198 pages (hardcover)
This is the fourth book in the Keisha'ra series; the others (Hawksong, Snakecharm, and Falcondance) were all better, in my opinion. Sadly, Wyvernhail doesn't look much good either, but I'll read it anyway for the sake of finishing. This particular book focuses on Oliza, the wyvern daughter of Danica (Tuuli Thea, ruler of the avian) and Zane (Diente, ruler of the serpiente). Her parents' marriage has ended a centuries-long war between their two peoples, allowing Wyvern Court to form--but not to truly flourish. The reserved avian and the fun-loving, casual serpiente are absolute opposites; their cultures are irreconciliable. Oliza, gifted with a partially dormant magic for seeing the future, is horrified by the futures ahead and takes steps to change everything.
I wanted to like this. Really, I did. I adore the Keisha'ra world, and I loved Hawksong to pieces. But Oliza's voice is unnaturally stiff--all of Atwater-Rhodes's books are written in first person--and her relationship with Betia, which is a major subplot, felt underdeveloped and too summarized. Betia's milestones--her first word, her first sentence--aren't earned and while Oliza expresses her feelings, they don't feel real to the reader (or at least not to me). Velyo is a flat, static antagonist who is defeated rather easily, and Oliza's ultimate sacrifice definitely seems too easy.
But some things I do like: worldbuilding, mainly. I love how minor characters are brought back and other groups in the society reoccur. For instance, in Snakecharm the white viper Adelina plays a huge role; here, Oliza lives for a while with the white viper guild and mention is made to the only two vipers who ever joined serpiente society. In general, I liked the minor characters more than the major characters. I never really connected with Oliza, so I didn't feel what she felt and all the important revelations had no meaning. I guess what I'd like to see from Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, an author I admire immensely (for more reasons than one), is exploring the avian and serpiente cultures more closely--like pair bonds, which are arranged marriages that seem to work out well enough.
And for shallow observations, the cover sucks compared to the previous three.