The title most likely refers to Winter slowly turning into a much kinder and warm-hearted dragon.Winter Turning follows Moon Rising and precedes Escaping Peril.
Winter Turning is the seventh book in the New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series, the second book in the second arc, and is the first book to feature an IceWing as the main character. It was published on June 30th, 2015. The main protagonist of the book is a male IceWing dragonet and prince named Winter, who first appeared in the sixth book in the Wings of Fire series, Moon Rising.
Daring mission..... or deadly mistake?
Winter has been a disappointment to his royal IceWing family his entire life. When his sister, Icicle, runs away from Jade Mountain Academy, fleeing terrible crimes and possibly planning to commit more, Winter knows that they need a second chance to make things right -- if only he can find her.
Winter's new clawmates, Moon, Qibli, and Kinkajou, won't let him make this dangerous journey alone. They don't seem to understand that IceWings, the most superior of all dragon tribes, can fix their own problems. When their search leads the dragonets straight into Queen Scarlet's vicious talons, Winter is grateful to have some help. But even the bravest dragons can't follow him to the Ice Kingdom, where he'll have to face the greatest threat of all: His own family.
The book begins two years earlier from Hailstorm's POV. He is taking his younger brother, Winter, out flying to find a scavenger den near SkyWing territory. Winter becomes increasingly worried, that the farther they go out, they may be caught by the SkyWings; but Hailstorm assures him that he could fight off a couple of SkyWings if they did get caught, and they were doing this for Winter's "weird little obsession". Hailstorm continues to boast about his position in the Ice Kingdom and being second-in-command of the IceWing army.
Suddenly, fourteen SkyWings appear from the trees behind them, prepared to kidnap the two IceWing princes. Hailstorm threatens to kill the SkyWings that dare to come close with his frostbreath, but the main SkyWing in front doesn't seem to care. So Hailstorm attempts make a deal to let Winter go and just take him instead. Winter is completely against the idea and tries to be brave and stay with Hailstorm, so his older brother starts insulting him and calling him useless, knowing that was the only way to get Winter to leave. Finally, the SkyWings let Winter go and knock out Hailstorm.
Later, when Hailstorm wakes up, he realizes he is face to face with Queen Scarlet. A strange SkyWing (probably Chameleon wearing the "Pyrite mask" is standing near the Queen's throne. After a little chat, Scarlet tells the strange Skywing that Hailstorm was dangerous and he needed to be imprisoned. So the SkyWing turns and approaches him, making the IceWing prince feel cold with fear; and when she reached him, she reached for something around her neck. Hailstorm, too hypnotized by her eyes to move, couldn't run. He noticed that her eyes weren't SkyWing eyes anymore. Her eyes were black and they were going to swallow him whole.
Part 1: A Cold Wind
Winter remembers about the time he disappointed his family when he was two years old. He was out in the courtyard of the Ice Palace along with his sister and brother, Hailstorm and Icicle, his parents, two of Glacier's dragonets, and others. Tundra discusses about catching a polar bear for Queen Glacier and after some more talking, they all set out to hunt.
Winter decides to head out towards the open sea, knowing that polar bears were often on islands off the coast. After some searching around, he finally spots a female polar bear with two of her cubs. But before he can kill them all, he spots a loner scavenger with a spear and is also willing to hunt the polar bears. As Winter wonders about it, his mother suddenly yells at him and Winter tries to catch the polar bears but they disappear into a passageway.
Disappointed in his son, Narwhal yells at Winter and Icicle taunts him about the failed hunt. Winter glances back at the scavenger, not deciding to tell his parents about it, to make sure it was OK. The hunting incident sends Winter down to the Fifth Circle. Winter remembers that he had struggled to make his way back up to the rankings and tried so hard, with no luck, to do so. He later remembers about Hailstorm and his dumb decision to leave him there and why it was all his fault. The memory ends and Winter is now standing in the middle of a downpour in a forest looking down at his scavenger, where he is in the cage that Winter had build. As Winter tries to make Bandit leave by setting him free, he hears his name and turns around, seeing the rest of his winglet, Moon, Qibli, Kinkajou, and Turtle, running up to him. He demands to know why they were all here and Moon says that they were looking for him.
