Sundew is a young female LeafWing and the main protagonist of The Poison Jungle. She is a member of the LeafWing rebellion group lead by her mother, Belladonna, and is honored within her tribe due to her powerful leafspeak ability. She is currently in a relationship with Willow and is flying across the sea towards Pyrrhia.
Sundew has a small and wiry body and a face similar to her mother's. She has dark forest-green scales, with flecks of gold all over them. She also has gold scales along the edges of her wings, talons, and across her snout. She wears several small pouches, woven from long grass or fashioned from leaves, like her mother. She is slightly smaller than Swordtail.
Sundew is irritable, grumpy, snarky, and sometimes rude to dragons that aren't close to her. Often aggressive and short-tempered, she is a very fearsome dragon on the outside but soft on the inside. It is noted in The Hive Queen that Sundew usually wears a scowl on her face. Although snappy and sarcastic, she is rarely loud or boisterous. She is a good planner with a strategic and thoughtful mind and is very knowledgeable on which plants and insects can help her gain an advantage in sticky situations. She believes in justice and in doing what she believes is right. Her anger and bitterness can overshadow her reasoning in some situations, such as when she created a plan to execute almost every HiveWing in The Hive Queen.
Sundew seems to also really value her dignity and dislikes embarrassing herself in front of others, namely those whom she respects or wants to impress. In The Hive Queen, when they had to put some capes, she said "Wil — my tribe would fall over laughing at me right now" and it is very likely that she meant Willow. She is hard on herself and seems to expect perfection in most things that she does, becoming angry at herself if she fails or shows weakness in any given situation. Likewise, Sundew has high standards for other dragons, even referring to the SilkWings as "subservient worms" for letting Queen Wasp have control over them. Sundew also has a great capacity to be open-minded, however, as seen near the conclusion of The Hive Queen, Sundew's resentment towards the HiveWings lessened when she realized that they could be better if they weren't governed by Queen Wasp's lies and mind-control.
Although she wouldn't like to admit it, Sundew can be compassionate beneath her sarcastic and moody exterior, as well as being highly protective of those whom she loves and cares about, like her companions or Willow. Although it was already established in The Lost Continent that Sundew hated most HiveWings, she took care to make sure that a paralyzed HiveWing guard, who was guarding Queen Wasp's greenhouse, was far enough away from it before Blue set fire to the greenhouse's plants in The Hive Queen. She also gained more respect for SilkWings, impressed that the Chrysalis existed and that they had a rebellion of any kind.
The Lost Continent Prophecy
|The Lost Continent|
|Sundew appears in the second half of the book, asking for her mother's permission to kill Blue, Cricket, and Swordtail and leave their bodies outside the greenhouse. Her mother, Belladonna, immediately disagrees as this would alert the HiveWings that intruders (the LeafWings) were in the area.
Sundew willingly accompanies Blue and Cricket to the Temple of Clearsight to help them steal the Book of Clearsight, using flower dye and wing-shaped leaves to disguise herself as a SilkWing. Before entering Wasp Hive, she defaces a carving of Queen Wasp, and as described in the book, "raked her claws across the queen's elegant snout." Cricket protests that the vandalism is unnecessary, with Sundew responding, "Wait till I get to her actual face." In the Temple of Clearsight, she paralyzes several HiveWing guards from a distance with blow-darts. Sundew later fights the Librarian, who is always under Queen Wasp's mind control. Although the Librarian is bigger and stronger, Sundew breaks her arm and nearly kills her before Cricket intervenes. Sundew then frees the Librarian from Wasp's mind control by using bullet ants to bite her, causing unbearable pain to her, and by extension, Queen Wasp. This makes her leave the Librarian's body.
After the Librarian's room is surrounded by mind-controlled HiveWings, Sundew throws a smoke bomb to distract Wasp from her, Cricket, and Blue's escape with the Book. Instead of helping the wingless Blue fly away (relegating that job to Cricket and the Librarian), she fights against Wasp's drones with her weapons.
