In the third title in the series begun with Silverwing and Sunwing, Griffith's father, a bat, must rescue young Griffith when he is swallowed by the "Underworld"-before it's too late. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The third installment in this series, which follows Silverwing (Simon & Schuster, 1997/VOYA April 1998) and Sunwing (2000/VOYA April 2000) and depicts the lives of silverwing bats combating seemingly insurmountable odds, focuses on Shade's son, Griffin. Upset over causing an injury to his playmate Luna, Griffin heads off into a tunnel that he has never before explored. A sudden downdraft sends Griffin into the Underworld. Shade undertakes a rescue mission, one destined to fail, as no one has ever managed to return from the Underworld, the land of the dead. A father's love, however, is a strong bond. Perhaps Shade will find Griffin and lead him back to the land of the living. To succeed, Shade will again have to face his mortal foe, Goth. Meanwhile, Griffin must come to terms with the death of his friend Luna, whom he encounters in the Underworld. Desperate to bring her back to the land of the living, Griffin is forced to risk his own life. The story is unveiled from three points of view: Shade, Griffin, and Goth all have their turns at narration. Seeing the story from these multiple perspectives adds dimension to the uncomplicated plot. Of course, the ending is left open to enable the saga of Shade and his heir to continue. Readers who enjoy animal fantasy will appreciate the heroic efforts of these small bats as they fight almost mythical foes. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Simon & Schuster, 272p, Lesesne
Gr 4-8-With this sequel to Silverwing (1997) and Sunwing (2000, both S & S), Oppel begins a second cycle in his bat-centered, metaphysical fantasy, rearing up a new generation of good guys to face the older one's villains. Regarding himself as a more cautious sort than his famous father Shade, young Griffin tends to gabble his way through difficulties: "All right? What we have here is a cave-in kind of situation. Perfectly straightforward." Plunged into a barren, starlit Underworld created by Mayan bat-god Cama Zotz, however, Griffin finds plenty of opportunities for heroism. A rare living bat in a land otherwise populated entirely by the dead, he picks up a plucky sidekick, Luna, then joins a motley band of "Pilgrims" journeying to a fiery place of promised rebirth created by Nocturna, rival Goddess of Life. Bent on rescuing his son, Shade follows, but ranged against them are not only the god of death, who has designs on Nocturna's realm, but also Shade's old nemesis Goth, a ferociously predatory bat killed (temporarily, as it turns out) in a previous episode. Plenty of rousing action; special effects on a grand scale; a leavening of humor as well as stimulating thoughts on the nature of life, death, the afterlife, loyalty, courage, honesty, and other essential topics more than compensate for iffy internal logic.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
His mother’s a hero, his father’s a legend, and he’s named after the mythical griffin—half eagle, half lion. But Griffin, the newborn bat, is not strong, powerful, or heroic. He is a "little bat who wasn’t special in any way." Better to have been named Twig or Weed, he tells himself. When Griffin fails in his one attempt at impressing his friends by stealing fire from the humans, he horribly burns his best friend Luna and sets into motion a harrowing journey through the Underworld of the evil bat lord, Cama Zotz. This third installment in the series continues the story of Shade, who arrives on the scene in time to attempt a rescue of Griffin. Lurking in the Underground with Shade is Goth, the cannibal bat from Sunwing (2000). At the same time, Lord Zotz has a deadly ambition: "I will rise and kill the sun. The two worlds of the living and the dead will be collapsed into one, and I will reign." Oppel’s writing is beautiful in its evocation of the bat world, especially of flights through the moonlit forests, the bat community at Tree Haven, and the bats’ use of echo vision. However, there is a problem with voice in the story. When the author has Griffin talking to himself about the effects of an earthquake, the bat says, "What we have here is a cave-in kind of situation." Later, he notices "an escape kind of situation." Readers are told that Shade’s facing a council of elders "freaked him out." Such inelegant writing is unfortunate in the midst of a fine tale that fans of the series will eagerly anticipate. (Fiction. 10-12)