Wings of Fire: Talons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland
Turtle knows he isn’t a hero he reads about in books. Otherwise, his animus powers could help everyone and save the world. No, being boring, forgettable, and ordinary was much safer. Darkstalker, the huge animus from Nightwing legends has returned from a deep sleep. The funny thing is, all of the dragons at Jade Mountain Academy seem enamored with him. Turtle still thinks there is something shady about Darkstalker though, and he knows he needs to find a real hero to save the day.
Character Development – 4.6
Wings of Fire: Talons of Power develops Turtle and Darkstalker quite well. I would rate this story a 4.6. Darkstalker seems so friendly, as he isn’t seemingly hurting or putting spells on anybody. Turtle believes there’s something not quite right about it, but he wonders himself if he is just too suspicious. Turtle realizes there is something really wrong when Darkstalker goes to the rainforest and tries to become king. Turtle was undecided until this moment, and we see him dragged on a journey trying to stay in the role of being the sidekick, but soon he has to take action and we see him realize he can be the hero if he wants to. Darkstalker, on the other hand, is on the border of being a good guy or a bad one. The reader sees all sides of him: the charming one, the evilest one, and the lonely, sad one.
Strength of Plot – 4.2
I would rate the Strength of Plot of Wings of Fire: Talons of Power a 4.2. This story is all based upon animus magic, the ability to enchant anything to do whatever the dragon enchanter wants. The story weaves around Turtle and Darkstalker, coming to a peak when they finally arrive in the old Nightwing kingdom. It has a steady buildup, and Sutherland writes about Turtle’s journey spying on Darkstalker. The books ends a little unsatisfactory because it gives no lead into the next book, so readers are left wondering what just happened. This book is really just thickening the plot in preparations for the next book and preparing the characters for what is to come.
Length – 4.7
This book is about 290 pages. It is a pretty easy read, as a shorter book. The length is appropriate for the events in the story, so I would rate this book a 4.7. Talons of Power is a buildup book: one that is easy read but like Sutherland’s other books, based largely upon background knowledge. If the readers do not know what animus magic is, they will be relatively lost. The book has only a few major events and is also spent on developing Darkstalker and showing him getting more and more powerful, charming every dragon he meets.
Writing Style – 5
Sutherland’s writing style is just as enchanting in this book as her others. If you can imagine a human with scales and superpowers, this book is about them. Sutherland takes the thought processes, personalities, and inside feelings of each individual character and develops them so it is easy to relate to what the dragon is feeling. Of course, since they are dragons, there are some unique things that we can’t relate to as well, but even so they are just part of the world of Pyrrhia. There is a classic “bad guy”, but one that the reader can see two sides of: they’re torn between sympathy and justice for Darkstalker, a tragic dragon, but one who wants to take over the world.
Conclusion – 4.8
This book isn’t as good as the other books in the series, but it does contain some necessary information and building. The Prologue and Epilogue are also cool hints about what the story is going to be about, and Sutherland writes a bout a character that hasn’t shown up as much in previous books. This book can relate more to kids older than eight, but also simulates a school environment with teenager sympathies. Calling all dragon lovers already enamored with previous books, this is the book for you. Sutherland takes her hand and writes another sequel in the Wings of Fire books. Make sure you have read the previous books in the series or at least have a pretty good understanding of the dragons beforehand.