Later they discuss how they will go about rescuing Hailstorm from Ex-Queen Scarlet. Winter, not wanting all of them to go, quickly tricks Turtle to go off to take care of Anemone and go back to Jade Mountain. Qibli then tells Winter that it will be harder to get rid of the rest of them. The group decides to go to the RainWing Kingdom to find Icicle. Qibli reasoned that Icicle would go to the rainforest to get Queen Glory who is hated by Ex-Queen Scarlet for what Queen Glory did to her in the first book, The Dragonet Prophecy. After landing next to a river, Winter gets suspicious, when Moon comments on how he must hate it there because of the heat. Qibli was about to eat an orange toad, but Moon stopped him due to its terrible effects and offered him a dragon fruit instead. Winter mentioned how he hates fruit and immediately tries to eat a sloth but is stopped by Exquisite. Queen Glory was upset that she got a message from the school saying that four five-year-olds were going off to find some dragon (Icicle) who just tried to kill Starflight, and then stop someone else who had tried to kill them "ninety dozen times" (Ex-Queen Scarlet). Winter explains that he came to search for his sister, and he requested that no one got in his way. Glory told him that they were more than capable, then mistakes a RainWing guard's name for 'Banana'. Winter declines the fruit, but as he does, a RainWing, Heliconia, appeared, claiming not to be the RainWing, Banana. Glory asks Heliconia to get the scout captains to meet at the pavilion as soon as possible. Heliconia says that she should stay to guard Glory, but Glory says "I think seven guards are quite sufficient," making Deathbringer say that there was no point in a secret invisible guard if the Queen tells everyone about it. They meet the scout team and Queen Glory asks if they have seen an IceWing. They all answer no, so Moon asks if they have seen anything suspicious. A RainWing scout shows them the spot, and they find a NightWing's dead body. Queen Glory assembles search parties for Icicle and sends Moon, Winter, Kinkajou, and Qibli to the dragonet wingery. To escape and find Icicle before anyone else does, they start a game of "hide-and-seek" with RainWing and NightWing dragonets, and while they are distracted, Winter freezes a hole in the wall, and the four of them jump through. Kinkajou explains that they won't give up until they have searched every square inch of the "wingery". Moon leads the way through the trees. Winter plans to ditch them and go home, or find Icicle but fails to execute the plan, because Moon alerts the group of a nearby search party. The group hides under a nearby fallen tree to not be caught.
After the search party leaves, Winter wonders if Moon was right, that he did have a confusing mind. He remembers his first rankings test, with Hailstorm and Icicle and he wonders why his Winglet was risking their lives for him. He wonders if he could ditch them now, as they were distracted. Kinkajou reprimands Winter, telling him "The words you're looking for are thank you". Winter decides maybe it's better to follow them, just for a little while longer. They later come up to the secret NightWing island tunnel. The group marvels at how Kinkajou survived being a NightWing prisoner, and how she doesn't hold a grudge against them. They find a huge dragon that got caught in the volcano and died with it's talons up, most likely Morrowseer. Winter tells the story of Prince Arctic and Foeslayer, and how she kidnapped the animus dragon. They later had eggs, and one of them was Darkstalker. Each IceWing could only use their animus magic once, to create a gift for the tribe. Moon hears a sccccccccrape sound, and they follow it, finding Icicle.
Icicle is in a horrible condition. Her wounds from Jade Mountain Academy hadn't healed, she's covered in red and blue blood, and she hasn't slept to avoid seeing Scarlet in her dreams. Icicle explains that she would sit by the lava when she got tired, and the heat would wake her up. Kinkajou attacks Icicle because she insulted Queen Glory, but right before Icicle kills her, Glory comes up with a tranquilizer dart, and arrests Icicle for "murder and attempted murder." As Icicle tries to fight sleep, Winter tells her to make Scarlet tell her the truth, and that if she does, Winter will kill Glory. Kinkajou admits to leaving a trail for the queen to find them. Qibli asks Moon if she can get into Icicle's dream and find out what Scarlet is telling her. Moon says she's trying, but that she's sleeping too deeply to dream.
When Winter walks up, Moon tells Winter that Scarlet has left. Winter then asked Moon if Icicle was alright, and if Scarlet said anything about Hailstorm. Moon says that she trusts that Winter won't kill Glory, because if Winter does, then that might start a war between the IceWings and Glory's two tribes. Moon states that she thinks that Winter won't kill any dragonets, and that Winter doesn't just think about himself, that he thinks about his tribe too. Winter says that sometimes he only knows one thing: that he hopes he will never hurt Moon. Kinkajou then comes up behind Winter, and says she figured it out. Moon follows Kinkajou into the pavilion, as Winter calms himself. As Winter steps in, he sees Kinkajou under the firefly jars. Moon draws a picture of a mountain that she saw behind Scarlet from a dreamvisitor. No one recognizes it, but Moon says it will be easy to track Scarlet down, now that they know she is near a really odd shaped mountain. Kinkajou comments on how awesome Moon's powers are, and how lucky she is.
Part 2: In the Claws of the Clouds
Deathbringer can't identify the mountains that Moon saw but tells them that the Talons of Peace might have a SkyWing that can. The four dragonets and Deathbringer head off to find them and pass by a scavenger den. The scavengers try to hit Qibli with a weapon, but Winter blasts frostbreath at the spear, knocking it off course. He tells them to move to a higher spot to avoid being hit.
After explaining and drawing the weapon for Qibli, Winter is attacked by Squid. Riptide, who had followed Squid, tells him to leave the dragonets alone. He can't identify the mountains either, so he calls other dragons, including Cirrus the IceWing and Pyrite the SkyWing. Winter doesn't remember Cirrus, because Cirrus had been in the Talons of Peace before he was born. Pyrite remembers the mountains and offers to lead them to it. Winter touches her scales and identifies her as an animus dragon.
