Escaping Peril is the eighth book in the New York Times bestselling, Wings of Fire, series and is the first book to have a SkyWing as the main character. It is the third book in the second arc. The official release date was Tuesday, December 29, 2015, with the cover released on the Scholastic Wings of Fire forums on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Tui T. Sutherland had said that the protagonist was a SkyWing, and was eventually confirmed at an event that it would be Peril.
The most dangerous dragon in Pyrrhia is on a mission...
Peril has been loyal to Queen Scarlet, who used her fatal firescales to kill countless dragons in the SkyWing arena. Now, Peril is loyal to Clay, the only dragonet who has ever been her friend. So when Scarlet threatens Jade Mountain Academy, Peril sets off to find her former queen, stop her, and save the day, no matter what it takes.There's just one problem: a strangely persistent SeaWing, Turtle, insists on coming along too. Turtle is worried about his friends, who left to search for Scarlet and haven't returned. Peril is worried that she might accidentally burn Turtle -- or burn him on purpose, for being so annoying -- and frustrated that she keeps saying and doing the wrong things. She can't escape her firescales, and she can't escape her reputation as deadliest dragon in Pyrrhia. So when she's offered a chance to trade everything for a new life, Peril has to decide who she's really loyal to . . . And whether her own scales might actually be worth saving. Check it out!
The prologue takes place just before the brightest night, from the point of view of Princess Ruby. She recollects the last time she saw her sister, Princess Tourmaline, which was 3 days ago. Tourmaline had been planning to take the throne from Queen Scarlet, with the intention of ending the war. However, she mysteriously vanished the next day without telling Ruby or any other dragons she was going anywhere. While wondering if Scarlet killed Tourmaline, Ruby is called by Scarlet to meet in the throne room. She enters to find several other SkyWings already assembled there, and is told to stand between her brothers, Vermilion and Hawk. Vermilion snorts at her, but Hawk smiles. Ruby wonders if Hawk is acting friendly because he knows she will be dead once she challenges Scarlet. Scarlet then tells the crowd about the SkyWing egg that was stolen to fulfill the prophecy. Her guards carry in all the eggs that were to hatch on the brightest night at her request, and she reveals Peril, who is a very young dragonet at this time. Scarlet declares Peril her future champion, and demonstrates her power by giving her a SkyWing egg to hold. The dragonet inside dies, and the egg burns. Scarlet then tells Peril to touch all of the other eggs, and they are also burnt. The crowd is horrified by this demonstration, and Ruby sees this as proof that she cannot take the throne from Scarlet. It is now that she wonders if Peril killed Tourmaline, and seems to subconsciously blame Peril for the loss of her sister.
Part 1: Scales of Fire
Queen Ruby has come to Jade Mountain Academy to perform the proper SkyWing death rituals for Carnelian. Clay instructs Peril to stay inside her cave until Queen Ruby is gone, but after waiting for a while Peril impatiently (under the impression that Clay had come) leaps into the hallway, nearly bumping into Turtle. Turtle prompts her to eavesdrop on the Carnelian proceedings. They hear a loud roar, and Peril assumes that Queen Ruby was just told of Peril's presence in Jade Mountain. Queen Ruby starts yelling at the Dragonets of Destiny, but is interrupted when Scarlet arrives.
Peril, the old Dragonets of Destiny, Turtle, and Queen Ruby go to confront Scarlet. Scarlet was holding the head of Queen Glory, and then proceeds to throw it at the gathered crowd. Sunny is left screaming in horror while Tsunami gets extremely furious, and chases after Scarlet. Ruby demands why she is in the mountains but Peril claims that the queen can't keep her away from her friends.
Clay, Ruby, and Peril study the head but when Prince Turtle has a look, he recognizes the head as an enchantment. Scarlet had apparently decapitated a MudWing and enchanted its head to look like Glory's. They are shocked that it had been the work of an animus, because there are very few known animus dragons in Pyrrhia. Queen Ruby decides to take the head to Queen Moorhen to identify whose it belonged to.
