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Wolfcry: The Kiesha'ra Volume 4    by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes order for
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Wolfcry is the continuing story of the Kiesha'ra shapeshifters, and of princess Oliza Shardae Cobriana of Wyvern Court. Oliza inherited four forms - 'a hawk as pure and golden as any avian queen who soared above land ... a black cobra, like every heir to the serpiente royal house ... and a blend of all her traits - a human body with wings the color of sunset, scales black as night, garnet eyes, a hawk's vision and a cobra's poison'. An additional form is that of a wyvern - 'a perfect blend of serpent and avian ... with ruffled feathers at its hood, spreading into wings that can drive me through the air faster than any hawk'.

Oliza's choice of a mate is anxiously awaited, and she must choose wisely. Even though the Court has been at peace for twenty years, much hatred remains amongst northern avians, and southern serpiente. In addition, external guilds threaten Wyvern Court, and Oliza herself. Serpiente dancer Urban and avian Marcus are hopeful suitors. Oliza despairs when she finds Urban brutally beaten in avian land, asking herself, 'How can I be expected to lead a unified society if her people still cannot live peacefully together?' Before Oliza can attempt to mend the incident, she is abducted by lion mercenaries, and her wings clipped. But she manages to escape and awakens in snow-covered woods, a wolf standing watch.

Her silent rescuer is Betia, a feral shapeshifter ('she had spent too much time in animal form, and the human characteristics have eroded, along with the memory of her original form'). Betia leads her to the home of the Frektane, a wolf tribe. When Oliza returns to Wyvern Court, Betia guides her, protecting her from harm. Back at Court, Urban is recuperating, his attackers arrested. Oliza learns that someone at Court might be of assistance in regaining her wings - cousin Hia is a detached, angry, grounded falcon, from the 'land of the Empress Cjarsa'. Also, Oliza has a vision of a future where she meets a child with magic beyond any in existence. The child in the dream is hers! Oliza hears Hai's voice: 'You are about to do something that changes everything' - and her decision is made.

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has written another intriguing progression of her tale of Kiesha'ra shapeshifters, introducing new elements and answering some questions from preceding books (Falcondance, Snakecharm, and Hawksong), while introducing new ones. She has not laid out an easy path for Oliza, with complex issues left open for the fifth episode.

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