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Firewing: Reviews

Vancouver Sun
"Firewing is a fantastic read, whether you're eight or 80. I couldn't put it down. Brilliantly, Oppel has created an entirely believable fantasy world inhabited by bats and other creatures that, except for their furiness, exhibit all the behaviours of human beings and mythological gods.... The beauty of this book lies in the universality of the ideas: If you're human, you'll get it, and I can guarantee you'll love it." -- Julie Burtinshaw

The Globe and Mail
"Oppel constructs a wonderfully florid and richly imagined world, a bat world in which life and death, heaven and hell, and the notion of giving up one's own life so that another might live, are there for the reading -- and the feeling. Hats off to Oppel for a hat trick!" -- Susan Perren

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

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

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
"Goth, the monstrous cannibal bat who plotted to kill the sun, may have been blown to bits at the end of Kenneth Oppel's Sunwing. But this doesn't stop Oppel from including his arch-villain in yet another electrifying sequel to the bat saga he began in 1997 with Silverwing. The most fantastical by far of the three books, Firewing takes its readers on a breathtaking journey into a bat underworld ruled by Cama Zotz and his dreaded Vampyrum Spectrum. While cosmology has always hung in the background of Oppel's bat novels, in Firewing the struggle between the sun god Nocturna and her dark twin Zotz finally comes to the fore. Oppel also introduces a new hero in Griffin, the "newborn" of Shade Silverwing and his mate, Marina.

"As this visually thrilling tour-de-force opens, Griffin has been sucked down into the underworld through a suspicious fissure in the earth's crust. Pursued by his father, Shade, but also by the dead Goth who wants to steal his life force, Griffin makes his way over a bizarre landscape to a fiery tree planted by Nocturna. Naturally, he meets a host of memorable characters on his journey, including a giant bat with the face of a fox and Luna, a newly dead silverwing from his own colony, who ends up playing Marina to Griffin's Shade.

"Oppel's underworld is a smoke-and-mirrors purgatory where dead bats are tricked into believing they are still alive and where the enlightened "Pilgrims," who seek passage to Nocturna's better afterlife, are despised as radicals. Drawing on ideas from Christianity, Buddhism, and other religions, Oppel constructs an intellectually stimulating fantasy world that will captivate readers as young as eight. -- Lisa Alward


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