As you can tell by my recent Kenneth Oppel onslaught, I pretty much had a weekend marathon of reading all of his bat books. I was mislead, however, to believe that Darkwing was somehow a continuation of the Silverwing series. It isn’t. In fact, as a stand-alone book I think it’s better.
It follows our strange protagonist, Dusk, in a nearly post-dinosaur world set sixty-five million years ago. He’s a chiropter (a small species of gliding mammal). But something about Dusk is different. Instead of the sail-like membranes his family uses to glide from tree to tree, he has stiff membranous… wings.
Rather than embracing Dusk’s differences, his colony is disgusted and suspicious. It’s only the fact that Dusk’s father is the colony’s leader that’s kept him alive so far. It doesn’t help that the birds are suspicious too and don’t take kindly to sharing the skies. When the colony is forced out of their home sequoia after a vicious attack by a new breed of carnivores, the chiropters must rely on Dusk’s unique abilities to help them find a new home.
But will that really be the key to acceptance?
This was a GREAT book. I was supremely interested in Oppel’s prehistoric world and all the strange creatures in it. They were all based on animals that existed during that period, and I enjoyed the fable-like quality of the story. I could totally see “How the Bat Got it’s Wings” or “The First Carnivore.” Awesome.
I was also really surprised to see some really great illustrations at the start of each chapter and scattered throughout the book. That really added something special. Plus, Dusk accidentally went “tripping” on psychedelic mushrooms–how funny is that?
But most importantly, it seems like the common theme in Oppel’s bat books are that it’s ok to be different. It’s ok to be the small one, it’s ok to be the strange one, it’s ok to have big ideas. Follow your heart. There is someone for everyone. Love conquers all.
And that’s something I think we can all get behind.
5 sails of 5