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Snakecharm by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
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Snakecharm (2004)

by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Kiesha'ra Series (2)

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6261015,510 (3.84)1 / 16
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I finished this a month ago but didn't get around to reviewing it until now.

This is the second book in Atwater-Rhodes' Kiesha'ra series. The peace between the serpiente and the avians is still holding, at least until Danica is pronounced pregnant. Avian and serpiente cultures are very different. Will the baby be raised as an avian or as a serpiente? Will Zane and Danica's people be able to put up with a future leader who is half serpiente, half avian?

Further trouble arrives in the form of Syfka, a falcon. Syfka is looking for a falcon criminal, who is probably using falcon magic to hide amongst the serpiente or the avians. Although she demands that the criminal be found, she refuses to say anything about what the falcon might look like or what crime he or she committed. Among the falcons, simply cursing in the Empress's presence is considered a crime punishable by being tortured to death. Zane and Danica want Syfka gone but are worried they might send an innocent person (according to avian and serpiente laws) to their death. Unfortunately, the longer Syfka stays, the likelier it becomes that she'll learn of Danica's pregnancy. Falcons value children, but only if they are pure bloods.

I liked the first book in the series, Hawksong. Unfortunately, Snakecharm didn't work nearly as well for me. While I was interested in finding out the identity of the secret falcon and the crime he or she committed, there were so many things in this book that did not add up.

For example, falcon children were rare and therefore treasured. But only if they were pure-blooded – mixed-blood falcon children were killed. If falcon children were so rare, you'd think mixed-blood children would at least be acceptable, but maybe have lower status when they grew older. Two thirds of the way into the book, it was finally revealed that falcon hatred of mixed-blood children was not just another example of their bigotry, but rather a reaction to the fact that mixed-blood falcon children eventually go insane.

This revelation explained the falcons' attitudes towards mixed-blood children, but also opened up a whole new can of worms. Danica is an avian pregnant with a serpiente man's child - that makes their child mixed-blood. Avians and serpiente have never crossbred before. Even Danica's pregnancy is a new an unfamiliar thing, as her normally lower avian body temperature increases to accommodate her half-serpiente child (never mind that I'm not even sure this is possible – I would think she'd have a miscarriage instead). Why does no one wonder if Danica's child might end up just as insane as mixed-blood falcon children?

While Hawksong was written from Danica's perspective, Snakecharm was written from Zane's. This change didn't work for me. It was difficult to remember that I was reading Zane's thoughts and not Danica's, since their “voices” felt so similar. Also, it would have been nice to keep Zane's thought processes a mystery, since, as it turned out, he was not always the most intelligent of rulers. Danica and several others proposed perfectly workable solutions to the issue of how their child would be raised and who would rule the serpiente and the avians. All Zane wanted was his solution, that his child would be raised as a serpiente and rule over both the avians and the serpiente, despite the strong likelihood that this would destroy the still-fragile peace.

And, speaking of Zane's solution: I was incredibly uncomfortable with the way avian culture was presented as compared to serpiente culture. Zane never really sat down and examined his thoughts and prejudices, but it was clear enough that he believed being raised as an avian was horrible. He didn't make an effort to learn more about what being raised as an avian meant, both the good and the bad – it was just bad, period. Also, more often than not, the melding of avian and serpiente cultures meant “avians become more like the serpiente.” Sorry, that's not the melding of two different cultures, that's one culture dominating and swallowing up another culture.

I haven't decided yet if I'll continue on with this series.

Extras:

Once again, there are family trees at the beginning of the book. They're still not that great, but Erica's inclusion now makes more sense.

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Jul 12, 2014 |
As I've mentioned in [b:Hawksong|30334|Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra, #1)|Amelia Atwater-Rhodes|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255885493s/30334.jpg|2219294]'s review, these books, though a delightful read, left me wanting.

One thing I should add when it comes to [b:Snakecharm|30329|Snakecharm (The Kiesha'ra, #2)|Amelia Atwater-Rhodes|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275833073s/30329.jpg|4064] is how well the author dealt with how the "inter-species" (in a way) marriage worked and the difficulties that came from raising a child of two cultures. Most books tend to sweep these conflicts under the Happy Ever After rug, it's always a nice treat when an author does not shy from these issues. Granted, it's fantasy, but these are also issues prevalent in the real world and [b:Amelia Atwater-Rhodes|8766057|Amelia Atwater-Rhodes|Ingram Book Group|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nocover-60x80.jpg|13639462] did a very good job writing about them.

