Tasked with protecting the last remaining members of the royal line—four small children—Hawkwind must find a new place for all of them in a hostile world.
The greatest strength of this story is the departure from the human hero. There are only four humans in the story—all of them children—and they are interesting as supporting characters, but the real action centers around the griffins, and we gain much insight (perhaps a little too much) into griffin society through the eyes of Hawkwind, who is herself a stranger to many of their customs. The griffins truly identify as birds, and they have all the mannerisms that come along with it, frequently preening themselves and each other, and covering each other with their wings in order to comfort one another. All in all, the author’s attempt at capturing the feel of being a griffin is a complete success.
While somewhat essential to the storyline, there is much dialogue and description surrounding the mating habits of the griffins. There is much admonition of pair-bonding in favor of spreading it around, to the point that those wishing to pair for life are generally ostracized from griffin society. On a related note, I personally learned more about griffin sex than I ever cared to know. There is nothing vulgar or explicit about the interactions within the story, but they are revisited frequently enough that I had to brace myself for more talk of “chick-pains”, the griffin word for an orgasm that has a high chance of conceiving a chick.
(Oh, why did I write this paragraph?)
It’s an exciting tale with a unique perspective, but perhaps what I love most is that the story builds anticipation for the future of the human children. Will the princess regain her kingdom? Will her brothers become great warriors or wizards? Will humans and griffins ever live side-by-side again, as they did in Northnest before the attack? I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment. Pick this up if you are looking for a fantasy tale a little different from the norm--or if you ever wondered about griffin chick-pains.