I can't gush about this series enough. I absolutely love Kelley Armstrong's writing on this. My son and I read this one, and he reviewed them both for our public library! It is kinda obvious the main characters are waaaay older than the 12 tender years they're supposed to be. More like 15 or 16, just with no obvious romance, which my 16-year-old son really appreciated. But even he said, "Mom, there's no way this is a 12-year-old." And I agree. It's definitely a lower young adult book.
This time, Rowan's facing challenges to her right to be the Royal Monster Hunter. It starts with the pregnant gryphon's pending birth. When she interrupts a planned euthanasia of the gryphon mother and baby, and is only able to save the baby, an older girl, next-in-line to the throne after Rhydd, Rowan's brother, challenges Rowan, saying she's not fit to be the Monster Hunter because she's not slaying these creatures, which will surely threaten their subjects later on.
But now Rowan's got a baby gryphon that imprinted on her as its mother, and Tiera is growing fast. Tiera defends Rowan, breaking the challenger's arm in her beak, and .... that's it. Tiera has to go. Rowan will see her off in a quest across the mountains for a gryphon aerie that hopefully will take Tiera in and not kill her right away for reeking of human scent.
Against this backdrop is a complicated relationship with Dain, who also wants to become a Monster Hunter, although not the Royal Monster Hunter obviously, and a young girl who wants to become a Monster Healer, kind a like a veterinarian, but not for farm animals or wild animals.
And Rowan's the obvious person for them both to accompany Rowan's quest. But she can only choose one.
This is a great read, perfect for post-holiday reading, sure to captivate any upper middle grade fantasy reader, and a few YA readers, as well.