Talons of Power is the ninth in the New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series and the fourth book in the second arc. The main protagonist is Prince Turtle.
It picks up right after the eighth book in the Wings of Fire series, Escaping Peril.
For every villain, there is a hero . . .
Turtle isn’t one of the heroes he reads about in stories. If he were, he’d use his animus powers to help Pyrrhia — instead of keeping his abilities a secret, even from his own sister. Now that Darkstalker, the sinister and impossibly old dragon from Pyrrhia’s most notorious legends, has returned, Turtle knows his own role is simple: hide. And stay hidden.
The other dragons at Jade Mountain Academy, on the other hand, think Darkstalker is fascinating. He charms everyone he meets, including Turtle’s most skeptical friends. They all seem convinced that the ancient dragon has changed.
Turtle isn’t so sure. The more he watches Darkstalker from the shadows, the more Turtle knows that someone needs to stop the powerful dragon. A real hero. But Turtle is running out of time to find one, which means . . . he might have to try to save the day himself.
King Gill swims to The SeaWing Royal Hatchery and arrives to find out one of the guards, Abalone, is extremely sick with a strange growth on his neck. Gill wants to take him to the healers, but he couldn't leave the eggs unguarded, as Abalone was in no condition to protect them from an assassin. So he goes out quickly, finds a group of princes and asks in aquatic who could find Snapper and send her to go to the Royal Hatchery to guard the eggs. Prince Turtle volunteers and Gill tells him to go as fast as he can.
Gill returns to Abalone and waits for Snapper to come. But time goes by and Snapper doesn't arrive, with Gill getting angrier at Turtle for not coming, and getting angry at himself for not giving better orders. Gill eventually swims to the healers and brings them to Abalone, but by the time he and the healers get back, Abalone is unconscious as the growth on his neck burst and the female eggs were destroyed. Gill roars in fury and rushes out of the hatchery. He sees Queen Coral, returning from a meeting with Blister, and he goes forward to tell her the news. She sees the look on his face and covers her head with her wings, unable to see him say the bad news in aquatic.
Gill sees Turtle near his brothers but not playing with them; he rushes over and grabs his son by his wing. He roars, asking where he has been. Turtle, terrified, says he was searching for Snapper but didn't know where to look or what she looked like, while fiddling with a piece of coral in his talons. Gill tells him that he shouldn't volunteer for jobs he couldn't do. He continues, saying it was all Turtle's fault and his sisters are dead because of him. Turtle is shocked and upset, and Gill feels a pang of guilt for blaming a small dragonet, but he goes on to tell Turtle how he's disappointed in him.
Then the SeaWing king swims over to where Queen Coral is and he tells her that it wasn't Abalone and Snapper's fault. Coral says she sent them to be executed anyway. Coral says the next daughter will live, but Gill doesn't seem so sure. Coral promises she will stay by her side all year, and that they would name her Anemone.
Part One: A Dragon Awakes Edit
Book Nine begins with Darkstalker escaping from the mountain. Turtle is immediately frightened so he enchants a stick to make Darkstalker forget that Turtle exists, and to make him unable to read his mind and mentions of him in other dragons' minds. Turtle then has a flashback of when he wrote stories in which he was the hero who saved his family and the tribe. It is implied that he did this because he wanted his mother, Queen Coral, to notice him. However, when he had the chance to save his family for real he blew it. After that Turtle swore never to write again.
In the present, Darkstalker claims he is not evil but hungry, and Peril tries to scorch him, but he is undamaged and pushes her aside. Darkstalker says that when Peril burned the scroll, his animus magic returned to him and he was free. He also takes note that he grew regularly while sleeping for 2000 years which is why he is huge. After Winter challenges Darkstalker, Turtle notices "something strange in Winter's blue eyes" and suddenly he starts agreeing with everything Darkstalker says. Moon accuses Darkstalker of using his powers to hush up the IceWing, but Darkstalker denies it, although the evidence seems to be against him. Throughout the whole chapter Darkstalker says that he is very hungry and asks if Moon and her friends want to go hunting with him. The chapter ends when the others tell Turtle to go to Jade Mountain to get help. Turtle goes claiming that he is not a hero, but he can find heroes at Jade Mountain, while the other dragonets go hunting with Darkstalker.
