Scholastic Parents: All of us Wings of Fire fans are so excited for The Poison Jungle! What can kids and their parents expect from this exciting new story?
Amanda Maciel: The Poison Jungle picks up right where we left the dragonets in The Hive Queen, with Sundew, Cricket, and Blue trying to figure out the world they’ve been born into and, hopefully, bring it back from the brink of war. Of course, Sundew isn’t so sure that fighting is such a bad idea. Since being defeated in the last war, she and the other LeafWings have been living in fear and in hiding — in the Poison Jungle, in fact — and plotting revenge. To her, it’s simple: HiveWings are evil and need to be stopped. But of course, it might not be that simple in the end.
SP: Are there any big surprises or plot twists in this book that will shock us?
AM: Readers don’t have to wait long for some super-exciting reveals. The end of Chapter 2 is a big, game-changing character moment, and at the end of Chapter 3, I actually yelped, “What!?” at the manuscript. Wings of Fire is always full of incredible twists, even for the person who’s been editing the series for more than seven years!
SP: Can you tell us a little bit about what the Poison Jungle is? We hear there are carnivorous plants there.
AM: Whoo boy, are there ever! They’re all based on real plants (Google at your peril, ha!). The jungle, located in the northeastern peninsula of Pantala, isn’t a secret, but the SilkWings and HiveWings avoid it thanks to those dragon-eating plants and the extra-scary stories they’ve heard about it all their lives. It’s not a bad spot for the LeafWings to call their secret home, though, and Sundew is an expert at avoiding the vines, flowers, and trees that are always trying to snack on a dragon or two. Of course, the jungle is also hiding a plant that the HiveWing queen might be using to stay in power — but the dragonets will have to figure that out!
SP: Who are some of the new characters we can expect to meet in this book?
AM: Willow is probably the biggest new character in this book, and she teaches us more about the LeafWings than we thought we knew. I think readers will also be happy to see more of Bumblebee, the just-hatched dragonet Cricket saved in The Hive Queen; she’s growing up in a hurry (as dragons do). There are a few other exciting characters I can’t spoil, but suffice to say: Not all of the stories told in the Hives are entirely accurate, and the jungle has been keeping a LOT of secrets!
SP: Let’s say someone is new to the Wings of Fire series: Will they be able to follow along if they start with The Poison Jungle, or should they read the other books first?
AM: Personally, I love the dramatic build of a series. I can’t even watch a TV show unless I’ve been there from the beginning! But I know many kids who jump around in the Wings of Fire books and enjoy the experience just as much. If you want the surprises in Book 13 to be more satisfying, though, I recommend starting at least with Wings of Fire #11: The Lost Continent. The series is told in five-book arcs, so most of the drama in this one kicked off there.
Of course, I hope everyone reads them all, including the special Legends: Darkstalker prequel and our graphic novel adaptations like the Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #1: The Dragonet Prophecy. But definitely don’t miss the deadly adventures in The Poison Jungle. And watch out for carnivorous plants in the real world, too!