By Kenneth OppelThe plot of this book sounds like the perfect adventure for a noble hero: a dangerous journey with a cryptic map and a trusty companion. But here's the catch: the hero is an undersized bat. Shade, a newborn Silverwing, is separated from his colony during their winter migrations. With the help of an exiled Brightwing, he must find his colony and save them from marauding cannibal bats imported from the tropics. In an author's note, Oppel writes that he "liked the challenge of taking animals that many might consider 'ugly' or 'scary' and fashioning them into interesting, appealing characters"; he has done just that with Shade and his comrades. While these characters are not particularly well rounded, readers will sympathize with the young bat's sometimes foolhardy efforts to prove that he's more than the colony runt, and the villains?fire-carrying owls and six-foot, flesh-eating bats?will keep even reluctant readers engaged. However, the greatest strengths of this story lie in its fast-paced, cliff-hanging action and its setting within the hollow trees and bell towers of the bats' monochromatic nighttime world.