Turtle goes to Jade Mountain to warn the dragons about Darkstalker. He goes to an underground pool, where Pike, Anemone and Tamarin are. Turtle warns Anemone about Darkstalker, but she is eager to meet the other animus, not seeing why she should be afraid, and goes to find him with Pike. Turtle stays with Tamarin. After a while Tamarin convinces Turtle to let her take care of herself and that he should go warn the school. He finds Sunny and Tsunami arguing about the cactus bombs, and how Fierceteeth and Strongwings escape, and how Queen Glory is in danger. He tells them about Darkstalker and Moon's powers. They stop by the library so Starflight can tell them about it, then Darkstalker pops his head through a window, asking for scrolls about Fathom and Clearsight, when Mightyclaws, Mindreader, and Fearless attack Darkstalker. They don't succeed in hurting him due to his invulnerable scales. Clay and Sunny arrive, and Darkstalker tells Sunny that he is her ancestor, as she was descended from Whiteout. Then Anemone arrives, revealing two copper armbands she enchanted to control the weather. Darkstalker tells her that he has been wanting to meet her, and they go and talk.
Turtle then finds his winglet, who are charmed by Darkstalker. As Peril goes to find Clay, Qibli suggests that Turtle should continue to hide and spy on Darkstalker. He finds Darkstalker and Anemone talking in the main entrance cave about enchanting something to protect their souls. Darkstalker enchants a breastplate used as a bracelet for himself and a silver necklace for Anemone, much to Turtle's horror because he could have placed another enchantment on the necklace. For the rest of the day, Darkstalker talks to students and Anemone sits with him. Flame approaches and Darkstalker heals his scarred face for him, and then Flame leaves.
Moon then comes, leading the other three NightWing students and introducing them to Darkstalker. He tells the NightWings what it was like in his time. Then he enchants Mindreader's bracelet so she can read minds, Mightyclaws's earring so whatever he draws will come to life, and Fearless's bracelet so she can have superstrength. Darkstalker tells everyone that Moon can read minds as well. Then Moon and Darkstalker have a vision about someone trying to kill Stonemover, and they hurry to his cave with Turtle following. They find Stonemover bleeding in his cave, barely alive. Anemone enchants a bone to lead her to his attacker, and Darkstalker enchants a stalactite to heal Stonemover's wounds. Stonemover comes back to life but finds that his scales turn back to normal, and he becomes scared, repeatedly saying "these aren't my claws". He goes on the yell that he won't use them to hurt anyone again, he screeches, and Moon yells that he's trying to hurt himself with his magic. Darkstalker turns him back to normal to make Stonemover stop worrying so much.
Anemone arrives with the killer, who is Flame. Flame says that he tried to murder Stonemover for refusing to heal his scar. Darkstalker takes Flame's pouch and empties it, revealing his library card and the third dreamvisitor. Darkstalker says that Flame is the darkness of dragons and the stalker of dreams. Darkstalker enchants Flame's library card to trap Flame, chaining one of his talons to the floor.
Darkstalker then asks Moon if she wants to fly with him, and Moon declines. Anemone says that she'll fly with Darkstalker and that she's much more interesting than Moon. Darkstalker decides to fly alone. Turtle goes to Qibli and Winter's cave and asks to sleep there, as it is lonely in his cave without Umber. Qibli immediately accepts, and they start talking about Darkstalker. Turtle tells them everything he saw that day, and Winter is still very supportive of Darkstalker and leaves offended by Qibli and Turtle's mistrust of Winter's instincts.
Qibli and Turtle start talking about what to do, And Qibli suggests that Turtle make him an animus. Turtle feels a wave of guilt and declines. Qibli finally asks for Turtle to enchant his earring to make the wearer immune to any spell Darkstalker has cast or will cast. Soon after, Darkstalker comes down the small tunnel and asks if they've seen Anemone anytime recently. Turtle and Qibli realize that Darkstalker has given himself the ability to sense animus magic being used.
