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)