As happened in [b:Hawksong|30334|Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra, #1)|Amelia Atwater-Rhodes|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255885493s/30334.jpg|2219294], things felt a bit rushed. It's baffling, really, I would gladly give them a 4 or a 5 if only the author had not seemed in such a hurry to finish.

Still, recommended to anyone who likes political marriages between sworn enemies that end in love (which should be just about anyone who's into romance). ( )
  Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
I was charmed into reading this second installment of the Kiesha'ra series, drawn in by the promise of a unique arrangement of culture saving itself from war. I wasn't horribly unsatisfied with this book, but I did feel that it lacked a lot of what the first book had. That is bound to happen when you move from war-time into an era of peace, where people have mostly learned to get along, but I felt it maybe happened a little too quickly. The plot was rather predictable and I didn't feel as if the characters had as much substance as the first time around. There was most certainly a feeling of not needing to be as descriptive or eloquent because the first book covered all that. Short and maybe just a little sweet, that was Snakecharm in a nutshell. Not the best, but it didn't put me off finishing the series. ( )
  mirrani | Aug 4, 2013 |
Awesome companion novel to Hawksong. Enjoyed every minute of it, and can't wait for more! ( )
  Allizabeth | Jul 17, 2011 |
A terribly disappointing second installment of a series that seemed mediocre to begin with. This second book relegates the mysterious Zane to the role of narrator, which falls completely flat, and the romance between Zane and Danica simply doesn't exist anymore... even though they're newlywed teenagers.

The plot is dull and boring, there is absolutely no character development whatsoever, and the author took the easy way out in the ending by telling us how the problem was solved instead of showing the action/confrontation that we were expecting (and hoping for, as it would at least give some sense of satisfaction for slogging through the book).

Honestly, I'm not really sure why I kept reading this. About halfway through, I set the book down and planned to just give up, but I picked it up again... needless to say, I won't be reading the rest of this series, and I suspect it will be a long time before I try any of Atwater-Rhodes' work again.

That said, it has been 4 years since the publication of this book, and it's certainly possible that her work has matured during this time... but will I bother? I doubt it. ( )
3 vote dk_phoenix | Jan 20, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038573493X, Paperback)

ZANE COBRIANA, COBRA shapeshifter, thanks the gods every day for Danica, his hawk pair bond, and the peace their union has brought to the avian and serpiente. Soon, Danica will have a child to carry on their royal line. But what should be a happy time is riddled with doubt.

Syfka, an ancient falcon, has arrived from Ahnmik claiming that one of her people is hidden in their midst. The falcons are more powerful than the avians and serpiente combined, and Syfka shows nothing but contempt for Zane and Danica’s alliance. To Zane’s horror, his own people seem just as appalled as Syfka is by the thought of a mixed-blood child becoming heir to the throne. Is Syfka’s lost falcon just a ruse to stir up controversy among them? The truth lies somewhere in their tangled pasts—and the search will redefine Zane and Danica’s fragile future.

Praise for Hawksong:

“Atwater-Rhodes has created a stunning adventure that draws readers in and leaves them begging for more.”—School Library Journal, Starred

“Atwater-Rhodes takes a break from vampires to create two warring clans . . . [with] impressively complex cultures.”—Publishers Weekly

A VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List selection


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The peace forged by the love between Zane and Danica, leaders of the avian and serpiente realms that had been at war for generations, is threatened by the arrival of Syfka, an ancient falcon who claims one of her people is hidden in their midst. ZANE COBRIANA, COBRA shapeshifter, thanks the gods every day for Danica, his hawk pair bond, and the peace their union has brought to the avian and serpiente. Soon, Danica will have a child to carry on their royal line. But what should be a happy time is riddled with doubt. Syfka, an ancient falcon, has arrived from Ahnmik claiming that one of her people is hidden in their midst. The falcons are more powerful than the avians and serpiente combined, and Syfka shows nothing but contempt for Zane and Danica's alliance. To Zane's horror, his own people seem just as appalled as Syfka is by the thought of a mixed-blood child becoming heir to the throne. Is Syfka's lost falcon just a ruse to stir up controversy among them? The truth lies somewhere in their tangled pasts-and the search will redefine Zane and Danica's fragile future. Praise for Hawksong: "Atwater-Rhodes has created a stunning adventure that draws readers in and leaves them begging for more."… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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