Escaping Peril is the eighth book in the New York Times bestselling series Wings of Fire and is the first book to have a SkyWing on its cover. It is the third book in the second arc. The official release date was Tuesday, December 29th, 2015, with the cover released on the Scholastic Wings of Fire forums on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Tui T. Sutherland had said that the protagonist was a SkyWing, and it was eventually confirmed at an event that it would be Peril.
The most dangerous dragon in Pyrrhia is on a mission . . .
Peril has always been loyal. First, to Scarlet, who used Peril's fatal firescales to kill countless dragons in her violent SkyWing arena. Now, Peril is loyal to Clay, the only dragonet who has ever been her friend. So when Scarlet threatens Jade Mountain Academy, Peril sets off to find her former queen, stop her, and save the day, no matter what it takes.
There's just one problem: a strangely persistent SeaWing, Turtle, insists on coming along, too. Turtle is worried about his friends, who left the Academy search for Scarlet and haven't returned. Peril is worried that she might accidentally burn Turtle — or burn him on purpose, for being so annoying — and frustrated that she keeps saying and doing the wrong things. She can't escape her firescales, and she can't escape her reputation as the deadliest dragon in Pyrrhia.
So when she's offered a chance to trade everything for a new life, Peril has to decide who she's really loyal to . . . and whether her own scales might actually be worth saving.
Quote on the back cover of Hardcover
"You're Peril, aren't you?" he said. "Queen Scarlet's …" He trailed off, perhaps realizing there was no good way to end that sentence. Champion? Weapon? Notorious death monster?
"Yes," she hissed. "I'm Queen Scarlet's notorious death monster."
For Jack — may you be bold and kind and starry-eyed, and may you always save the world your own way.
The prologue took place just before the brightest night, from the point of view of Ruby. She remembered the last time she saw her sister, Tourmaline, which was three days ago. Tourmaline had been planning to take the throne from Queen Scarlet, with the will of ending the war or at least withdrawing from it. However, she mysteriously vanished the next day without telling Ruby or any other dragons she was going anywhere. While wondering if Scarlet killed Tourmaline, Ruby was called by Scarlet to meet in the throne room. She entered to find several other SkyWings already assembled there and was told to stand between her brothers, Vermilion and Hawk. Vermilion snorted at her, but Hawk smiled. Ruby wondered if Hawk is acting friendly because he knew she would be dead once she challenged Scarlet. Scarlet then told the crowd about the SkyWing egg that was stolen to fulfill the prophecy. Her guards then carry in all the eggs that were to hatch on the brightest night (except one) at her request. When she said that one was missing ("there should be eight"), one of the guards reassured her that it wouldn't get far, and "it was a runty one anyhow." Then she revealed Peril, who was a very young dragonet at the time. Scarlet declared Peril her future champion and demonstrated her power by giving her a SkyWing egg to hold. The egg burned in her talons, and the dragonet within died. Scarlet then told Peril to touch all of the other eggs, and they are also burned. The crowd was horrified by this demonstration, and Ruby saw this as proof that she could not take the throne from Scarlet. It was now that she wondered if Peril killed Tourmaline, and seemed to subconsciously blame Peril for the loss of her sister. The prologue concluded with Ruby realizing, This dragon could destroy the world.
Part 1: Scales of Fire
Queen Ruby had come to Jade Mountain Academy to perform the proper SkyWing death rituals for Carnelian. Clay had instructed Peril to stay inside her cave until Queen Ruby was gone, but after waiting for a while Peril impatiently (under the impression that Clay had come) leaped into the hallway, nearly bumping into Turtle. Turtle prompted her to eavesdrop on the Carnelian proceedings. They then heard a loud roar, and Peril assumed that Queen Ruby was just told of Peril's presence in Jade Mountain. Queen Ruby started yelling at the dragonets of destiny but was interrupted when Scarlet arrived.
Peril, the dragonets of destiny (except for Glory), Turtle, and Queen Ruby went to confront Scarlet. Scarlet was holding the head of Queen Glory and then proceeded to throw it at the gathered crowd. Sunny was left screaming in horror and dropped out of the sky while Tsunami was extremely furious, and chased after Scarlet. Ruby demanded why Peril was there, and Peril claimed that the queen couldn't keep her away from her friends.