In the ensuing chaos, Blue loses track of the others and doesn't know if they escaped the Temple. However, they later make contact with Blue again, with Sundew revealing that they had made a tunnel into the Hive from below. She did this by rapidly growing a plant and using its roots to punch a hole in the wall, showing her leafspeak abilities for the first time. She then leads them through the tunnel to the sea.After this, Sundew says that she plans to return to the LeafWings to form a new plan to take down the HiveWings. However, when Luna and Swordtail are noticed by HiveWing soldiers, she leaps into the fight to protect them and ends up fighting alone. This is the last Blue sees of her before beginning his metamorphosis, at which point the book ends.
|The Hive Queen|
|Sundew first appeared when Cricket heard the sounds of another dragon in the caves where she and Blue, still in metamorphosis, were hiding. Cricket was terrified that the dragon could be another HiveWing, or worse, a mind-controlled one, but her fears were unfounded. Cricket was relieved and asked Sundew what had happened above ground. Sundew explained she led the HiveWings "all the way to Lake Scorpion" before losing them and taking the long way back to the caves. She didn't find Luna, but she did find Swordtail, having likely hit a rock and passed out, and dragged his unconscious, seaweed-covered body into the cavern (as we now know, Sundew used her leafspeak on the seaweed, creating a sort of harness, which she used to transport him as Swordtail is larger than her).
Sundew mentioned that she understood his devotion to Luna, since she "has a one true love herself"(Willow), but ignored Cricket's questions as to who and continued that Swordtail did leave her fighting two HiveWings alone. Sundew eventually snapped at Cricket, irritated by all the questions, so Cricket offered to get some water for Sundew's injury to make peace. She agreed and gave Cricket a kind of absorbing moss. Cricket was intimidated by the LeafWing's "scowly" expression and decided that "it would be safer to back away for a little while." Sundew then had Cricket use a "weird-looking plant" from one of her pouches to wake up Swordtail, who she claimed was in no state to still be looking for Luna.
When Cricket and Swordtail were talking about Blue's flamesilk status, Sundew admitted her motives with Blue; to use him and his silk to burn down the Hives. Sundew, Cricket, and Swordtail then had a long argument about whether it was the right thing to do, with Swordtail taking sides with the LeafWing.
Sundew called the Book of Clearsight "completely useless" because it couldn't tell them the future (as the predictions had stopped over a thousand years before the Tree Wars), and then told the others that she would rather have Luna with them as Luna would have jumped to the idea of burning down the Hives and that she'd settle for using Blue to destroy the HiveWings. Sundew believed that all the HiveWings (except Cricket, as she might have been growing fond of her) deserved to be killed for what they did to the LeafWings and their home. Sundew then tried to get more information about The Chrysalis out of Swordtail, who explained it was an organization of SilkWings who are "fighting [the HiveWings] for [their] freedom."
She agreed to go looking for the Chrysalis after Blue finished his Metamorphosis and try to find a way to defeat Queen Wasp's mind control powers. Eventually, the four decide to find out how to stop Queen Wasp's mind control instead of slaughtering innocent dragons.
Sundew then went to talk with her parents to tell them where she'd been and what to do with the book. She requested more time to create a less violent plan of destroying the HiveWing kingdom than the one in effect (mass slaughter and destruction). After much argument, Belladonna and Hemlock relented, giving Sundew, Blue, Cricket, and Swordtail two days to make a plan.
Cricket suggested going to Jewel Hive to look for clues, as it was the closest Hive to the group, and the laid-back rules and security would allow them to remain undetected for a longer amount of time. Once they arrived, Sundew once again disguised herself as a SilkWing (much to her humiliation) using gaudy fabrics. During their stay, the four made the water tower near Cadelle's house their seat of operations.
At midnight on their first day, Sundew and the others met with The Chrysalis's Jewel Hive branch (though only three members were there, Tau, Morpho, and Cinnabar), much to their surprise. Sundew told them about the LeafWing plan to destroy the Hives, and they jumped on the idea, to Cricket's distress.Near the end of the book, Sundew met up again with Cricket. She watched Bumblebee hatch and discerned what Queen Wasp's poison was made of by the dragonet's eggshell: a plant from the restricted greenhouse she and her parents hid in days earlier. When Bloodworm Hive was attacked by LeafWing forces, she used the chaos and destruction as a cover, having Blue destroy the greenhouse and thus Wasp's source of mind-control poison.
|The Poison Jungle|
|Sundew, Blue, Swordtail, Cricket, and Bumblebee are flying and a flash of yellow and black catches her eye. Sundew hisses and Cricket apologizes to her for startling her. Sundew says that it didn't.
As they fly closer, Blue asks nervously if the Poison Jungle is as dangerous as the rumors say they are. Then Swordtail asks, "Like, maybe LeafWings spread stories exaggerating how dangerous it is so that no one else would go there? That would make sense; I bet that's it." Sundew laughs and replies, "How could we spread stories? We haven't communicated with any SilkWings or HiveWings since the end of the Tree Wars fifty years ago. We were supposed to be extinct. That was kind of your whole goal, remember?"
