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Darkwing [Hardcover]

Kenneth Oppel
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 16 2007

Before there were bats like Shade, Marina or even Goth, there was a young chiropter—a small arboreal glider—named Dusk. . . .

It is 65 million years ago, during a cataclysmic moment in the earth’s evolution, and Dusk, just months old, has no way of knowing he will play a pivotal role in creating a new world. What he does know is that he is different from the other newborn chiropters. Not content to use his large sails to glide down from the giant sequoia tree, Dusk discovers that if he flaps quickly enough, he can fly. But this strange gift that makes him feel like an outcast from the colony will also make him its saviour. After most of the colony is savagely massacred by the felids—the earth’s first mammalian carnivores—Dusk must lead his fellow chiropters to a new home, and a new life.

Against a tableau of disappearing dinosaurs and the ascent of the mammal kingdom, Oppel has created an adventure fantasy that sets the stage for the birth of the bats, the story of the forebears of Shade, the beloved hero of the Silverwing series. As with all Silverwing books, it is impossible to simply read Oppel’s Darkwing; each of us enters a world of convincing characters, warring theologies, incredible natural history and a story that roars through head, heart and imagination. A tale that can be read as a stand- lone or as a prequel, Darkwing will be a welcome new classic for the millions of Kenneth Oppel fans.


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From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—The story of Darkwing is set 65 million years ago, during the early Paleocene era just years after the enormous C-T dieback event. Dusk and his family are chiropters, small arboreal mammals that glide and feed on insects. Changes are coming to their world, and not the least of them are Dusk's abilities of flight and echolocation. Although his family stands by him, most of the colony is very uncomfortable with his flying, fearing reprisal from the birds that live above them in the trees. All concerns about Dusk's oddities or their avian neighbors are swept aside when an outcast prowl of felids, led by the bloodthirsty Carnassial, attack the colony and Dusk's special abilities help to guide his fellows and keep them safe. During their search for a new home, his quick wits are all that stand between the colony and disaster. In their quest, the chiropters encounter deadly predators, from saurian holdouts to shrewlike soricids with poisonous saliva. Betrayals from both within the colony and without add to the excitement in this adventure. Readers will feel for Dusk as he decides repeatedly not to abandon his colony, despite their treatment of him. In Darkwing, Oppel offers a celebration of difference in addition to a wonderful imagining of a pivotal moment in evolution. An author's note highlights some of the actual fossil species that appear. One cautionary note—the descriptions of animals eating each other may be disturbing to sensitive readers.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In his Silverwing series Oppel spun a contemporary fantasy about the world of bats. In this ambitious new stand-alone fantasy, he turns the clock back 65 million years to imagine the world of the bats' earliest ancestors, which he calls "chiropters." These tree-dwelling creatures are flightless, using their wings (which they call "sails") to glide through the air, from tree to tree. Only Dusk, youngest son of the colony's leader, has made an evolutionary leap; not only can he fly, he can also see at night, using echo vision. Predictably, the others regard him as a mutant to be shunned—all but his father, who wisely considers his son's differences as gifts. Dusk's real nemesis, however, is a beast (a "felid") called Carnassial, who is the first of his kind to be carnivorous and, like Dusk, is shunned by his own. Clearly the world is poised on the brink of remarkable change, and the future belongs to these two. Oppel writes with keen insight and empathy about the condition of being "other" in the context of a richly plotted, fast-paced story that—though sometimes too heavily anthropomorphized—is captivating reading from beginning to end. Cart, Michael

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew bats could be so charming! Aug. 31 2007
Format:Hardcover
Both my sixteen-year-old daughter and I read Darkwing and we loved it! It is a wonderful expansion of the Silverwing saga. Kenneth Oppel has created another world through the eyes of bats and this fantasy has a marvellous twist on the history of the creatures. We really were rooting for the misfit Dusk and his spunky sister Sylph as they journeyed through many treacherous places during their search for a new home. It kept us captivated as they fought off one danger after another. I had to wrestle the book away from my son in order to read it and I am very glad I did. We would recommend it to people of all ages!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended Sept. 7 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was great! My son couldn't put it down towards the end!!! And he says he doesn't like to read!
Thanks Kenneth Oppel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! May 27 2013
By CCRama
Format:Library Binding|Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Starts before the known "bat" and explores forward through yet another amazing journey. This author is so insightful. I loved this series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Prequel Sept. 14 2007
By Steven R. McEvoy HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book can either be seen as a first book in a new series or as the 4th in an old series, written as a prequel. If it is a prequel it might be a record-breaker for time span. For Darkwing is a book set 65 million years ago. It is the story of a bat named Dusk, who does not know that he is a bat. He was born of a species named chriopter, and son of the Colony's leader Icaron. However Dusk is different - his sails(wings) are furless, his coloring is darker, and he is stronger in the shoulders and chest than other chriopters.

The story is set in the animal world in a time when the dinosaurs were in the process of dying off, and most other species were becoming overpopulated. Thus, nature, in an attempt to balance the ecosystem, was allowing to emerge, new breads of predators.

Oppel writes amazing books, as is evident by his numerous awards and nominations. His accolades include over a million copies of the Silverwing trilogy, The Governor General's Award, a Michael L. Printz Honor book, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award and many others. He has accumulated book awards both at home in Canada and across the pond in the UK.

In Oppel's writings, he crafts his words and draws you into the world in ways you have never seen or imagined. Silverwing, written from a bat's perspective, is written without using any color - all the descriptions are in black, white, silvers and grays, as seen from the bat's perspective. In the same way, this book told from multiple first person perspectives, helps you see a prehistoric world from the animal's eye, whether it is the bat or Miacas.
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