Have you ever found yourself standing outside a bookstore with your child, waiting for it to open, on the day the latest book in their favorite book series is being released? I have on at least three occasions — most recently as my eldest daughter eagerly awaited the arrival of book 12 of Tui T. Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series, The Hive Queen.
My 11-year-old has been absolutely enthralled by this fantasy fiction series. With epic storylines, a richly imaginative landscape, and a fabulous cast of dragons with humanlike qualities, the Wings of Fire books make for a captivating read for children in the middle grades.
Get to Know the 12 Books in the Wings of Fire Series
There are currently 12 books in the series and three distinct storylines.
The first five books introduce the seven dragon tribes of Pyrrhia: the SandWings, MudWings, SkyWings, SeaWings, IceWings, RainWings, and NightWings. Each tribe stems from a different territory within the continent and each has a unique set of talents, strengths, and magical powers. These first books focus on a terrible war between the tribes as three sisters fight to ascend the SandWing throne. Raised in seclusion, five dragonets (dragonets are child or adolescent dragons) from five different tribes have been prophesied to finally restore peace to Pyrrhia — but not every dragonet seeks a heroic destiny and they must choose to live as the prophecy has been written or change their fate. And, just possibly, still bring peace to the world.
The second arc of five books sees the original dragonets of the prophecy establish a school with a vision to encourage the children of all the dragon tribes to learn to work together for continued peace across Pyrrhia. We meet five new dragonets, students of the school, as they face a fresh set of dangers.
Finally, the third and newest storyline (book eleven onwards), explores the discovery of another continent, far across the ocean, with three new dragon tribes: the LeafWings, SilkWings, and HiveWings. Through the stories of a new set of dragonets, readers are taken on a journey across this alternative landscape as the tales of these three new dragon tribes are uncovered. I can only imagine what's going to happen when the dragons of all tribes on both continents discover the existence of the others — I am sure Tui T. Sutherland is planning great things!
The Series Explores Powerful Themes
The fantasy and adventure aspect of the series is transportive to kids. But the Wings of Fire books explore issues of family, friendship and identity that middle school readers are also likely managing in their own lives, with strong themes of courage, wisdom, strength of character, loyalty, and sacrifice. Right from the very first book, when the five imprisoned dragonets of the prophesy work together to escape their seclusion in response to a threat to the life of one of their group, these themes are clear. Over and over again through all of the books in the series, these young dragons, each drawn from vastly different (and often warring) tribes, band together or stand up solely in the face of great danger to support or protect each other.
I believe it is important to note that in the books Sutherland does not shy away from many difficult themes we often shield children from — there is war, death, murder, cruelty, racism, and more — though my sensitive 11-year-old (who started reading the series at age nine) has had no issue with the sometimes violent nature of this content.
When I asked my daughter to share her thoughts about the series and why she loves it so much, she responded:
“I can never wait to start the next one because Tui T. Sutherland ends each Wings of Fire book with a really exciting cliff hanger. I would recommend the Wings of Fire series to kids who love fantasy and adventure, but I think they are best for children aged 10+ because these books can be exciting but scary, and violent because of the warring dragon tribes.”
Without a doubt, Wings of Fire is an amazing series for middle school readers who enjoy fantasy fiction. And it probably goes without saying that the middle schooler in our house is now on countdown until book 13 is released in July!