This book is a 2007 Science Fiction & Fantasy Cybils Award Nominee.
If everyone in your family group sailed and glided, but you had the urge to flap -- would you do it? Would you stand alone -- make a break with tradition for the sake of doing what came naturally to you?
Dusk is different. He has only two claws on each hand instead of four. His head is smaller and strange, and his ears are huge. His legs are weaker than his father, Icaron's. He is strange -- strange and ugly.
His sister, Sylph, has fur on her sails and four strong claws. Her legs are swift and strong, and she is stronger, faster and better than most of the chiropters in their age group. Her friends, Jib and Aeolus, are as fast and tough as she is, but Sylph still has a soft spot for her funny looking, weak-legged little brother. Even though he slews through the air like he's a diving dragonfly, instead of gliding like a normal animal. Even though he's gotten the attention of the whole clan turned on their family, because he rides thermals and goes up, instead of gliding down like nature intended chiropters to do. Sylph sticks by Dusk, even when she resents him.
Carnassial was raised to eat roots and berries, but just tasting the flesh of an almost-hatched saurian changes everything for him. He wants meat. He needs meat. His teeth were made to tear, weren't they? He is silent -- and deadly fast and accurate. Why shouldn't the felids dominate the world of beasts? Why can't his tribe understand? Why does the female felid, Panthera, twitch her tail in agitation as she sees him bring down his first kill? When they drive him out, he is alone, and every feathered beast must beware of him. But he will not be alone for long. Others have tasted the meat, too.
The world is poised on the brink of change. Does Dusk have the courage to stand alone and be who he is was born to be? And will there ever be anybody else like him?
A taut, fast-paced read anthropomorphizing the evolutionary struggles of the bat ancestor and exploring the idea of being 'Other,' Darkwing is a surprisingly enjoyable read. If you don't like books with talking animals, pick up this one anyway.