Night Wings
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Night Wings

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by Joseph Bruchac, Sally Wern Comport
     
 

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My dream from last night haunts me. I am still running, still trying to hide from something I cannot see. I know that it sees me with eyes that can pierce the darkness. I know that it hungers to take my life.

Paul has always believed in the power of dreams. He knows that they are often warnings. Warnings that should be taken very seriously.

Now his nightmare

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Overview

My dream from last night haunts me. I am still running, still trying to hide from something I cannot see. I know that it sees me with eyes that can pierce the darkness. I know that it hungers to take my life.

Paul has always believed in the power of dreams. He knows that they are often warnings. Warnings that should be taken very seriously.

Now his nightmare visions of a predatory winged creature are becoming all too real. And though Paul has always depended on the wisdom of his Abenaki ancestors' stories to guide his footsteps, no monster tale could have prepared him for what he is about to encounter, alone, at the top of one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“Bruchac’s fast-moving tale is steeped in Indian lore that injects this otherwise straightforward thriller with a sense of meaning and even spirituality. A perfect book to gobble up in a single, sweaty sitting.”
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Thirteen-year-old Paul's been having frightening dreams of a winged creature with red eyes that seems to be threatening him. His ripped jacket and the ache left in his shoulder begin the story in a prologue that appropriately mingles the real and fantastic worlds. In vintage Bruchac fashion (Skeleton Man, Whisper in the Dark) there are no portals here marking the transition from magical to real, so one realm is not privileged over the other. Paul's military parents are both now deployed to "a war zone in the Middle East," and Paul is going to stay with his Grampa Peter. Part adventure story, part coming of age, this is a well-paced tale that pits good guys against bad guys. The villain is a fortune hunter who, along with his sidekicks, is after the fabled treasure reputed to be hidden on top of the mountain, and who wants Grampa to play guide. The gang of bad guys offers several suitable counterpoints to Grampa's humor and Paul's growing courage. For the most part, this keeps the pages turning, even if the caricature of the Stazi character begs the question of why it is still considered acceptable to stereotype a certain kind of German. Tying with Grampa for star billing in this book is Pmola—in the Abenaki tradition, the legendary winged denizen of the upper reaches of Mount Washington. Paul's encounter with Pmola leads to a nice twist that launches him back, in the end into the new school year, enabling him to begin it with a new optimism about himself and his capabilities. The passage of time is handled in interesting ways; the interminable dragging of tense moments that Paul experiences on the mountain is contrasted with the sense of time passing differently for hisoverseas parents. Bearing Bruchac's trademark combination of wit and wisdom, this is a nice addition to contemporary middle grade fiction featuring American Indian characters and themes. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–Thirteen-year-old Paul Fortune, an Abenaki with a long line of military service in his family, goes to live with his stoic veteran grandfather while his parents are serving in the Middle East. Paul and Grampa Peter have subtle, nonverbal ways of communicating with one another, which comes in handy when bad guys arrive, kidnap them, and force them to search for mythical treasure on a journey up Mount Washington, one of the coldest and most dangerous spots in the northeast. Darby Field, the ringmaster of the group and the sinister host of TV’s Forbidden Mysteries, has specifically sought out Grampa Peter, who is known for his scouting skills and expert knowledge of Native legends, including Pmola’s treasure. Although scenes of the large, dark, birdlike Pmola menacing the group are frightening, the real scare here is actually the evil and occasionally violent Mr. Field and his cohorts, who have pillaged cultural treasures around the world. Using Paul’s keen birdlike sense of smell and sight, and employing military tactics and strategy, Paul and Grampa ultimately prevail over the villains. The intriguing Native lore, the realistic teen narrative, and cliff-hanger sentences that build suspense at the end of each chapter are signature Bruchac and will captivate readers.–Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Bruchac's not at his best in this weak, predictable tale. When both of his parents are deployed to Iraq, 13-year-old Paul moves in with his Grampa Peter, an Abenaki wilderness guide living in an isolated trailer near Mount Washington. One night the two are seized by Darby Field, the ruthless host of an In Search of Ancient Mysteries-style TV series, who has set his sights on a supposed cultural treasure being guarded (according to local legend) by Pmola, a giant winged creature. After a show of reluctance Grampa Peter agrees to lead Field and his crew of thugs up the mountain to the treasure-a journey that quickly leads into a different reality, where the predatory monster is waiting for them. The author brings Abenaki ways of life and thought in the modern world into sharp focus here, but the villains are so far-fetched and stereotyped that even uncritical readers will have trouble keying into the labored suspense. An off-kilter effort from the author of Bearwalker (2007), Skeleton Man (2001) and other more effective terror tales. (Fantasy. 11-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061123184
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/30/2009
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
265,979
Product dimensions:
4.72(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.84(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac is the author of Skeleton Man, The Return of Skeleton Man, Bearwalker, The Dark Pond, and Whisper in the Dark, as well as numerous other critically acclaimed novels, poems, and stories, many drawing on his Abenaki heritage. Mr. Bruchac and his wife, Carol, live in upstate New York, in the same house where he was raised by his grandparents.

Sally Wern Comport has been making pictures professionally since the age of sixteen. Her images have been seen in the editorial, advertising, and publishing markets worldwide, and her work includes the picture book Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure, by Robert D. San Souci. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her studio partner — husband and their two daughters, Taylor and Olivia, and she recently completed her graduate education at Syracuse University to further her passion for the art of illustration.

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Night Wings 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The Native American Abenaki people have a legend about a huge flying creature called Pmola. It lives in the mountains, guards its treasure, and punishes trespassers harshly. To thirteen-year-old Paul, this legend has always been little more than a scary story, until the dreams start haunting him. Then, he and his Grandpa Peter run afoul of a ruthless treasure hunter who has heard the legend of Pmola. Soon, Paul's nightmares are taking on an even deeper meaning than he could have ever imagined. NIGHT WINGS is an exciting story that blends an ancient legend with modern criminals. It gives the reader heroes to cheer for and villains to hiss at, and something scary that literally goes bump in the night. What's not to like? It also offers a fascinating peek at some Native American traditions and beliefs from an author who is himself of Abenaki heritage. NIGHT WINGS is recommended for readers who like a scary story told in an engaging style. It is a fairly short novel, which makes it especially appropriate for younger readers. Older readers might be left wanting a longer tale, however. They are probably used to more character development and multiple plot lines, both of which are largely lacking in this book. Nevertheless, NIGHT WINGS is an engaging story about a fascinating Native American legend that should have appeal for horror fans.