Blue protests that it wasn't his goal, or Cricket's, or Swordtail's. Sundew confirms the rumors. "Queen Wasp sent a few expeditions to the Poison Jungle looking for resources and trying to make sure no dragons were hiding from her there. Almost all of them died; the rest are the ones who brought the stories back to you. One of the expeditions was sent to burn down the jungle because Wasp wanted no more trees anywhere. None of those dragons survived. We helped the jungle make sure of that. No one who comes for the trees again will be allowed to live." Blue asks how a whole tribe could be living there if it's so dangerous for dragons. Sundew replies with "We didn't really have a choice," and then follows up with how they have adapted for living there, knowing how to heal snakebites, and suchlike. She mentions carnivorous plants, and Swordtail starts to panic. Sundew notices and says "Yeah, you will probably get eaten. They always get loud flappy ones. And that HiveWing dragonet is cobra lily food for sure."
Swordtail says that he doesn't enjoy this conversation. They start talking about why they're going there. The Distant Kingdoms gets mentioned. They move closer to the Jungle.
Sundew hovers over the river and realizes that the others had stopped. Cricket marvels at the size of the trees. Blue says that it feels like one big creature and that it almost sounds like it's breathing. Bumblebee starts yelling out "Eepow!" suggesting that she is hungry. Sundew tells her that she can eat when they get to the village. They start talking about the outside of the jungle is the thickest to keep intruders out. They fly further over the jungle until Sundew opens up a secret way in. Blue asks what they are and Cricket says that she thinks they're called touch-me-not. Sundew replies, saying that that's one name for them. Swordtail laughs and says that it sounds super dangerous. "Touch me not — or you will DIE!" he says. Cricket smothers a laugh. "Actually," Sundew says, "this is probably the only plant up here that won't kill you."
Cricket steps on a tree slug and lifts her foot again, which is covered in ooze. "Oooom-yum?" Bumblebee squeals, "Eeee?" Cricket tells her that it's not for eating, and Bumblebee cries "GWOSE!" She wakes a snake up and it narrows its eyes at her. Sundew tells them to keep moving. She slinks through the trees nimble and quick. Swordtail comments that she's like a monkey, not "foodishly", but fast and agile. They stop for a rest, and Blue says that it's like the Hives, high up and smelly, and loud. Swordtail spots a pink book-like flower and goes to sniff it. Sundew yells that he shouldn't touch the plant, but it's too late, Swordtail's nose brushes it, and he is swallowed whole by the plant, which is actually a Venus Dragon-trap. What the readers don't know is that Tui hadn't planned on adding it until she saw how short the book was and then went back and added these sorts of mini-adventures to make it longer.
Sundew tells him to go limp to fool the plant into thinking Swordtail was a rock or a tree branch, however, he was struggling in the plant's mouth too loudly for Sundew to be heard. In a desperate attempt to save him, Blue uses some of his flamesilk to burn the plant. This, however, does nothing and makes the situation worse and lighting some of the nearby plants ablaze. Sundew uses her leafspeak (the ability to control plants) to grow a tree that contains berries with flame-retardant properties, effectively squashing the fire. With Blue's help, she manages to rip the plant's maw open and free Swordtail.
After they free Swordtail, they head for the PoisonWing village with no other difficulties until they get there. Along the way, they encounter Mandrake, Nettle, and Wolfsbane hunting a panther, which, in short, doesn't go very well for Mandrake, and Sundew kills it for him. When they get to the village they are checked to see if Swordtail, Blue, Cricket, and Sundew had any seeds from the Poison Jungle on them, to be sure that none of the dangerous plants get inside of their village. Right when she enters the village, she starts being heckled by her tribe for bringing strangers into the village. Sundew, falsely states that she brought them to the tribe because they were all very useful to their plans to destroy the hives and get their revenge, in an attempt to sway Belladonna into letting them stay.
Under the cover of darkness, Sundew sneaks out of the village and to a secret meeting place, where she meets with her girlfriend, Willow. While she's waiting for Willow to show up, it cuts to a flashback of Sundew aged 2. She's trying to catch a frog that ate her sugar-coated grasshopper and ran away. Sundew, enraged, pursued the frog to the border of the village, but the frog hopped right through, and into the rest of the jungle. Sundew crossed the border and continued the pursuit. She almost caught it, but it slipped through her grasp yet again. The frog hopped right into a nearby pond. Not ready to give up, Sundew grabbed the nearest sharp stick and started furiously stabbing the water to impale the frog. Alas, she failed, and the frog escaped, getting to enjoy its treat. Sundew, having let the frog run off with her dessert, started screaming bloody murder, which a nearby dragon heard, namely Willow.Sundew then thinks Willow has a "sparkly face" and they both end up liking each other. Sundew wants to continue seeing Willow so the next meeting they had, Willow gave her a jade frog. Sundew would leave it on a rock at night and Willow would come.