A little while later, Peril is left alone with Clay . . . and Turtle. Peril asks Clay what he wants her to do. He replies that 'he won't be another Scarlet and tell her what to do'.
Peril figures out what Clay really wants: his friends and academy to be safe. The only way to do that was kill Queen Scarlet, so she sets off through the mountains, with an annoying Turtle who supposedly didn't even have half the stamina Peril did. A little while into their expedition, they were ambushed by four members of the Talons of Peace (Cirrus, a MudWing, Nautilus, and Avalanche), who didn't know who they were or if they were conspiring with Scarlet. After the Talons members confirmed that everyone was on the same side, Turtle and Peril were allowed to continue on to Possibility to find the rest of the Jade Winglet.
Part 2: Possibility
Peril and Turtle stop for dinner, and Turtle shows her how to catch fish without burning them. Peril discovers that Turtle has been rolling a rock between his shoulders, which she thinks is a bit odd, but decides that SeaWings have some ability to heal themselves with river rocks.
The two continue on toward Possibility, and repeatedly catch glimpses of a strange NightWing. When they finally reach the town, Turtle suggests that Peril travel underwater so that she doesn't burn any other dragons, which turns out to be a good tactic. However, when she comes out of the water, a dragonflame cactus explodes at her feet. The explosion doesn't severely injure any dragons, but it does lead Qibli and Moonwatcher to Peril and Turtle.
Once Turtle leaves to go see Kinkajou, Peril gets a bit upset and flies into the desert, where she runs into Winter and Foeslayer, who are traveling back to Possibility. Winter seems enraged to see her, and accuses Peril of conspiring with Scarlet. They fight, and Peril accidently burns Winter when he tackles her. Turtle comes rushing to the commotion along with the others, and is revealed while healing Winter to be an animus, just like two of his sisters. Everyone is surprised by this, but Turtle assures them that he is perfectly fine at the moment. Moon then tells Peril about the prophecy, and Peril discovers that they think the first part is about her. She flies off in a fit, and runs into a SkyWing decked out in jewelry. He claims that he is her father, Soar. He tells her to follow him, and leads her right to Queen Scarlet. After Scarlet rips off Soar's necklace, he is revealed to be a RainWing named Chameleon with invariable scales, who grudgingly hates RainWings for banning him from the Rainforest due to his scales. He admits to being the one who harmed Kinkajou, because she was a RainWing, and probably would have laughed at him like the rest of his tribe. He tells Peril about his animus powers, and offers to give her an enchanted necklace of chains that can remove her firescales. Peril agrees, and under the enchantment, becomes loyal to Queen Scarlet, assisting the former SkyWing queen to take back her kingdom.
Part 3: A New Peril
Scarlet, Peril, and Soar enter the Sky Kingdom, and many SkyWings they pass are still afraid of Peril, because they do not know of the enchantment. They enter the hatchery, where Scarlet is humiliated by some of the dragonets, but she ignores them and asks for her grandson, Prince Cliff. They capture the prince and bring him into the throne room, planning to hold him for ransom until Ruby came and agreed to give up her kingdom in order to keep her son safe. Ruby accuses Peril of killing Tourmaline and betraying her friends, which Scarlet replies to by saying that Tourmaline is still alive, but hidden. Ruby is shocked, but Scarlet dismisses this quickly and forces her to give up her kingdom. An unknown MudWing, seemingly one of Ruby's soldiers, asks Peril what Clay would think. She simply looks at the MudWing and asks who Clay is, making Ruby realize that there is a spell over Peril. Peril states that she was only "following orders" from the first Queen. Ruby orders two of her soldiers to lock her up in one of the dungeons where Kestrel was held.
Later on, Peril and Soar were in charge of guarding Prince Cliff, but after putting him in the highest prison tower under the impression that he couldn't fly, they realize that they had made a big mistake and that Cliff actually could fly, and Cliff managed to escape. Meanwhile Ruby had also escaped from the specially-designed prison cell. Scarlet finds this out, and bursts into the room. As Ruby is pinned down, Scarlet reveals her plans of making Cliff a murderer like Peril, claiming that "he'll be my adorable little weapon." Seeing that Scarlet is planning to hypnotize him, Peril learns of the animus enchantment on herself, and accuses her father Chameleon of betraying her.
