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Silverwing #1


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Shade is a young Silverwing bat, the runt of his colony. But he's determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a fierce storm, he loses the others and soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life. Desperately searching for a way to rejoin his flock, Shade meets a remarkable cast of characters: Marina, a Brightwing bat with a strange metal band on her leg; Zephyr, a mystical albino bat with a strange gift; and Goth, a gigantic carnivorous vampire bat. But which ones are friends and which ones are enemies? In this epic story of adventure and suspense, Shade is going to need all the help he can find -- if he hopes to ever see his family again.

One of Canada's best books for young readers was written by a pretty young writer himself. Kenneth Oppel, who had his first book published when he was 18, really hit his stride a dozen years later with Silverwing, the first volume in a thrilling adventure trilogy set in the nocturnal world of bats that immediately captured the attention of middle readers and award juries alike.

272 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 1, 1997

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About the author

Kenneth Oppel

91 books2,569 followers
I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords and sorcery tales (my Dungeons and Dragons phase) and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games (written, of course, during my video game phase). It turned out to be quite a long story, really a short novel, and I rewrote it the next summer. We had a family friend who knew Roald Dahl - one of my favourite authors - and this friend offered to show Dahl my story. I was paralysed with excitement. I never heard back from Roald Dahl directly, but he read my story, and liked it enough to pass on to his own literary agent. I got a letter from them, saying they wanted to take me on, and try to sell my story. And they did.

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5,309 (37%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 664 reviews
Profile Image for Renee Godding.
640 reviews634 followers
August 26, 2019
Not going to lie: I read these books as a kid at the library and absolutely adored them. In fact: I’ve remembered the story fondly for years but completely forgot the title and author, so I was never able to retrace this book. Until I randomly stumbled upon it at the second hand bookstore. And all the memories came flooding back in...

Reread planned soon
Profile Image for Denise.
758 reviews73 followers
September 27, 2015

I began reading this novel because my grandson in the fourth grade was reading it. He was enthusiastic about this book and I wanted to show interest in his school work. The areas of study are endless! (character studies, friendship, compare the various bat characters with people you might know...leads conversation into bullying, deceitful people, friends vs enemies, creative writing and nature studies etc.) This is a beautifully written novel which gives descriptions and facts in an interesting manner. The best result of reading this book, is my grandson has asked for the next two books in the series! Thanks Kenneth Oppel for creating a wonderful series of books.
Today's Parent writes: "Your child won't be able to resist a feisty, young Silverwing bat, and the fascinating, dangerous adventures Ken Oppel has created for him." 5 stars

Profile Image for Crystal.
55 reviews3 followers
October 24, 2007
Who writes a book about bats? Kenneth Oppel does! And he does it extremely well. The characters are all very realistic and I felt like I was watching real bats with the descriptions and actions. One of my favorite things that still blows my mind about this book is that the author admits to using only 'black', 'white', and 'silver' as colors in the book. I didn't even notice, but now that I know it's very amazing to me. Kudos to Kenneth Oppel and his great writing.
Profile Image for Ashton.
155 reviews956 followers
July 4, 2021
4.5?? love a nostalgic one-day read — pleased to report this holds up pretty well. it’s a little bit of a predictable hero’s journey, and i did find one typo. however, the world building and interlacing of different lore and bat-cultures is really cool, the characters are strong (though their characterization is sometimes exceedingly obvious) and i think the pacing is pretty decent. i also deeply appreciate the attention to detail by the author in terms of descriptions — so many things are described with really wonderful vivacity, but it’s never done with colour! there’s brightness and texture and sound and echoes, but because bats don’t see in colour, there isn’t a single colour-word used in the whole book and i just think it’s executed really well.
Profile Image for Sarah .
28 reviews
January 22, 2013
Silverwing is just amazing! I read it in just a day, and that's no small feat for me! It was just so capturing! It was quite fast-paced I found, but I liked that for a change!

It was just un-put-down-able!

The story-line is very original, which I loved, and is about bats! This is my very first bat fiction story that I've read, and it had made me have a taste for bat stories!

This is a flawless and exciting story {{I found myself cheering and wishing Goth and Throbb would just hurry up and die!}} and everyone should read it!

{{I am aware that it says I started it on the 30th August, but I didn't actually start reading it until Saturday the 8th}}
Profile Image for colleen the convivial curmudgeon.
1,155 reviews296 followers
October 22, 2013

I saw this book recommended in a group recently, and it sounded like it could be fun. The fact that it fits an October month challenge, along with the fact that my local library actually had it in the shelves, pushed it up the line a bit.

