her characters and their kingdoms. Because of that, the reader falls headlong into the story, to wit they find themselves lost in something between historical fiction and a slice of life type narrative that just happens to be about a magical world with royals and palace guards as the main characters.
I loved this book and have already ordered the next book in the series.