Title: Winter Turning
Author: Tui T. Sutherland
Winter is proud to be an IceWing—though his family is constantly disappointed in how he’s not as good as his sister, Icicle, or his brother, Hailstorm. It gets even worse when Hailstorm is captured (also Winter’s fault). Now that Winter knows Hailstorm is still alive, and that there might be a chance to rescue him, he’ll stop at nothing to get his brother back. If only he didn’t have to put up with the other dragons of his winglet, who insist on calling him “friend” . . .
I’m continually impressed at how well Tui T. Sutherland draws her characters. This second set of dragonets is markedly different from the original five, but if anything I think I like them more. This particular volume is told from Winter’s point of view. Winter is complex: on the one hand, he’s cold and stuck-up, but seeing things from his point of view really highlights his insecurities and how he’s starting to like the others. And how much he hates liking the others because that’s not a proper IceWing thing to feel. And how he feels like a failure as an IceWing, anyway, but he’s going to try his best to be a good one.
I love what develops between Winter and Hailstorm, particularly with how the end mirrors the beginning in some surprising ways. And what happened to poor Hailstorm (ouch).
The humor is, as usual, spot-on. Winter makes a particularly funny lead because he’s so earnest in his insistence that these are NOT his “friends” and he does NOT like non-IceWings and why won’t they just let him go off and hunt for Hailstorm by himself? And then he still humbles himself to listen to reason from Qibli or puts himself out to help them, because it’s the right thing to do, and gets all flustered whenever anyone tries to thank him for it.
I also like the additional details about the history of the various tribes (mostly the NightWing/IceWing rivalry in this one), which helps flesh out the past a bit more. And in the other direction, it’s equally interesting to see how the hard-won peace is working out for everyone. The conclusion to The Brightest Night was in some ways a happily-ever-after ending, but these books help to underscore that it really is more than just winning a battle or a throne to end a war.
All in all, it’s almost a shame I read this so close to publication, because now I have to wait for the next one. And that will be rather annoying, because there were some really juicy teases at the very end leading into the next book . . . I rate this book Highly Recommended.