It was a cute adventure story about a runt silverwing bat who is smart and curious and questions things, when most of his colony goes along with the status quo out of (justified) fear. His biggest adventure happens when, during a storm, he gets separated from his colony and has to find his way home.

As with many stories, he makes friends and foes along the way, and has to deal with various obstacles in his path.

There's also an element of some bats being tagged with bands by humans and released, and a sort of cult that grows up around it. This aspect made me think a bit of the Secret of NIMH.

I thought the author did a good job of anthropomorphilizing the bats enough to make them relatable, but still bat enough to not come across as too cartoony. Shade was a believable character, complete with strengths and flaws, and pretty easy to root for, and Goth was pretty decent for a villain - at least for a kid's book.. My major complaint about him is that he seemed to have a villainous version of Invincible Hero.

(Also, I kind of found the one cult-group of bats more frightening than the actual villains.)

The ending was sweet, but it's definitely a set up for a series. Lots of threads left dangling to be continued on. I'm not really decided if I'll continue, though. I enjoyed it well enough, but it's not one that'll stay with me in the long-term, I don't think. I couldn't really tell you why, it just didn't. *shrugs*
Profile Image for Qt.
510 reviews
February 24, 2008
Being a fan of bats, I was very pleased to find this new trilogy, with bats as the main characters! The hero's quest to find his colony, as well as unraveling layers of legend and mystery surrounding an ancient prophecy, was fun. I especially liked the aerial action scenes and the description of echolocation.
Profile Image for Brianna.
864 reviews69 followers
March 30, 2020
A message from my 10 year old self: This is an excellant book! It is all about the journey of a young bat, and what he encounters. I learned quite alot, not like it's true or anything (but it might!) and I didn't get bored. I read it in approximately a day. Bullies, friends, myths and lots more fun stuff is jammed into this great novel! Congrats Oppel!
Profile Image for Lee Födi.
Author 20 books110 followers
December 19, 2014
This book will teach you a lot of things about bats, not the least of which is the distinction between the taste of mosquitoes and moths. Who knew? But that's what makes this book so delightful. Author Kenneth Oppel creates such a richly detailed animal kingdom, that before you know it, you are caught up on the updraft of adventure, following young Shade through the intricate worlds of bats, owls, pigeons, and all the rest. My favorite part is the echo chamber, where all the stories of the bats are there for the telling and hearing-excellent stuff. I use this book a lot with my creative writing students as a part of our reading workshop and it consistently rates very high with them, regardless of gender or age. On another note, I first bought this novel in a used bookstore and was very delighted to open it at home to find that it had been signed by Kenneth Oppel—a great bonus!
Profile Image for Drew Canole.
1,736 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2022
I read this book a long time ago and a few of the concepts in it stuck with me... I liked the idea of the echo-chamber that houses all the knowledge of the bats, just like we have books (or now the internet).

It's a one-star because the characters are bland, the theme is boring, and the 'message' is too weak even for a children's book.
3 reviews2 followers
September 16, 2018
I really like this book because it's full of adventures. I was really impressed by the author, as that he basically wrote a nonfiction book about bats into a fictional story. Besides from that, he descriptions are very specific. If you have read the book, you'll notice that he didn't use any colors to describe except for black and white. I recommend this book to people who enjoy adventure stories.
Profile Image for Kaitlyn Mae.
2 reviews9 followers
July 17, 2014
This is my favorite book EVER. Kenneth Oppel is an amazing author, and this fantasy is nothing short of AMAZING. Although, the characters and emotions are so realistic, I can hardly believe it is a fantasy. Bats are my favorite animals, so you could see why I loved the characters. But the characters' personalities and emotions will catch anyone's interest, even a person who doesn't like bats. A mixture of adventure, friendship, and thrill, this novel left me hungry for more, so I went on to read the other two in the trilogy (Sunwing and Firewing) and I'm surely going to read Darkwing. I highly recommend this book, and if you read it and like it, continue on and read the other books. I'll always have a spot for them on my bookshelf!
Profile Image for Anna Sobczak.
294 reviews4 followers
July 4, 2015
I loved it, it was a inspiring story of a small bat who's bravery is anything but small and determination of a fierce character. The story is wonderfully written and beautiful.
Profile Image for Julia.
61 reviews
February 9, 2016
for some reason i remember this being one of the first novels i read in grade 2-3? wow, memories. i also read it out of order. the more you know. firewing, silverwing, sunwing. yay.
Profile Image for Kait.
2 reviews
April 4, 2018
Just to clear it up, I did not hate this book. I just didn’t enjoy it.

I’ve given it one star merely based on the fact I could not finish the book. I haven’t read it in weeks because I felt like I was dragging dead weight around and I just couldn’t tread through the book any longer.