After Darkstalker leaves, they decide to have Turtle follow Darkstalker to the rainforest while they use a pair of slates, enchanted by Turtle, so Turtle can send messages to Qibli. When he exits the cave, he sees Peril accidentally put some scrolls on fire. She apologizes and Turtle asks her how her talk with Clay went. She says that it went OK and then says that there was hugging. Turtle leaves and prepares to follow the NightWings to the rainforest.
Part Two: Rise To Power Edit
Turtle follows Darkstalker, Anemone, Mightyclaws, Fearless, and Mindreader to the rainforest. On their way there, Anemone questions Turtle on why he had chosen to come along, and Turtle asks her the same thing back. Darkstalker and the others swoop down into the rainforest, and land on a stage set up in the NightWing village, where Queen Glory and the entire NightWing tribe are waiting for him. Sunny had informed the tribe of Darkstalker's arrival via Dreamvisitor, despite him telling her not to do so. Darkstalker delivers a speech in which he tells the NightWings about the Night Kingdom and how they are superior to all tribes, he tells Queen Glory that they should have a vote to see whether he should rule the tribe or she should. Glory refuses, saying she wouldn't force any of her NightWings to go with Darkstalker.
Glory makes the decision to allow anyone who wants to stay in the rainforest can, while whoever wanted to join Darkstalker could go with their own free will. In order to appeal more to the NightWings, Darkstalker decides to give away free powers to whoever follows him to the old NightWing kingdom, where he will become the king. He then gives several NightWings the power to catch any prey, advanced hunting skills, and more. Suspecting that the reason why most dragons were welcoming Darkstalker too easily was because Darkstalker had cast a spell on them, Turtle had tested his theory on Qibli, who had said that his instincts were trusting Darkstalker while his mind was telling him Darkstalker was not to be trusted. After Turtle had enchanted Qibli's earring, Qibli had then said that a calmness that was in his mind earlier was now gone. This then leads Turtle to realize that Darkstalker was using a spell to trick most dragons. However, he realized that some dragons didn't seem to be affected (like Moon).
Turtle then realized that he needed someone else who was in the rainforest with who could help him. He searched Queen Glory, with the help of a coral he enchanted (in the past) to help him find whatever he was looking for. He found Glory but was momentarily stopped by Deathbringer. After speaking with Glory, she told him that Kinkajou was still comatose and that she had been brought to the rainforest in hopes that the sun would help her recover. Glory and Deathbringer both stated Darkstalker seemed nice and charming.
Turtle went to visit Kinkajou, he found her still in a coma, with nobody knowing what was wrong. Turtle didn't want to heal her with his own power, so he finds Anemone for help, which she feels irritated by but then turned sympathetic and teases Turtle about his crush on Kinkajou. They go back to the healers, where Anemone heals Kinkajou by enchanting the RainWing's skyfire, and Turtle enchants the stone to make Kinkajou to be as uninteresting as possible to Darkstalker. Anemone, being mischievous, adds a love spell to make Kinkajou love Turtle as much as Turtle loves her. Turtle strongly objects, but Anemone doesn't budge. Once again, Darkstalker senses that Anenome used her power and asks her about the enchantment. Anemone says that she healed Kinkajou, and Darkstalker relented, recognizing her as Moon's friend and claims that he wanted to heal her as well.
After giving some animus advice to Anemone, Glory and Deathbringer land and Glory asks Darkstalker how he found the RainWing village. Darkstalker says that he followed the sounds of the RainWings thinking and that he came because he wanted to warn Glory about five dragons that were on their way to the Rainforest Kingdom to murder Glory. He predicted that they would most likely attack at night and, unless he stopped them, they would succeed in killing Glory. Deathbringer disagrees and says that he could handle the assassins himself but Darkstalker says that even if Deathbringer fights all five of them, he would get stabbed by a SandWing tail and die. Glory questions Darkstalker why SandWings would attack her and Darkstalker replies that they're working with a pair of NightWings.
