The Madronians conquered the R'tan and now force them to live by Madronian customs. In the Madronian culture, first born females are considered worthless garbage. The only way a first born R'tan girl can survive is if her father declares her male. Tiadone is a first born girl, declared male at birth. She has been raised as a male and now must face the male initiation: bonding with her Rapion, a large bird, and becoming a boarder patroller.
Although successfully passing her tests, Tiadone has female feelings that she struggles to hide including sexual feeling for her best friend and partner, Ratho. The only one who seems to understand her and accept her completely is her Rapion, Mirko.
The book is a fascinating presentation of gender identity issues. Set in an ancient culture, it raises issues of how women find their identity and accept their unique qualities in a male dominated culture.
I thought the author created a very believable world quite different from the present day. It's fascinating to read about the rites performed by thisprimitive people. My favorite was the twining that takes place between the human and the Rapion.
Unfortunately, the book is rather slow. Tiadone goes on patrol with Rathko and has adventures, but it has a sameness that gets rather boring. The characters are interesting, but didn't really draw me. While I like the book and found the topic interesting, I had trouble staying interested. I recommend this book if you enjoy reading about unusual worlds.
I reviewed this book for Book Look Bloggers.