It was so insanely predictable and boring and there was so many unnecessary road-blocks. Let me get into that.

-Spoilers ahead-

So, Shade is a bat. Shade and his herd of bats are living in their dream home where owls don’t ever touch them in the night because it’s like, a law, or something. Shade is the runt of all the newborn bats, and he wants to show everyone that he’s strong and courageous and all that stuff that.. bats.. want to be? So.. he goes into the sunlight. Big surprise, right? Now, we all know that owls don’t particularly like bats all that much. When shade decided to go see the sun (backstory- he wanted to watch the sun because bats are forbidden to look at the sun, for whatever reason, and his father died, or went missing, or something, well trying to look at the sun) anddd guess what! When he was trying to look at the sun there was an owl.. right next to him. So he almost gets attacked and what not and obviously his mother saves him because they can’t have the main character die in the first chapter.. this isn’t some tragic story of hope... until it is.

Next part- the big bat council (or whatever you’d like to call it) is made up of elder bats (literally what it sounds like, a bunch of old bats) and they weren’t so happy with him. They want to get him into trouble, until Frieda (I think that’s her name), the main silver wing bat ruler, tells them off. Now, Frieda has a band (a band?? Wow!!) The bats don’t particularly know what the bands are for.. but they know the humans put them on.. and all the bat species have different legends about the bands. So, Frieda is a banded bat, and he takes shade (our good old main character... main.. bat?) to a cave that shows him the history of the animals. It shows all the animals fighting and what not.. until some.. person? Some god? Some higher power? Makes it the way it is.. the basic “bats can’t go out in day or they’ll be eaten”.. and whatnot.

Part three- Afterwards, the owls attack their home right before they are about to leave for migration. They burn down their roost (because owls with flaming sticks, ammiright?) and then they leave all the bats to die. But... they don’t die because at this point we’re only, like, 30 pages in. When they begin to migrate, a storm hits the land. When they are trying to find somewhere to sleep for the night, shade, our mighty bat friend, doesn’t want his mother to guide him.. so, he flies by himself and his little body gets blown away into the wind. This is the main plot of the book. When shade lands he sees a boat crossing the river, so he hops on. He’s sailed to this.. island? And he finds another bat named Marina. Now, another main point is the fact that marina is banded.. (gasp!). They go back across the ocean well marina explains her past. Apparently, she was alone because her family didn’t like the fact she was banded, or something. Then, some other stuff was mentioned that was so unbelievably boring I don’t even remember what had happened.

Part four- after about 100 boring pages of nothingness, we find ourselves in the perspective of different animals, Goth and Throbb, (I believe were their names) who are the main antagonists of the book. These bats are extremely large, because of their breed, and manage to break out of the prison they’re in inside the city. They leave and just seconds later Shade & Marina end up their too. Guarding this weird bat prison were pigeons. Our antagonist friends have killed multiple pigeons to escape. The pigeon god... ruler.. higher power... (or whomever you’d like to call him), is angry and think shade and marina did it because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They didn’t actually do it, though, so they had to come up with some very logical escape plan which went pretty smooth.. until they almost got all the bats in the sky killed.

Part 5- I know this has gone on forever but I need to thoroughly explain how boring and predictable this book was. Afterwards, Shade & Marina meet Goth & Throbb. Whilst Shade & Marina (I’m just gonna start calling them S&M and G&T, oKay?) are being attacked by owls, g&t find them and snap the owls necks.. because, they’re some magical huge breed of bat.. that kills owls? Anyways, g&t eat the owl because they eat meat. Shade then realizes they are banded. OBVIOUSLY if you meet a group of two shady bats you stick with them. Well they did, even though marina hated them. Then some stuff happened that I honestly don’t remember.. the pigeons didn’t find them... I guess it’s also important to mention the fact that the pigeons closed the sky’s completely, so bats couldn’t fly in day OR night. Which, as we would know, made it a lot harder for them to get around. (I also forgot to mention, Marina was helping Shade get back to his... flock? Because she also wanted to meet some of the banded bats.) a bunch of boring stuff happens afterwards.. and it is revealed that G&T are using S&M to get to Shades flock (?? I still don’t know what a group of bats is called) because they want to eat them. Shade sees Throbb eating a bat and he thinks it’s marina, so he goes into mental breakdown mode. He finds marina and they’re on the run for a long long long time. They almost die multiple times (as you’d predict because what else would they put in for.. entertainment...) After, they find a warehouse or basement,,, or something... that has a bunch of BANDED BATS in it... Marina is faced with a chose. Stay with a bunch of banded bats she JUST MET or travel with shade, which let me add, was the main plot point. She chooses to stay and then a few minutes later she obviously felt bad because she was being ignorant so she caught up with shade. Good thing she did because G&T were righttt behind them, and as you can guess, they ate all the banded bats. The next couple chapters is literally them flying around and getting chased by G&T so I’ll leave that out. They are then being chased (again, for the 100th during this book) and they fly into a sewer because G&T won’t fit into it. They later realize it’s home to the rats. The rat king is literally insane, and he thinks they’re spies from above. They try to lie and say that they’re here to warn the rat kingdom about G&T but the king isn’t falling for that crap. He tells his guard to kill them but on the way, the kings brother (I literally don’t even remember his name at all, I just remember that the whole kingdom of rats were scared of his cause he was crazy.. or something) requests to see S&M. The kings brother, who will formally be known as the kings brother, digs them a way out. After they get out I read a couple more pages and completely lost interest and that point.