Darkstalker then enchants a tree branch to build an indestructible prison that can hold ten prisoners. He throws the branch to the ground, where the prison is formed on the forest floor, much to the RainWings horror. Darkstalker then gives the keys to Glory, who accepts them distastefully.
Glory, Deathbringer, and Anemone then go with Darkstalker to visit the prison. Turtle and Kinkajou stay in the pavilion and talk about Darkstalker and his magic. Turtle tells her that he suspects Darkstalker using a spell to make everyone who meets him think he is nice and trustworthy. Turtle then explains Darkstalker's history to Kinkajou and Kinkajou gets upset and says that she missed everything.
Turtle points out that since he and Kinkajou are the only ones safe from Darkstalker, Kinkajou has to stop him. Kinkajou disagrees and says that she would rather do it with Turtle. Turtle protests but Kinkajou reasons with him, and she goes out to study Darkstalker to find out what he enchanted to hypnotize everyone else in order to destroy it. Kinkajou tells Turtle why Darkstalker can't hurt her, and Turtle tells her about the spell he put on her. This shocks Kinkajou and Turtle tells her that he's also an animus. Turtle tells her to not tell anybody and Kinkajou says OK and then Turtle also explains about the hiding spell he cast to erase him from Darkstalker's existence.
After some more talking, the two dragons go out into the rainforest to see what Darkstalker is up to. They see a large ring of fire on the forest floor and the figures of Queen Glory, Darkstalker, and the others. They settled near where the prison is at and outside the circle of flames but close enough for them to hear Darkstalker and the others. Turtle thinks about the love spell on Kinkajou and then thinks about Umber and wanting to use his magic to see if the MudWing was all right. Kinkajou starts to make fun of Darkstalker and then starts saying that she wishes that she was somebody that dragons would notice and remember. Turtle tells her that she was somebody to him and then Darkstalker suddenly says that the five escaped prisoners were here and he steps over the fire and walks into the night.
After a while later, Darkstalker comes back dragging four dragons behind him, all linked by chains around their ankles and necks. One of the prisoners, a female NightWing, yells at Darkstalker to let them go. Darkstalker presents the prisoners to Glory and blows out most of the fire from the burning ring only leaving a small section of it. He asks Glory if she would like him to dispose of them and the female NightWing snaps at the two SandWing prisoners with the last prisoner being a male NightWing. Glory recognizes the two NightWings as Fierceteeth and Strongwings and tells Darkstalker that she wants to talk to them first.
Glory tells Fierceteeth about what was her plan on coming to the Rainforest Kingdom and Fierceteeth responds that she wanted to take the NightWing throne to become queen. Darkstalker tells her that it was all taken care of and makes Strongwings bow, saying that he would be the NightWings' ruler. Fierceteeth snaps at Darkstalker saying that he cannot rule the tribe because he was a male and then asks him who he was.
Darkstalker tells her his name and Strongwings gets frightened repeating that they were all going to die. Fierceteeth doesn't believe Darkstalker and says that she wasn't scared of him at all. Anemone jumps in saying that it is Darkstalker and Fierceteeth tells Darkstalker that if it really was him then she wanted to challenge him for the throne, believing that she would be better at it than anyone else. Darkstalker tells Glory to grant Fierceteeth her mercy and to give her to him to take her to the Night Kingdom so she'll never have to bother Glory ever again. Fierceteeth asks Darkstalker about the Night Kingdom and he replies, talking about the old Night Kingdom and how she'll love it. Deathbringer questions about Fierceteeth's punishment but Glory agrees with Darkstalker and asks Fierceteeth that if she would leave the rainforest, her friends, and her tribe alone if she gave her a second chance.
Fierceteeth questions Darkstalker about really being in charge of something and Darkstalker says yes and tells her to think about it overnight in the prison. The SandWings ask about what was going to happen to them and Glory tells them that Queen Thorn was going to decide but in meantime, they would also go inside the prison. She gives the keys to Darkstalker and he shuts them all inside the prison.
