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The third, and apparently last, of Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing/Sunwing novels is a pretty gripping story, but I was a little disappointed at the ending. Not because it was badly written; it just wasn’t the way I wanted it to end!
This time the adventure takes place in the bat underworld, where bats go when they die. Apparently it is a literal underworld, because Shade Silverwing’s newborn son, Griffin, gets sucked down an air shaft opened up by an earthquake, and finds himself alive (for the time being) in the world of the dead. And of course his father has to follow him and try to rescue his son before actual death claims him.
Unfortunately Shade’s bitterest enemy, Goth the cannibalistic vampire bat, is now a resident of said Underworld and is also in on the underworld god’s (Cama Zotz) bid to take over the world of the living. An opportunity to suck the life out of a living victim is rare enough, and vital to Zotz’s evil plan; getting revenge on Shade is icing on the cake! So while Griffin, accompanied by his dead best friend Luna, flaps in search of a legendary tree that is a sort of gateway to the next life, and while Shade searches for him with the help of several other “pilgrim” bats, Goth is gunning for both of them with the supernatural aid of Cama Zotz.
There are also interesting obstacles along the way, such as a cactus that puts out vines that try to trap you, a cave that lulls you with a sense of well-being while the rock crystallizes around you, and a river of pure darkness–plus other problems that only a bat of Shade’s remarkable talents can overcome.
Griffin is a pretty adorable character too. It’s a pity that between him and his father, only one of them can live through the tale. Which is the part I wish was different…but I suppose in a way, it’s the right ending.