As you may be able to tell, I really did not enjoy this book. It was so predictable and repetitive, and just flat out boring. I didn’t even finish the book and I can already tell at the end Shade finds his flock. I know that there’s a sequel, in which he MOST LIKELY goes to look for his dad (because he believes he’s still alive). I can’t even begin to imagine what the third book is like, but I definitely won’t be reading it.

No hate towards the author, or anyone who enjoys this book. I just did not. :)

(Disclaimer- any typos, or places where the writing seems choppy/horribly written is because it’s almost one in the morning and for whatever reason I wanted to write a review about this book.)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Belinda Vlasbaard.
3,286 reviews60 followers
June 21, 2022
4,25 sterren - Nederlandse hardcover

Schim is de kleinste van de jonge zilvervlerken en wordt nauwelijks voor vol aangezien. Als de vleermuizenkolonie aan de lange en gevaarlijke trek naar het winterverblijf begint, is hij vastbesloten zich te bewijzen. Maar hij is niet erg sterk.

Tijdens de storm wordt hij meegesleurd - weg van zijn moeder en vrienden. Terwijl de winter nadert begint de wanhopige schim aan zijn reis naar het zuiden. Onderweg ontmoet hij Marina, een vleermuis me een vreemde ring om haar poot, Zephyrus, een mysterieuze albino vleermuis, en Gothelo, een gigantische junglevleermuis.

Wie kan hij vertrouwen en waar zal zijn reis eindigen?

Manuela, 11 jaar, gebruikster huisbibliotheek Bellefleur

Ik vind Zilvervlerk een enorm leuk boek omdat Kenneth Oppel in zijn boek de vleermuizen heel menselijk beschrijft, ze hebben eigen karakters, vrienden en vijanden en misschien zijn vleermuizen in het echt ook wel zo…

Het is ook een heel spannend boek. Schim, de hoofdpersoon is maar een klein, buitengesloten vleermuisje en heeft niet veel vrienden. Hij is minder sterk dan de anderen omdat hij te vroeg geboren was en als ze op weg gaan naar hun winterverblijf raakt Schim zijn familie in een grote storm kwijt. Daarna ontmoet hij Marina, een witvlerk. Schim is een zilvervlerk. Marina heeft een mysterieuze ring om haar poot.

Samen gaan ze op zoek naar hun kolonie. Op die reis komt Schim’s heldhaftige kant naar boven. Als je dat wilt weten moet je het boek maar zelf lezen…
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Loang.
310 reviews9 followers
February 20, 2021
Rating: 8 out of 10

This was an awesome read and I loved it! This was a recommendation from a friend, and let me begin saying he was right about this being a great book!

I really enjoy books about animals in general, so I might be biased here. But there's just something about them that makes them a lot easier to connect with. Might be the fact that they have an overall ageless feeling, or because they don't feel as gendered as most fictional people. Or maybe it's simply because animals are cute!

I'm not sure about the answers to any of these questions, but I do know for a fact that this book made it extremely easy for me to get attached to the characters! Shade, Marina, Frieda were are lovable and memorable characters. Their characterizations were really well written and I had a lot of fun following them throughout the story.

Something else that really made me love this book was the main villain, Goth. I usually love villains POVs, and this time wasn't the exception! I was surprised by how much the book showed, despite it being classified as a childrens story, and I'm quite glad the author decided not to restrain himself to make Goth seem less brutal while still keeping inside the boundaries of the genre.

Even thought the characters more than make up for it, I found the plot to be basic compared to other fantasy books. It was a traveling story and while it wss entertaining for the most part, it dragged at some scenes and had some slight pacing issues. However, as someone who doesn't like many traveling stories, I could get through this one with next to no trouble, so I don't think it was a major problem.