Glory tells Deathbringer about not being quite sure about trusting her decisions and feeling something weird. Closing the prison door, Darkstalker tells Glory that since all that was taken care of, he was going back to his tribe to get some sleep since he would be taking the NightWings to the old Night Kingdom the next day. Deathbringer tells Darkstalker about the fifth prisoner since he had brought four. Darkstalker answers that the fifth prisoner was a SandWing but he was forced to kill him since the SandWing fought back. Glory says that it was unfortunate and that they should find out his name so Queen Thorn would have the information. Darkstalker agrees, saying that he would take care of the body.
Kinkajou tells Turtle that Darkstalker was lying and Turtle agrees. Glory flies away with Deathbringer saying that she would see Darkstalker in the morning. Darkstalker gets left alone with Anemone. As he looks down at the sleeping SeaWing princess, he whispers that it would not be much longer for Anemone's turn to change the world and the chapter ends.
Turtle and Kinkajou spend the night in the healing pavilion. Turtle writes to Qibli, telling him the Kinkajou is awake and he should tell Tamarin.
Part 3: The Lost City of Night Edit
Chapter sixteen starts out with Turtle following Darkstalker. Darkstalker leads the NightWings, Moonwatcher, Anemone, and Turtle to the abandoned Night Kingdom, which is located on the Talon Peninsula. They stop and rest on the outskirts of the kingdom. Turtle sees Darkstalker leaving the camp, and Turtle follows him. They enter the Night Kingdom, and Turtle feels a slight shock, probably from passing over the wall that Darkstalker builds in Darkstalker: Legends to kill any IceWings coming into the city (a mountain range later revealed in Darkness of Dragons to be called Darkstalker's Teeth). Darkstalker enters the school and uses his magic to restore his portrait of Clearsight. Turtle uses a marble to get Darkstalker's attention, causing Darkstalker to think that Clearsight is there, watching him. He urges Clearsight to show herself and apologizes for putting a spell on her. Then he criticizes himself for being so sentimental and says that he can't see Clearsight in any of his futures.
When Turtle returns, he tells them he was checking on Anemone. Moon tells Turtle about the vision she had of him (the one where Turtle pins down Anemone on a beach). Moon assures him it probably won't happen. They then wake up Kinkajou and go into the Night Kingdom. Darkstalker talks about his plans for the Kingdom, mainly talking to Moon. He brings them to the palace, where he shows Anemone the room where Fathom stayed 2000 years ago. He tells Anemone to clean it up with either magic or her own talons, then leaves. Anemone angrily throws a fit, causing her to enchant a broom to whack Moon until she uses it to clean. She also enchants a pile of pebbles to turn into jewels to distract Darkstalker, and an earring to make him like her more and forget about Moon. Darkstalker storms in, and begins to scold Anemone. He freezes Moon, and Kinkajou pretends to be frozen too.
Darkstalker exiles Anemone, telling her to go kill her mother or do whatever she wants now. As Anemone flies to the Kingdom of Sea, Turtle follows her, using his piece of enchanted coral, running into few of his brothers, and he finds Coral with Auklet. Turtle apologizes to her about what happened when he wasn't able to find Snapper and that he couldn't save his sisters. But Coral tells him that Snapper was trying to leave the palace, and that's why Turtle wasn't able to find her. Coral then asks for Turtle's name and promises to remember it.
On one of the SeaWing beaches, Turtle finds Anemone. When she spots him, she gets really angry, blaming everything on Turtle. She starts to attack him, as Turtle uses his magic to fight back. Anemone is confused on how Turtle could do it, claiming that she was the SeaWing animus. Turtle confesses to Anemone that she is an animus, only because of her. He has a flashback to the time where they had the Talons of Power ceremony. Whirlpool is calling Turtle, as they go to the ceremony. Turtle is afraid that they might find out his power, and when his turn comes, he enchants Anemone to become an animus instead. Coral is delighted to see her daughter an animus. Anemone is angry and attacks Turtle. He accidentally makes himself invincible, during the fight, and he is able to end it by tying a piece of kelp to Anemone's arm and enchanting it that whenever she wears it, she can't use spells. Turtle talks to her about her soul, and about how animus dragons choose whether to be good or evil, and it's not based on the soul.