While everyone is asleep that night, Winter tells Moon about his theory. Moon tells him that Pyrite's thoughts are all basically the same thing, as if she didn't think anything else. They wonder if she could be the part of the prophecy; "Beware the one who is not what she seems." However, Qibli points out that Pyrite couldn't be an animus because the SkyWings hadn't had one possibly as long as the IceWings.
In the morning, they see the mountain peak and find a scale, which Pyrite identifies as Scarlet's. The group searches the valley, but with no signs other than the destroyed structure. Scarlet visits Winter's dreams that night and tells Winter that she is going to kill Hailstorm in the morning. After realizing that Scarlet must have seen them to dreamvisit him, Moon, Qibli, and Winter head off to find Scarlet. The are able to find her, and see that Scarlet has a NightWing ally. Scarlet decides she no longer has any use for Hailstorm and sends the NightWing to go get Pyrite. Pyrite is necessary for the death of Hailstorm.
The trio flies back to their camp, waking up Pyrite and Kinkajou. Winter starts fighting with Pyrite, and then Kinkajou shrieks upon the NightWing's arrival. He strikes her three times and then knocks her into a tree. Moon and Winter spray fire and frostbreath on him until he flies away. While Moon is seeing to Kinkajou's wounds, Winter takes off Pyrite's special necklace. When he does, Pyrite turns into Hailstorm. Hailstorm has almost no memories of the past two years and tries to remember more, but it is difficult for him. Their reunion is cut short when they recall Kinkajou's current state.
The trio takes turns carrying Kinkajou to Possibility, a town in the SandWing kingdom. Moon and Kinkajou are taken to a MudWing doctor named Mayfly. Hailstorm, Qibli, and Winter wait in the garden, where they dissassemble Pyrite's necklace, discovering the strange piece of paper. Winter tries it on and ultimately regrets his choice. Winter forgets everything about being an IceWing until Qibli takes the necklace off.
Winter decides to take Hailstorm back to the IceWing kingdom. Moon is trying to make him stay but he leaves and tells Moon that they were never friends, and he could never trust a NightWing. Then he and his brother leave to the Ice Kingdom.
Part Three: Beneath the Ice
As they go to the Ice Kingdom, Winter explains the Great Ice Cliff for Hailstorm to remember. He says it was animus touched that if any dragon from another tribe were to pass, it would attack them except IceWings. As the enter the palace, Winter and Hailstorm meet their father, who says, "So. My two sons have returned to me. One I thought would never come back - the other I hoped never would." Winter looks at the rankings and sees Icicle and himself the last circle. Narwhal is extremely displeased with Winter for his actions, but Hailstorm claims that Winter did so to save his life. The next day during a rankings ceremony, Narwhal adds Hailstorm back into the rankings. However, he was placed into the bottom of the Seventh Circle. Winter was moved into first place for bringing Hailstorm home. Hailstorm then attempted the Diamond Trial, which took place at sunset the next day. On the flight there, Winter tells Queen Glacier everything that had happened since he left Jade Mountain. However, he leaves out a few things. Once they arrive at the Diamond Caves, Glacier makes a small speech. Winter and Hailstorm then enter the Diamond Caves.
Hailstorm and Winter go deep into the ice caves. Winter is appalled to see that there are almost a hundred dragons encased in ice. Hailstorm then flies over to the spot where Foeslayer is frozen. He taps on the frozen dragon, bringing Foeslayer to life. They introduce themselves, and then Hailstorm attempts to kill her. Foeslayer is about to stab him with the spear when Winter knocks her aside. Winter tries to make scenarios where the both live, but Hailstorm disagrees to all of them. Foeslayer's requests for one of them to kill her, which Hailstorm does. Winter then tells Hailstorm to go out and claim victory, and that he will sneak out later and stay away from the Ice Kingdom. Several hours later, Winter revives Foeslayer and tells her how much she stole when she took away the tribe's animus dragons. She argues that the IceWings may have used the magic for evil, and also reveals the fact that she didn't steal Prince Arctic. Winter frees Foeslayer, and proceeds to go with her, as she knew exactly where the "Lost Kingdom of Night" was.
Darkstalker listens in on the thoughts of various dragons at Jade Mountain. He learns that Onyx is planning something with some old dragon, and thinks about how the possible futures will play out and if they will work to his advantage. After studying Anemone's futures, he moves on to Peril. He theorizes that she might be the 'Talons of Power and Fire', and notes that she could change everything.
- Instead of The _ _ title pattern for the book titles, Moon Rising and Winter Turning appear to follow a pattern of the main character's name and a gerund. This pattern does not continue after Escaping Peril.
- This is the third book where the dragon on the cover is not flying, the other two being The Dark Secret and The Lost Heir
- Instead of a preview to Escaping Peril, Winter Turning has the special edition letter seen in The Brightest Night.
- Winter Turning and The Dark Secret have the same number of pages: 295.
- If Darkness of Dragons gets Kinkajou on the back cover, this will be the only book from the JMP era without a dragon on the back cover.