Shard is a gryfon in danger. He and other young males of the Silver Isles are old enough to fly, hunt, and fight–old enough to be threats to their ruler, the red gryfon king.
In the midst of the dangerous initiation hunt, Shard takes the unexpected advice of a strange she-wolf who seeks him out, and hints that Shard’s past isn’t all that it seems. To learn his past, Shard must abandon the future he wants and make allies of those the gryfons call enemies.
When the gryfon king declares open war on the wolves, it throws Shard’s past and uncertain future into the turmoil between.
Now with battle lines drawn, Shard must decide whether to fight beside his king . . .or against him.
Fantasy fiction, YA, I suppose? It’s hard to put an age slice on non-human characters. It’s clean, anyway.
I’d heard about this book when an artist I follow on deviantArt did the cover art for it. (Note the gorgeous cover art, by the way.) I heard about it again when the author held a kickstarter campaign to raise money for the publication costs. So when the ebook was offered for free on Amazon, I grabbed it out of sheer curiosity.
I wasn’t expecting it to be as well written, or as good of a story as it turned out to be. Within the first chapter I was immersed in the gryfon world. Shard is a likeable protagonist, a little falcon griffin among the big, conquering eagle griffins. Actually, I kept thinking of the Lion King. Except if Simba was forced to serve Scar without knowing his true parentage.
Also, the wolves are great. They have a distinct Native American feel, and the main wolf wears feathers twisted in her fur. The wolves and gryfons are enemies, of course, except they weren’t always. That’s part of the Coming of Age story Shard works through.
Another thing I enjoyed were the gryfon’s words for things. East and west are dawnward and nightward. Lightning is skyfire.
Also, the author’s love for these characters, the setting, and the story really shines through. I don’t read a lot of books that the author is passionate about. Harry Potter, maybe, where the characters and setting leap off the page, because the author loved it so much. The only place I see writing with that kind of passion behind it is fanfiction. So to see it in a published book was a real joy.
Really, my only complaint with the book was it’s the first of a series, and the ending didn’t wrap up all the loose ends. And that’s hardly a complaint, because I’d happily get the rest of the books. I mean, it’s been alluded that the eagle griffins robbed dragons and got chased away for it. I wanna see dragons!
So if you’re in the market for some good animal fiction a la Watership Down, pick up The Song of the Summer King and give it a shot. It’s refreshingly original.