Silverwing

silverwingAuthor: Kenneth Oppel

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Silverwing, vol. 1

The young Silverwing bat, Shade, has been a runt ever since he was born, but he’s convinced that he can prove his bravery and show up the bigger newborn bats if he just stays out late enough to see the sun rising. Unfortunately, his foolish actions bring the wrath of the owls upon his entire colony, and in the chaos that ensues, Shade becomes separated from his colony and hopelessly lost. Just when Shade is feeling completely alone, he encounters a chipper young Brightwing bat, Marina. Together, the two might just be able to rejoin Shade’s colony . . . and perhaps solve some of the mysteries regarding the bands the humans put on some bats while they’re at it.

Silverwing is just one example of Kenneth Oppel’s brilliant writing–I have yet to read anything he’s written that I haven’t loved. The characters, particularly Shade and Marina, are brimming with personality and are easy to relate to . . . even though they’re, you know, bats. Oppel’s bat world is well realized, particularly for a book written with a younger (say, middle-school) audience. He’s crafted a detailed history and lore for them, while also including plenty of well-researched natural history. I found it fascinating that he writes in his Author’s Note at the end that, since bats are color-blind, he wrote the entire story without mentioning color at all. Looking back, it’s true; however, he writes this black-and-white world so seamlessly that it’s practically unnoticeable while you’re reading it. It’s easy to tell that the author put a lot of work into the Silverwing because it’s very easy for the reader to read. Definitely recommended.

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