Although Sundew claims to hate all HiveWings, she seems okay with Cricket and has expressed friendly affection for her at various times. She has mentioned that Cricket is "different" from the other HiveWings, possibly due to her insatiable curiosity and immunity to Queen Wasp's mind control powers. Cricket's company also seems to relax Sundew, as she seems more friendly and open than she did in The Lost Continent. She and Cricket serve as adoptive mothers to Bumblebee, although not always willingly, but Bumblebee is slowly changing that, as shown in The Poison Jungle.
Blue, like Cricket, believes that while Sundew may seem fierce on the outside, she really is sweet and kind on the inside. Sundew is constantly surprised by Blue, from his sister being a flamesilk to him standing up to Queen Wasp. She knows that Blue understands everyone (or at least tries to) and tries to hide her emotions from him that she believes are weak, like guilt and fear, to show that she is tough. Blue is her friend but tends to side with Cricket on many things, for example, like not setting all the Hives on fire, or painting Jewel Hive with messages of Wasp lying about the Book of Clearsight.
At first, in The Hive Queen, Sundew seemed to dislike Bumblebee, as when she refuses to directly give food to her or look at her. In The Poison Jungle, it is revealed that she does care about her. When she went to the SapWings village, she worried that no one would feed Bumblebee, then scolded herself that someone would. She volunteered to carry her while crossing a patch of dangerous and carnivorous plants. Bumblebee also helped Sundew out of the giant sundew plant she was trapped in. She seems to sometimes get annoyed by Bumblebee's antics and her nickname for Sundew, "Snudoo," but still cares about her well-being. Bumblebee seems to look up to Sundew and possibly thinks of her as a parent or a guardian. Later in The Poison Jungle, Sundew comments that Bumblebee is smart, and even offers to take Bumblebee from Cricket if she was going to "faint and squash Bumblebee." Later in the book, Sundew affectionately calls Bumblebee ‘little bug'.
Sundew considers Swordtail to be quite rash, yet has respect for him as of The Hive Queen. They tend to share the same destructive mindset and are similar in terms of personality. She understands his devotion to Luna, as she also has a lover. In The Hive Queen, Sundew is tempted to leave Swordtail on the shore after trying to find Luna, but ultimately brings him to Cricket. When Io was talking to Swordtail, Sundew noted that Io was "Another Swordtail".
Sundew is Willow's girlfriend, and before the events of The Poison Jungle, their relationship was both forbidden and secret due to Willow being a SapWing, and Sundew being a PoisonWing. Sundew keeps Willow a secret even for the reader in the first few chapters of The Poison Jungle, referring to her as "her dragon" or "the dragon she's not supposed to think about." Along with that, she and Willow keep a small jade frog with themselves, which they use to signal that one another is there. They place it onto a small boulder, which indicates one of the other is there. Though they have their disagreements, it's very clear that Sundew cares a lot about what Willow thinks, and knows her very well. Sundew states that Willow is the only dragon she ever looks forward to seeing and is one of the few dragons she will listen to. Willow is mentioned briefly in The Lost Continent and The Hive Queen.
Sundew doesn't like her mother very much and ends up in a fight with her almost every time they talk. Belladonna noted that Sundew was clever when she said Cricket, Blue, Swordtail, and Bumblebee were her prisoners. She is very snappy towards Belladonna and would never let her control her life. Sundew had no hesitation in leaving Belladonna behind to be abandoned in the jungle and be controlled by the Othermind. Their snappy relationship towards each other may be mutual, for it is noted that Belladonna and Hemlock only got together because they had the strongest leafspeak of their generations, and they only had dragonets together to have dragonets with stronger leafspeak.
Sundew isn't very close to her father, but still wants to save him from the Othermind in The Poison Jungle, and has a similar relationship that of Belladonna. He also was told by Belladonna to burn down the Bloodworm Hive even though Belladonna promised Sundew that she would wait.
Sundew and Mandrake are good friends. They were originally destined to be married because they both have some of the strongest leafspeak in the tribe. Mandrake calls Sundew his "fiance." Later on, Sundew told Mandrake that she wouldn't marry him as she was in love with Willow instead. Mandrake said that he had always known that she wouldn't marry him, and told her that he hoped she and Willow would be able to marry after they had defeated the Othermind. According to Sundew, Mandrake is one of the few dragons she likes.