Clay, Ruby, and Peril studied the head but when Prince Turtle took a look, he recognized the head as an enchantment. Scarlet had apparently decapitated a MudWing and enchanted its head to look like Glory's. They were shocked that it had been the work of an animus because there were very few known animus dragons in Pyrrhia. Queen Ruby decided to take the head to Queen Moorhen to identify who it had belonged to.
A little while later, Peril was left alone with Clay and Turtle. Peril asked Clay what he wanted her to do. He replied that "he won't be another Scarlet and tell her what to do," implying that she had the chance to make her own decisions.
Peril figured out what Clay really wants: his friends and the academy to be safe. The only way to do that was to get rid of Queen Scarlet, so she set off through the mountains, accompanied by a determined Turtle who didn't even have half the stamina Peril did. A little while into their expedition, they were ambushed by four members of the Talons of Peace (Cirrus, an unnamed MudWing, Nautilus, and Avalanche), who didn't know who they were or if they were conspiring with Scarlet. Cirrus seemed to recognize Kestrel's name when Avalanche mentioned her, saying that Kestrel was "big, red, grumpy-looking." After the Talons members confirmed that everyone was on the same side, Turtle and Peril were allowed to continue on to Possibility to find Moon and Qibli.
Part 2: Possibility
Peril and Turtle stopped for dinner and Turtle showed her how to eat fish without burning them. Peril discovered that Turtle had been rolling a rock between his shoulders, which she thought was a bit odd, but decided that SeaWings may have some ability to heal themselves with river rocks.
The two continued on toward Possibility, and repeatedly caught glimpses of a strange NightWing following them. When they finally reached the town, Turtle suggested that Peril travel underwater so that she wouldn't burn any other dragons, which turned out to be a good tactic. However, when she came out of the water, a dragonflame cactus exploded at her feet. The explosion didn't severely injure any dragons, but it did lead Qibli and Moon to Peril and Turtle.
Once Turtle left to go see Kinkajou, Peril got upset and flew into the desert, where she ran into Winter and Foeslayer, who was traveling back to Possibility. Winter seemed enraged to see her and accused Peril of conspiring with Queen Scarlet. They started to fight, and Peril accidentally burned Winter very badly while trying to get away from the fight. Turtle rushed to the commotion along with the others, and he was revealed to be an animus, just like two of his sisters, while healing Winter. Everyone was surprised by this, but Turtle assured them that his soul was perfectly fine at the moment. Moon then told Peril about the prophecy.
Peril flew off in a fit and ran into a SkyWing decked out in jewelry. He claimed that he was her father, Soar. He told her to follow him and led her right to Queen Scarlet. After Scarlet ripped off Soar's necklace, he was revealed to be a RainWing named Chameleon with unalterable green scales, who grudgingly hated RainWings for banning him from the Rainforest Kingdom due to his scales. He admitted to being the one who harmed Kinkajou because she probably would have laughed at him like the rest of his tribe. He told Peril about his animus powers and offered to give her an enchanted necklace of chains that can remove her firescales. Peril agreed, and under the enchantment, became completely loyal to Queen Scarlet and forgot completely about Clay, assisting the former SkyWing queen to take back her kingdom.
Part 3: A New Peril
Scarlet, Peril, and Soar entered the Sky Kingdom, and many SkyWings they passed were still afraid of Peril because they did not know of the enchantment. They entered the wingery, where Scarlet was humiliated by some of the dragonets, but she ignored them and asked for her grandson, Cliff. They captured the prince and brought him into the throne room, planning to hold him for ransom until Ruby came and agreed to give up her kingdom in order to keep her son safe. Ruby accused Peril of killing Tourmaline and betraying her friends, which Scarlet replied to by saying that Tourmaline still alive, but hidden. Ruby was shocked, but Scarlet dismissed this quickly and forced her to give up her kingdom. An unknown MudWing, seemingly one of Ruby's soldiers, asked Peril what Clay would think. Peril is confused and asked who Clay was, making Ruby realize that there is a spell over Peril. Peril stated that she was only "following orders" from the first Queen. Ruby ordered two of her soldiers to lock her up in one of the dungeons where Kestrel was held.