Ruby declares a battle for the throne. The SkyWings fly up to the highest spire to see them battle. Ruby is being beat down by Scarlet and losing the fight, until Peril crumples her earring and shows everyone that Ruby was Tourmaline all along, and Scarlet says she made up Ruby because Tourmaline was becoming too dangerous. Tourmaline then finishes the duel by snapping Scarlet's neck and shouting "For the SkyWings!", ending Scarlet's terrible reign. The SkyWing roar out cheering, and Peril hears Turtle in the crowd. He says that he came to rescue her. Cliff starts to cry after seeing that Ruby has now turned into Tourmaline. The SkyWing queen orders Chameleon to turn her back into Queen Ruby.
There was a SkyWing party held, and orchestras gathered around for the coronation. Chameleon was forced to make her Ruby again. Peril apologizes to Ruby for the eggs on Brightest Night. Tourmaline forgives her saying that she is no longer in exile. But a guard storms in, saying that Chameleon has escaped. Turtle brings Peril and the rest of their Winglet to search for him. Peril mentions the scroll, making Moonwatcher desperate to get it back.
As they search the area, they see a NightWing, Shapeshifter, who is Chameleon in disguise. Peril threatens him if he doesn't give the scroll back, but he says that scales as hot as Peril's cannot burn him, and he is well protected, "forseeing" a death among the five. Winter wants to get vengeance after what he did to Kinkajou, but suddenly, Turtle uses his animus abilities. Shapeshifter's armor starts to shake and it attacks him. The scroll is flung out of his talon, into Turtle's. Angry, Chameleon says, "I'll find you! I'll take it back! You'll be sorry! It's mine, it's mine, it's mine!"
The five huddle around a fire, discussing what to do with it. Moon mentions that it already belongs to someone. She reveals that there was an animus dragon who was trapped. Winter immediately realizes that she was talking about Darkstalker. They agree to talk about it in the morning. As Peril wakes up, they see that Moon is gone, taking the scroll with her. Qibli tells her to fly ahead, and catch up to her. Once Peril gets to Jade Mountain, she sees Moon.
Moon tells her about how he enchanted Prince Arctic to be his slave, and made him disembowel himself. The Winglet gets there, and sees Moon hadn't set him free. The five discuss what they could use it for. Qibli starts to yammer on after he mentions fireproof scales, and Winter starts to argue. Moon tries to shut them up as well as Darkstalker, and Peril realizes that good dragons could fight for power and the scroll was too dangerous. Peril burns the scroll, and suddenly, the ground starts shaking and splitting apart. Turtle thinks this is the prophecy, and a dragon slowly rises out of the ground. Darkstalker thanks Peril for all of her help, setting him free.
In the epilogue, Starflight is working late in the library and hears Anemone walking through the halls. Anemone says that she had a nightmare. Starflight asks what it was about, and the SeaWing princess replies that she felt the earth shaking beneath her feet. She added in a whisper that it felt like "something slithering over her grave".
- Instead of following the title pattern of a character name and then a gerund, Escaping Peril is reversed.
- Escaping Peril will be the second book with closeup of a character (Queen Scarlet) other than the main character. The other book being Moon Rising, with a close up of Turtle on the cover.
- It is also the second book to have a book cover represent a scene from the book. The first was Moon Rising when Moonwatcher and Turtle went to the healing pool together. The next, Escaping Peril, was when Peril and Scarlet flew back to the Sky Kingdom with Chameleon, except that Peril has firescales on the cover and Chameleon isn't pictured.
- Some Barnes and Nobles stores in the U.S. had unboxed Escaping Peril since December 22nd.
- In the first release of the cover of Escaping Peril, only Peril's iris was white-blue, later her entire eye was changed to blue for the final book cover.
- Escaping Peril is the shortest book of the main series so far, having only 288 pages.
- In Escaping Peril, Peril wasn't shown with her enchanted necklace.
- This is the first main series book to feature the POV of an adult dragon.