[personal profile] niori_1709
I have to admit that this is not a book I ever would have picked out myself. It’s a young adult fiction novel that has bats as the main characters. Yes- bats. I don’t know what possessed Mom to look at “Silverwing” let alone to pick it up as a gift for me, but I’m very glad she did.

“Silverwing” tells the story of Shade, a newborn runt of a Silverwing bat. He’s one of those kids that just won’t take ‘because’ as an answer. The question in this case is why bats are forbidden to see the sun (to sum it up: a long time ago there was a war between the birds and the beasts, and the bats decided to play Switzerland and stay neutral. When the war ended they were punished by not being allowed to see the sun on pain of death). Shade of course catches a glimpse of it and (again of course) is caught doing it. Instead of turning him over to be killed, his clan takes the consequence- the complete destruction of their nesting area. They’re forced to leave for their hibernation site earlier and Shade gets separated from the group on the journey. Now he has to find a way to get there without being killed along the way (which happens more than you’d expect actually). He picks up

Marina, a Redwing bat who was chased out of her clan and Goth and Throbb, two tropical bats who double as psychopaths. All three were captured by humans and were given mysterious metal bands that nobody knows the purpose of, and adds a level of mystery to the classic journey story.

Yes, the main characters are bats. Those bats happen to be written better than quite a few human characters I’ve read. Oppel gives these bats personality. He gives them history, culture and all of those things you really don’t think would go together with bats. More impressively, he makes two distinct bat cultures (Shade’s vs. Goth’s) and then takes it a step further by making distinctive cultures for other animals, most obviously the rats and the owls.

I was honestly surprised that I enjoyed this book, especially that I enjoyed it as much as I did. It might not sound like a book you’d pick up on your own, but I’m hoping you’ll take my word for it and give “Silverwing” a try.

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