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by Kenneth Oppel

Firewing is a first-rate sequel to Ken Oppel’s earlier award-winning novels, Silverwing and Sunwing. With a spring-tight plot, it propels the reader through exciting, chilling, and deliciously satisfying adventure. Oppel has created a new cast of bats, Griffin and Luna, to join the old favourites, Shade Silverwing and Marina Brightwing, and has developed Griffin as a character markedly different from Griffin’s father, Shade. Oppel has also created a unique Underworld, drawn in part from classical mythology, but distinctly his own. What makes the Underworld especially interesting is that instead of just one version of a bat-afterlife, Oppel portrays several different versions of the notion of life-after-death.

Griffin Silverwing meets real trouble when he gets sucked into the Underworld of the God of the Dead, Cama Zotz, during an earthquake. It doesn’t help that he’s the son of bat hero Shade and Marina; in the Underworld, he’s a helpless newborn who’s going to die if he can’t find a way back to the surface. While Griffin searches for a way out, his father, Shade, journeys into the Underworld determined to rescue his son. Meanwhile, Shade’s arch-enemy, Goth, desperately trying to regain the favour of Cama Zotz, is sent to kill Griffin and raise Zotz from the dead. Goth has Zotz’s help in tracking Griffin down but Shade will do almost anything, even sacrifice his own life, to see that his son survives.

Firewing is sure to delight fans of the previous books. They’ll overlook the book’s too-sentimental final scene and will be pleased that this story clearly sets up a sequel.