Cobra Lily is one of Sundew's closest friends. It is hinted that they enjoy getting into trouble together and have similar opinions on most things. Sundew appears to admire her and states that she is "kind of awesome."
Sundew seemed surprised when she first met the SeaWings, but she gradually warmed up to them as they proved their worth.
- "It's nothing mystical. She wanted a daughter to carry on our family's legacy. She trained me my whole life for one purpose: this."
- ― to Blue (The Lost Continent, page 192-193)
- "I don't know why Willow wants to save your tribe. You're as much of a problem as the HiveWings, with your nodding and smiling and agreeing to let them trample all over you."
- ― to Blue (The Lost Continent, page 197)
- "My guess is Luna got blown out to sea and he tried to follow her. But the storm chucked him into a boulder instead. Which he deserved, if you ask me. Did you see him fly off and leave me fighting two HiveWings alone? I mean, sure, Luna is great and I know he just got her back and all and I get it; I have a one true love, too."
- ― to Cricket (The Hive Queen, page 21)
- "No, everything you've heard about the jungle is true. Queen Wasp sent a few expeditions to the Poison Jungle looking for resources and trying to make sure no dragons were hiding from her there. Almost all of them died; the rest are the ones who brought the stories back to you. One of the expeditions was sent to burn down the jungle, because Wasp wanted no more trees anywhere. 'None of those dragons survived. We helped the jungle make sure of that."
- ― to Swordtail (The Poison Jungle, page 4-5)
- "If we set it free, the Poison Jungle could devour the continent for us, and all the HiveWings, too. If I set it free. I could unleash the jungle and send it forth to strangle our enemies. I won't, though. I don't want a Pantala covered in poisonous, dragon-eating plants. I want the Pantala of the old stories; the giant forests that stretched from shore to shore."
- ― thoughts on setting the plants of the jungle free (The Poison Jungle, page 6)
- "I could have left. Belladonna doesn't even know I could have left them. But I didn't, because I have a purpose, and that purpose is vengeance. I hatched for one reason: to destroy our enemies. That's why I will always come back. Not for Belladonna or Hemlock. I come back so that one day I can be the one who wipes out the HiveWings forever."
- ― thoughts (The Poison Jungle, page 28)
- "But of course we can't talk about that. We can't take a moment to say, hey, things are a little better, aren't they? We can only talk about the HiveWings and our fury and all the things we're going to do to them. No time to pat you on the head or say 'Thank you, Sundew'."
- ― thoughts (The Poison Jungle, page 50)
- "Even after everything I just told her, even if she thinks I've endangered her tribe and restarted a war she doesn't want … she still loves me."
- ― thoughts about Willow (The Poison Jungle, page 99)
- "Or just pause for a moment to be happy. That's what Willow would say to do. After all the craziness with SilkWings and sneaking through Hives and dealing with strangers, I'm back with her at last, where I can just be myself."
- ― thoughts about Willow (The Poison Jungle, page 115)
- "I'm not letting go now. I'm not ever letting go of her again. If this is it, all our truth spilled over the table, then this is my truth: I choose Willow. Even if she is a SapWing, and not Mandrake."
- ― thoughts about choosing Willow over Mandrake (The Poison Jungle, page 150)
- "Wow. I was hoping we'd lose her, but I didn't think it would happen quite that fast. I'm kidding! I'm sure she's fine. She can handle anything, remember?"
- ― to Mandrake (The Poison Jungle, page 161)
- "But Hawthorn and Sequoia did terrible things, too. The HiveWings would be right to want them to be punished … but they would be wrong to want the same for the whole LeafWing tribe. So maybe … Maybe I need to think about that, too. Hawthorn, Sequoia, and Wasp. I should be angry at them — I can be furious at them. I can fight Wasp without hating the entire HiveWing tribe. I can free the HiveWings and spare their lives without betraying my quest. Because Wasp is the real enemy: Wasp and her mind control."
- ― thoughts (The Poison Jungle, page 247)
- Sundew is one of twelve confirmed LGBT+ characters due to her relationship with Willow.
- In The Poison Jungle, when Sundew is reunited with Willow, the former uses her leafspeak to make violets grow in between them. Violets and their coloration have been used as a special code by lesbian and bisexual women throughout history.
- Sundew is referred to as 'Snudoo' by Bumblebee.
- ↑ The Lost Continent, page 223
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Lost Continent, page 168
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Lost Continent, page 170
- ↑ The Hive Queen, page 74
- ↑ The Hive Queen, page 58
- ↑ The Hive Queen, page 148
- ↑ The Hive Queen, page 22