Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW compared this "gripping" epic starring a bat to Watership Down for the author's use of animal characters in his investigation of tolerance, intellectual freedom and other social concerns. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA - Nancy Eaton
Shade, a newborn Silverwing bat, challenges a larger and stronger bat to look at the sun, an act forbidden by the Law that governs bats, birds, and animals. This seemingly innocent dare sets in motion a series of retaliatory events that threaten the existence of the bat colony. Separated from his colony by a storm during their fall migration, Shade joins forces with a Brightwing bat named Marina, who was shunned by her own colony after she was banded by Humans. The two young bats try to find the Silverwing colony while avoiding the vengeful birds. Their task is complicated by the presence of two gigantic tropical bats who escaped from a zoo and are searching for the way south. These two are not averse to killing and eating birds, squirrels, or even bats. A general war among the beasts is imminent. Larger issues of good versus evil and the role Humans play in the animal kingdom are raised, and the door to a sequel is open. Do not miss this rip-roaring adventure by a talented young writer. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6The plot of this book sounds like the perfect adventure for a noble hero: a dangerous journey with a cryptic map and a trusty companion. But here's the catch: the hero is an undersized bat. Shade, a newborn Silverwing, is separated from his colony during their winter migrations. With the help of an exiled Brightwing, he must find his colony and save them from marauding cannibal bats imported from the tropics. In an author's note, Oppel writes that he "liked the challenge of taking animals that many might consider `ugly' or `scary' and fashioning them into interesting, appealing characters"; he has done just that with Shade and his comrades. While these characters are not particularly well rounded, readers will sympathize with the young bat's sometimes foolhardy efforts to prove that he's more than the colony runt, and the villainsfire-carrying owls and six-foot, flesh-eating batswill keep even reluctant readers engaged. However, the greatest strengths of this story lie in its fast-paced, cliff-hanging action and its setting within the hollow trees and bell towers of the bats' monochromatic nighttime world. Recommend this one to fans of Avi's Poppy (Orchard, 1995); they won't be disappointed.Beth Wright, Edythe Dyer Community Library, Hampden, ME
A small bat's curiosity touches off a war of extermination against all his kind in this action-packed odyssey from the author of Dead Water Zone (1993).
In satisfying his desire to catch just a glimpse of the sun, young Shade defies a punishment imposed millions of years before when bats refused to fight in the Great War Between the Birds and the Beasts. In swift retribution, owls burn the ancient nursery of the silverwing bats, forcing them to depart early for Hibernaculum, their winter roost. A sudden storm blows Shade away from the flock; in the chase to catch up, he meets Marina, a faithful companion of another bat species; acquires a nemesis in Goth, a huge, seemingly indestructible tropical bat with cannibalistic tendencies; escapes capture above ground and below; encounters a host of allies and enemies; and finds several mysteries to pursuewhy other animals are so ready to wipe the bats out, what the silver bands humans give some bats portend, and especially what became of his banded father. Replete with appealing characters, scary adversaries, bat lore, natural history, unanswered questions, and conflicting theologies, the story takes on a promising epic sweep; readers will look forward to the sequels that Oppel's ending guarantees.
“A tour-de-force fantasy; a can’t-put-down adventure for readers from age eight all the way to adult.”
The Globe and Mail
“Readers with a penchant for losing themselves in fantasy worlds will revel in Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing . . . A richly imagined work.”