Just as soon as they get ready to head back, Turtle hears Darkstalker's voice, enchanting the room he's in to bring all the animuses in Pyrrhia. Turtle, Anemone, and Stonemover are warped there, as well as a SandWIng who immediately warps away, so nobody notices her. Darkstalker knows there is a hiding animus in the room, and he enchants a spear to bring what the hidden animus cares about most, and Kinkajou is summoned to the room. He also enchants Anemone to obey his every command and tells her to be quiet. Turtle confesses his love to Kinkajou, and she does the same but he tells him that she's only under a spell to like him. Turtle writes in his slate and sends help to Qibli, and gives his stick to Anemone. As soon as Darkstalker sees him, he immediately thinks he's Fathom. He breathes fire on Turtle and Kinkajou, angered, spits venom in his eye. He enchants Kinkajou to get out of the room and to wipe her memory clean of what just happened, although she is unaffected. She gets out of the room and Darkstalker says that it's too bad for him that he looks too much like Fathom, and takes away his animus magic, throwing him in a dungeon. Turtle knows he won't be the one to save the day, but Anemone, Kinkajou, and Qibli would come.
In the SandWing tribe, a group of dragons wearing bird medallions are attacking the SandWings. The SandWings are furious and think, 'Why isn't Queen Thorn protecting us?'. In the SeaWing tribe, a white light shot from the ocean and surrounded some dragonets. The dragonets said they were being attacked, by the vengeful ghost of Albatross. In the IceWing tribe, at least three dragons have caught a disease. The only known ones are Queen Glacier (who was the first to get the plague), Prince Narwhal, and Princess Tundra. Hailstorm asks the messenger if his parents are cured. The messenger says that Tundra and Narwhal are alive but getting worse and that Queen Glacier is dead.
- Tui T. Sutherland said on her blog that the ninth book will be the one to "rip out your heart and stomp on it."
- The only other book with an animus's perspective is Darkstalker (Legends), with Darkstalker and Prince Fathom. This is the first and so far only main series book that has the POV of an animus.
- On the cover, Turtle's phosphoric lights are blue, but in the book, they are described to give off a greenish light.
- Talons of Power is the second shortest book with only 290 pages.
- On the pre-final cover, Turtle didn't have his armband, but on the final cover, it is seen on right upper arm.
- This is the only book cover with a SeaWing that has its phosphoric wing patterns, because, on the cover of The Lost Heir, Tsunami is missing hers.
- Talons of Power is the second main series book with a SeaWing POV (the first being The Lost Heir).
- Anemone is shown on the back cover, but her wing patterns are not shown. This may be because they are not spread against the sunlight, like Turtle's.
- It's confirmed in Talons of Power that Sunny is related to Darkstalker through Whiteout and Thoughtful.
- The book gives another take on what may happen if animus power is used excessively, being, instead of losing your soul, you feel like your power can let you get away with anything, leading to dragons becoming willing to do terrible things, like murder.
- Talons of Power seemed to reference a variety of things and books such as when Anemone told Turtle, "Let's go wake your sleeping beauty" and "With a cloak of invisibility".
- The full cover shows Turtle finding Anemone before their fight that Moon had a vision of. They are at the ruins of the Island Palace, and Anemone is digging for a dagger Whirlpool had left her so she could challenge Queen Coral if she wanted to.
- There was a scene in the book when Darkstalker called all the animus dragons in Pyrrhia to this room. Turtle saw an unknown female SandWing for a split second.
- It is revealed in Talons of Power that there is a ceremony-type of thing that the SeaWings perform that is called the Talons of Power Ceremony that tests dragonets to see if they have animus abilities.
- Clearsight's vision of Darkstalker wearing a crown of twisted metal points from Darkstalker (Legends) is proven to come true at the end of the book.
- In the book, when Turtle was crossing to the Night Kingdom to follow Darkstalker, he felt a "sudden buzzing shock" when he was at the border. He also saw bones in the earth. It is likely that this is the shield Darkstalker put on the kingdom that killed IceWings.