PTW – School Library Journal

"This outrageous story never misses a beat, and the feisty, red-headed Peg is in a league with other modern tall-tale heroines such as Anne Isaac's Swamp Angel and the star of Diane Stanley's Saving Sweetness.... A whale of an adventure story with a thoroughly likable heroine."

– School Library Journal

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TKT – Booklist (starred review)

Max loves his job as the cook's dog and the king's taster, making sure the food isn't poisoned. He enthuses, My name's Max and I eat like a king. However, when the new king (a young boy) refuses to eat the food, Max and the cook go in search of kitchens in Paris , Italy , and Mexico for tasty new recipes: but french fries, pizza, and chili tacos are all rejected. Off with his head! orders the king. Unable to sleep that night, Max follows a shadow scuttling out of the kitchen; he wakes the cook and they peek through the keyhole. There is His Highness sitting in bed eating candy liquorices, ginger cookies, and huge hunks of marzipan! When cook threatens to tell his mother, the king relents, tastes the food, and, at last, eats everything on the plate. Mixed-media illustrations are deliciously capricious with clever collage details for example, the cook's jacket is constructed of photographed fabric with handwritten recipes all over it, and the beagle, Max, for some goofy reason, wears glasses. Kids will relish this comic culinary calamity, especially the peek-a-boo sight of the king in his accidentally revealing pjs. A crackerjack treat.

– Booklist (starred review)

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DWZ – The Globe & Mail

"Weaving thematic threads of sibling rivalry and affection, a Faustian motif, high adventure, and of course, the power of true love, Oppel's prose rarely falters, despite his occasional flirtation with melodrama. The dialogue is swift and rings true. Some of the characters would fit perfectly into a Dickensian underworld and the cumulative effect of all these riches is a novel of striking impact."

– The Globe & Mail

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DWZ – School Library Journal (starred review) 

"Oppel has crafted a superior science-fiction novel set in the near future… Everything about this novel is believable: the characters and their motivations, the development of their relationships, even the non-Hollywood conclusion. Readers are left with satisfaction that the mystery has been solved, but are not placated with a hurry-up happy ending. An excellent bridge to the works of Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert."

– School Library Journal (starred review) 

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DW – VOYA (starred review)

This novel manages to combine elements of adventure, survival, action, and mystery. Oppel deftly creates animals characters that invite readers into their story. Fans of Brian Jacques's Redwall stories and Watership Down will enjoy meeting Dusk and the other animals which populate this ancient world. 

– VOYA (starred review)

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DW – Kliatt (starred review)

In this companion to Oppel's prize-winning fantasies about bats, Silverwing, Sunwing, and Firewing, he imagines what the origins of modern day bats might be. The setting is the early Paleocene epoch, 65 million years ago. Dinosaurs are dying out, and mammals are increasing in number. Small creatures called chiropters live in trees and glide like flying squirrels from branch to branch, but among them a mutant is born named Dusk, who has the ability to fly and to see in the dark. When catlike predators called felids arrive on their idyllic island, led by a vicious hunter named Carnassial, Dusk must guide his companions to safety in a new environment. Filled with adventures and characters both sympathetic and fearsome, this exciting fantasy convincingly brings to life a long-ago world at a time of rapid change

– Kliatt (starred review)

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DW – Globe & Mail (Toronto)

Kenneth Oppel's new novel tackles many classic themes of the young-adult genre - family, identity, finding a place in the world - and addresses them thoughtfully. Does that make Darkwing a sober, sedate read? Absolutely not. Because this is a story about bats. Better yet, prehistoric bats.

– Globe & Mail (Toronto)

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DW - Quill & Quire (starred review)

This is a thrilling page-turner that will captivate young and old alike. Oppel’s consummate skill at inhabiting the minds of non-human creatures is on stunning display here as Dusk’s story races from thrilling discoveries to heart-stopping perils. Like many of Oppel’s protagonists, Dusk is the outsider who struggles to find a place for himself in his world. But Dusk’s story is interwoven with that of Carnassial, the newly evolved meat-eater whose determination to survive and dominate mirrors that of other creatures in this turbulent world and complicates the moral landscape of the novel. Dusk’s deep attachment to his mother, father, and loyal sister Sylph adds depth to his character and emotional resonance to the story of his quest for belonging. Fans of the Silverwing series will find this prequel immensely satisfying and will be clamouring for more.

– Quill & Quire (starred review)

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DW – 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.

– Booklist (starred review) 

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DW – Kirkus (starred review)

Dusk is a misfit in his colony, a freak. He has only two claws instead of three, weak legs, unusually strong chest and shoulder muscles and the ability to see in the dark. And where other chiropters glide, he has the urge to flap his sails. He is a pre-bat, perched on a new branch of evolution. In the age when the saurians are dying out and mammals are on the rise, Dusk is a new kind of animal, and his is the story of the misfit finding the courage to spread his wings and fly. When his colony is attacked by a prowl of rogue felids led by the evil Carnassial, Dusk uses his skills to lead the survivors to a new homeland, with many adventures along the way. Rich sensory details bring to life the Paleocene epoch of 65 million years ago—the steamy heat, heady fragrances, giant sequoias and vast grasslands. Lively prose and sheer imagination make Oppel’s fourth bat story another winner.

– Kirkus (starred review)

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DW - Kirkus (starred review)

"Lively prose and sheer imagination make Oppel’s fourth bat story another winner." 

Kirkus (starred review)


"a thrilling page-turner that will captivate young and old alike"

Quill & Quire (starred review)

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FW – Jeffrey Canton, Quill & Quire

"Firewing is a first rate sequel to Kenneth 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 disctinctly his own. What makes the Underworld especially interesting is that instead of just one version of the bat-afterlife, Oppel portrays several different versions of the notion of life-after-death.... Firewing is sure to delight fans of the previous books."

– Jeffrey Canton, Quill & Quire

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FW – John Burns, Georgia Strait Magazine

If you know a kid, even as young as Grade 3 or 4, buy this book. The first two in the series, Silverwing and Sunwing, sold 600,000 copies, and it's easy to see why in this bravura thriller about a newborn bat who winds up in the underworld, where he discovers secrets of life and death, a father, and something even greater: the hero inside himself. Kenneth Oppel (who opened for J.K. Rowling at the Toronto SkyDome) is in a class of his own."

– John Burns, Georgia Strait Magazine

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FW – Duncan Thornton, Winnipeg Free Press

Oppel... certainly doesn't pander to young readers with his themes, which are dark and disturbing. Firewing is set almost entirely in an unpleasnt "underworld," as he calls it, that could be out of Homer.... Readers will be kept in suspense until the last few pages, of course, but ultimately, through means both surprising and satisfying, Oppel brings each character to a fitting end."

– Duncan Thornton, Winnipeg Free Press

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pb+jFirewing