Later on, Peril and Soar were in charge of guarding Cliff, but after putting him in the highest prison tower under the impression that he couldn't fly, they soon realized that Cliff was lying and managed to escape. Meanwhile Ruby had also escaped from the specially-designed prison cell. Scarlet found out and burst into the room. As Ruby was pinned down, Scarlet revealed her plans of making Cliff a murderer like Peril, claiming that "he'll be my adorable little weapon." Seeing that Scarlet was planning to manipulate him, Peril learned of the animus enchantment on herself and accused her father, Chameleon, of betraying her. She ripped off the necklace and remembered her loyalty to Clay, and attempted to kill Scarlet. However, Ruby stopped her, saying that it was her battle, not Peril's.
Ruby declared a battle for the throne. The SkyWings flew up to the highest spire to see them battle. Ruby was being beaten by Scarlet and losing the fight until Peril burned her earring that she claimed was given to her by her sister Tourmaline and showed everyone that Ruby was Tourmaline all along. Scarlet then admitted that she made up Ruby because Tourmaline was becoming too dangerous. Tourmaline then out of pure emotion finished the duel by shouting "For the SkyWings!" and snapping Scarlet's neck, ending her terrible reign and life. The SkyWings cheered, and Peril heard Turtle in the crowd. He explains that he came to rescue her. Cliff then started to cry after seeing that Ruby, his mother as he knew her as had been turned into Tourmaline a stranger to him. The SkyWing queen then ordered Chameleon after learning that he was the one that had first changed her to turn her back into Queen Ruby.
Then a SkyWing party was held to celebrate, and orchestras gathered around for Ruby's coronation. Chameleon was then forced to make her Ruby yet again. Peril also apologized to Ruby for the eggs on the Brightest Night. Tourmaline/Ruby forgave her, saying that she was no longer in exile. But a guard abruptly disturbed the moment crashing onto the balcony, saying that Chameleon had escaped. Turtle then decided to bring Peril and the rest of their winglet to search for him. Peril then told the story to Moon, making her desperate to get it back so that they could finally put it back into good hands.
As they searched the area, they saw a NightWing, Shapeshifter, who was Chameleon in disguise. Peril threatened to try to get him to give the scroll back, but he then said that scales as hot as Peril's couldn't burn him, and he was well protected, "foreseeing" death among the five. Winter wanted to get vengeance after what he did to Kinkajou, but suddenly, Turtle used his animus abilities so that Shapeshifter's armor started to shake and attacked him. The scroll was flung out of his talon, into Turtle's. Angry, Chameleon said, "I'll find you! I'll take it back! You'll be sorry! It's mine, it's mine, it's mine!"
The five huddled around a fire, discussing what to do with it. Moon mentioned that it already belongs to someone. She revealed that there was an animus dragon who was trapped. Winter immediately realized that she was talking about Darkstalker. They agreed to talk about it in the morning. As Peril woke up, they saw that Moon was gone, taking the scroll with her. Qibli told Peril to fly ahead, and that the rest of them would catch up with her. Once Peril arrived at Jade Mountain, she saw Moon, who was crying.
Moon told her about how Darkstalker had enchanted Arctic to be his slave and made him disembowel himself. The rest of the winglet arrived, and after seeing that Moon hadn't set him free, they started discussing what they could use it for. Qibli started talking about what he could do for Thorn, but Winter argued back. Moon tried to shut them up as well as Darkstalker, and Peril realized that good dragons could fight for power and the scroll was too dangerous. Peril burned the scroll, and suddenly, the ground started shaking and splitting apart. Turtle thought that this was the prophecy as a dragon slowly rose out of the ground. The book ended with Darkstalker thanking Peril for all of her help.
In the epilogue, Starflight was working late in the library and heard Anemone walking through the halls. Anemone said that she had a nightmare. When Starflight asked what it was about, the SeaWing princess replied that she felt the earth shaking beneath her feet. She added in a whisper: "It felt like something slithering over my grave."
- In the first release of the cover of Escaping Peril, only Peril's iris was white-blue, later her entire eye was changed to blue for the final book cover.
- The paperback release does not feature Scarlet on the back cover.
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- Chinese: 火翼飞龙. 龙魂泯灭的假面女王 (July 2017)
- French: Les Royaumes de Feu. La Mission de Péril (April 2018)
- Russian: Драконья сага. Преодоление Беды (January 2019)
- German: Wings of Fire. Perils Flucht (January 2021)