Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Wings of Fire series
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the first book in the Wings of Fire series. There are four more books in this series, and then another five book series planned that takes place after that series. My seven year old son is a huge fan of this series and has been asking me over and over to read it. Previously I have read the Menagerie series by Sutherland and really enjoyed that. The Wings of Fire series is a well written series that I think will appeal to the middle grade age range more than adults.
Clay is one of five dragonets raised in isolation by the Talons of Peace. There is a prophecy that five dragons will rise up to end the awful war that has been raging for years between the seven Dragon Tribes. Clay (MudWing) has been raised in relative isolation along with four other dragonets; Glory (RainWing) , Sunny (SandWing), Starflight (NightWing), and Tsunami (SeaWing). When Clay and his friends get sick of their isolation they venture out to see for themselves the horrors and betrayals that are part of this dragon war.
This is a well written book. It reminds a bit of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. You basically have tribes of dragons that have allied with each other and struggle for dominance of the region. Creatures called scavengers are mentioned (which seem to be humans). The background makes it seem like in this world humans are close to extinction and dragons rule. There is a lot of fighting between the dragons, also lots of betrayals.
Sutherland does a good job of naming the dragons so that they represent their clan. For example Clay is a MudWing and Tsunami is a RainWing. This definitely helps readers to remember which dragon belongs to which caste when the story starts out.
Clay is your all around good boy, he is the one that keeps the group together and tries to settle differences…although he is a bit clueless when it comes to the girl dragons. In this book the dragonets confront the Queen of the AirWings, Queen Scarlet, and also journey in search of Clay’s parents. It seems like each book is being setup so that each Dragonet journeys in search of their families in a separate book.
I really enjoyed the way the book was written. It is easy to read, flows well, and there is some humor in here too. I can really see how kids love these books; the dragons are interesting and intriguing and go on lots of adventures. In addition to that the dragons act a lot like kids and deal with a lot of the same problems kids do (fitting in, getting along with their companions, etc).
I love how the dragon tribes all have very different abilities and personalities; this was very well done and made for a good story.
The story was a bit more violent and vicious than I expected. Dragons are viciously killed and die in massive numbers, the dragonets are suitably horrified at some of the things they see. Which leads to the only thing I didn’t really like about this book.
I didn’t like that every single one of the adult dragons our Dragonets deal with was conniving, evil, and mean..or at best indifferent. I hate it when adults are portrayed as universally evil in kids’ books. I don’t think it’s a great message for kids. Hopefully in future books our Dragonets will meet some mentors or at least some adults who don’t try to manipulate or kill them.
Overall this book was better than I thought it would be. The format reminds a lot of The Warriors series by Erin Hunter. That being said I liked this book a lot better than the Warrior books; there was more humor and the dragons were more interesting and underwent more interesting adventures. However, I think this is a series that will engage kids better than it will adults. Sutherland’s Menagerie series is a better series for a wider range of ages, I think both adults and kids can enjoy that series. I will be reading the next couple books in the series because my son is begging me to and they are pretty quick reads.