The universe of Silverwing is captivating. The worldbuilding itself may not be the strongest (since the book takes place in a world that's almos exactly like ours) but the magic and bat culture are both very original and full of surprises. The way the bats use their echolocation mixed with a little of fantasy elements made it unique to the series.

The writing was just as brilliant, in my opinion. It was easy to read and conveyed emotions without effort. The actions flowed well and the reading was smooth! I also really liked the detail about the narration never mentioning any color besides black, white and silver; I hadn't noticed it while reading but I think it's really neat!

Silverwing is definitely a novel worth reading. It's fun, imaginative, and full of sympathetic characters! I'm sure most people will love it, and I recommend it to anyone who likes books centered around animals or just fantasy in general!
Profile Image for Rick Dobrowolski.
218 reviews2 followers
December 2, 2017
Wow, this book was excellent! Animal fantasy using bats as the main characters - you have to be creative to pull something like that off. I forget where I saw a recommendation for this series, but, initially, I thought, no way. Then I saw it at a used bookstore for cheap and bought the first two books. Partway into the first, I realized that this series is special. There's some odd relationships going on in the book, but I'm assuming that Oppel is laying out the immaturity of the main characters. Hopefully, Shade will grow up soon. Of course, he was just born a few months ago, so I guess that I have to give him some slack in acting like a pre-teen that has seen way too many Hollywood teen romances.

This series is a definite read aloud to your kids. Bonus points if you use different voices for the different characters. Extra bonus points if you figure out what bats would sound like if they could talk.
Profile Image for Annalie.
252 reviews59 followers
January 6, 2023
I remember reading this book for the first time when I was very young and visiting the local library with my family. This one and the next two in the series stayed with me ever since, even through the time when I couldn’t remember what they were called and could only describe them as the books about bats.

In my memory the books were big and thick.

A few years ago I was finally able to track the titles of these books down and began searching for somewhere I could read them again.

Last week I found this book on the Libby app and finally read it again and WOW IT IS SO GOOD.

I was nervous that it wouldn’t be as good now that I’m so much older, but I still absolutely loved it!! It was so good to read about Shade again after so long, and I’m even more convinced now that I need to get my hands on some physical copies that I can own forever.

Nostalgia has won this round!
Profile Image for Madeleine.
132 reviews11 followers
May 22, 2022
Sometimes you've just got to reread the formative children's books of your childhood. This one stands up. A masterclass in worldbuilding, for real. Within pages I was immersed in bat culture again, from mosquito hunting, owl sentinels, and winter migrations, to cannibal vampire bats, bat gods and mysterious bands! Not even mentioning the rat princes, Remus and Romulus. What a book, man!! I might just have to reread the rest of the series now.
3 reviews1 follower
May 24, 2019
The book made by Kenneth Oppel has made many kids wanting to read. It makes them read by making a story of a bat and its journey after doing something that is not allowed by the owls. This book is a gateway book for kids who like to see these journey style books. It was read to me when i was in 5th grade and our teacher would read it to us. This book is about a bat who sees the sun and is hunted down. It tells a story of how he gets separated during a winter migration and finds himself alone, but finds a friend for the journey ahead of him.

After reading this extraordinary book, I believe it would be the best book for kids in 3rd through 5th grade. The author teaches in the book that you can’t be forced to not do something. It also teaches you that if you keep pushing, you can get back to where you want to be. We learn that even the smallest bat can affect people in a big way.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kayden.
3 reviews
May 20, 2020
This book was a really good but around the middle of it, I thought that it was quite boring. My favorite part was defiantly the end. My favorite character is Marina because she plays a big part in the whole story.
341 reviews
February 15, 2021
I know I'm meant to be too old for this kind of book, but sometimes it's good to read something you can finish in a day that's absolutely absurd and childish and so good. I love adventure books, and I find the idea of bat fantasy really cool, so this was great!
Profile Image for Kimberlyn.
197 reviews1 follower
October 9, 2021
I remember virtually nothing of this trilogy, except that the books were a bit weird. Just encountered something on the internet that made me randomly remember these titles suddenly. Thought I'd add them to my goodreads.
Profile Image for Abigail G.
496 reviews2 followers
January 7, 2018
I did not enjoy the book even though it was a nice storyline as it had way too many weird religious ideas imprinted into the characters, especially for a children's book.
Profile Image for Zora.
1,279 reviews52 followers
August 1, 2021
Much more MG than Oppel's newer series I just read. This novel about an undersized bat and his adventures should really appeal to 9 or 10 year old boys.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 664 reviews

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