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Spoiler Alert!
This article contains plot details about the recently released book, Talons of Power. It would be best if you did not view this page until after reading the new installment.

    Talons of Power is the ninth book 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 was released on December 27th, 2016.

Talons of Power follows Escaping Peril, and precedes Darkness of Dragons.

It picks up right after the eighth book in the Wings of Fire series, Escaping Peril.

Read the excerpt here!

Summary

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.

Book Synopsis

Prologue

King Gill is swimming to the The SeaWing Royal Hatchery and when he gets there, one of the guards, Abalone, is extremely sick with a strange growth on his neck that was hot and grew larger rapidly. Gill wants to take him to the healers, but he couldn't leave the eggs unguarded. So, he finds a group of princes and asks in aquatic who could find Snapper and send Snapper to go to the Royal Hatchery and guard the eggs quickly. 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 isn't there yet so Gill swims to the healers and brings them to Abalone, but by the time he and the healers gets back, Abalone is dead because the growth on his neck burst and the female eggs were destroyed. Gill looks for Turtle and sees him with his brothers; so he attacks his son, grabbing him 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. 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 tells him he's disappointed in his son.

Then the SeaWing King flies over to where Queen Coral stands and he tells her that it wasn't Abalone and Snapper's fault. Coral says she sent them to be executed anyways. 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

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. 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 off to warn Anemone about Darkstalker. But Anemone 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 and Darkstalker appears asking for scrolls about Fathom and Clearsight, when Mightyclaws, Mindreader, and Fearless attack Darkstalker, but 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. 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. Then Moon 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". Darkstalker turns him back to normal to make Stonemover stop worrying so much. Later 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. Afterwards, Darkstalker enchants Flame's library card to trap Flame. 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 finally decides to fly alone. Turtle goes to Qibli and Winter's cave and asks to sleep there. 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 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 in and asks if they've seen Anemone anywhere nearby. Turtle and Qibli soon 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, to communicate with each other. 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

Turtle follows Darkstalker, Anemone, Mightyclaws, Fearless, and Mindreader to the rainforest. While 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, 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, but Glory refuses, saying how she wouldn't force any of her NightWings to go with Darkstalker. Glory then makes the decision to allow anyone who wants to stay to stay in the rainforest, 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 said that his instincts were trusting Darkstalker while his mind was telling him Darkstalker was not to be trusted. After Turtle enchanted Qibli's earring, Qibli then said that a calmness that was in his mind earlier was now gone. This then lead Turtle to realise that Darkstalker was using a spell to trick most dragons. However, he realised that some dragons didn't seem to be affected.

Turtle then realised that he needed someone else (other than Qibli) who was in the rainforest with him and who could help him. He tried to find 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. When 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 Anenome for help, which she feels irritated by but then turned sympathetic and teases Turtle about his crush of Kinkajou. Afterwards, Anenome heals Kinkajou by enchanting the RainWing's skyfire, and Turtle enchants the stone to make Kinkajou to be as uninteresting as possible to Darkstalker. Anenome, being mischievous, adds a love spell to make Kinkajou love Turtle as much as Turtle loves her. Turtle was strongly against this, but Anenome didn't budge. Once again, Darkstalker senses that Anenome used her power and asks her about the enchantment. Anenome 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 about finding the RainWing village. Darkstalker says that he followed the sounds of the RainWings thinking and that he also 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 about why SandWings would attack her and Darkstalker replies that they're working with a pair of NightWings.

Darkstalker then builds an indestructible prison that can hold ten prisoners from a tree branch with his magic and gives the keys to Glory.

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 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 settle 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 tells him that who was he.

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 tells Darkstalker about what Night Kingdom and he replies 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 wierd. 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 and Deathbringer fly away with Glory 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 more longer for Anemone's turn to change the world and the chapter ends.

Turtle and Kinkajou spend the night in the healing pavillion. Turtle writes to Qibli, telling him the Kinkajou is awake and he should tell Tamarin.

The book ends with Darkstalker taking away Turtle's animus powers.

More soaring in soon!

Trivia

  • 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. This is a result of the sunlight shining against his scales.
  • Talons of Power was said to be the longest book, but it came out with only 290 pages minus the excerpt from Darkstalker (Legends).
  • On the pre-final cover, Turtle didn't have his armband, but on the final cover it is seen on right upper arm.
  • If you look carefully, the whites in his eyes aren't visible in the final cover.
  • 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 book with a SeaWing POV (the first being The Lost Heir), not counting Fathom's POV in Darkstalker (Legends).
    • Though counting Fathom, this would be the third book with a SeaWing PoV.
  • Fan theories suggest that Turtle is the "talons of power" from the Jade Mountain Prophecy
  • 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, unlike Turtle's.
  • It's confirmed in Talons of Power that Sunny is related to Darkstalker through Whiteout and Thoughtful. Stonemover is too, and it is possible that they are both slightly IceWing.
  • It also revealed Fearless is female.
  • 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 people becoming willing to do terrible things, like murder.
  • Talons of Power seemed to reference a variety of things 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 Moon had a vision of started. 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. This could mean that a SandWing animus exists in Pyrrhia in present day, but it might also be an illusion like Turtle thought.
  • 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. That is most likely what the animus test they performed in Fathom's time was called.
  • 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 possible that this is the shield Darkstalker put on the kingdom that killed IceWings.
  • This is the only book, (Not counting any winglets), where we see a sane King Gill.
  • Tui T. Sutherland said on her blog that the ninth book will be the one to "rip out your heart and stomp on it."

Gallery

Cover

Fanart

Wings of Fire books
First Arc  The Dragonet ProphecyThe Lost HeirThe Hidden KingdomThe Dark SecretThe Brightest Night
Second Arc  Moon RisingWinter TurningEscaping PerilTalons of PowerDarkness of Dragons
Winglets  PrisonersAssassinDeserterRunaway
Legends  Darkstalker

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