The Hive Queen is the twelfth book in the New York Times bestselling series Wings of Fire and the second book of the third arc. The main protagonist is Cricket. The book was officially released on December 26th, 2018, and the book cover was released on September 17, 2018.
The truth is a powerful weapon.
Growing up in the hives, Cricket has always had a million questions. Why are trees forbidden, even in art? Why do her parents seem to hate her? And the biggest, most dangerous and secret question of all: why is Cricket immune to Queen Wasp's powers? Whenever the queen takes control of all the HiveWings, speaking through their mouths and seeing through their eyes, Cricket has to hide, terrified of being discovered.
Now she's hiding again, wanted for stealing the Book of Clearsight along with her new SilkWing friends, Blue and Swordtail, and the fierce LeafWing, Sundew. The fugitives need answers, and fast, in order to prevent a LeafWing attack. But Cricket has more questions than ever. How can she stay hidden and discover the queen's deadliest secret? And if she does succeed — can a powerless dragonet really do anything to topple a regime and stop a war?
"For Wendy and Fiona, a pair of kind hearted funny bookworms with dragon hearts — Cricket and the bears and I think you are kindred spirits!"
Quote on Back of Hardcover
"You think Blue is going to be useful… for the LeafWings?" Swordtail said in a dangerous voice.
"How?" Cricket took an instinctive step closer to the cocoon, as though Blue might sense her protection through the silk. "What do you think he could do?"
Sundew flicked her wings back. "He's going to burn down all the Hives for us."
At the opening of the book, Moon is sitting on the beach near Jerboa's house, contemplating the fact that there were really other dragons and another continent across the sea. She then thinks about Luna's declaration that the dragons of Pantala needed her help, although she doubts that she can, as she believes it was her fault that Darkstalker had done what he did. Luna then comes up to her and inquires as to why she's out there alone. The two talk about their names — how Moonwatcher's name meant she liked to watch the moons, and how Luna's name had meant "moon" in the old language before it was used to refer to a type of moth.
Hearing this, Moon asks about the old language and discovers it was the dialect spoken before Clearsight's arrival. Luna then asks Moon if she was having any visions yet, to which Moon says no much to Luna's disappointment. Moon apologizes and Luna confides in her that she's worried about Blue and Swordtail. After this, Moon finally picks up the courage to tell Luna about a prophecy she'd been hearing for a while, although she isn't sure if she should tell Luna. The SilkWing insists she can handle it, and Moon tells her.
Qibli, Turtle, and Tsunami then arrive with Moon greeting them. Turtle tells them that his and Anemone's magic hasn't been working, and he theorizes that animus magic has "broke." Tsunami later told them all that the only way to get to the Lost Continent is by swimming there.
Part One: The Glittering Hive
Inside the cave where they hid while waiting for Sundew, Cricket awaits Blue's emergence from his cocoon. She begins to regret her promise to be there when he came out, as watching a non-moving cocoon was proving extremely boring. As she sits there, her mind wanders, and she had a flashback of her childhood.
The flashback begins with Cricket hiding in a cupboard, reading one of her mother's books ("The Architecture of the Hives, Expanded Edition — now with sections on Hydroponics and Silk Bridges") hoping to figure out a quick way to get from the Cicada Hive to the Wasp Hive efficiently so she can see the The Temple of Clearsight. While she was reading, her mother enters the kitchen along with Katydid. Queen Wasp spoke through their mouths briefly, and Cricket was confused as to why Cadelle "sounds all wrong." Katydid and Cadelle exited the house and Cricket debated whether to follow them or not, eventually deciding to go see what was going on from her mother's balcony. From her vantage point, Cricket witnessed a mob of white-eyed HiveWings — her sister Katydid among them — corralling an elderly dragon who was insisting that he wasn't a threat. For as much as he plead, it proved futile, and the blank-eyed HiveWings took him away regardless.
Later that day, when Katydid returned, Cricket asked her sister what happened to her and the other HiveWings. Katydid, who was worried and perplexed, was shocked when she realized Cricket couldn't be mind-controlled. Cricket asked more questions about mind control and Katydid told her that you just "suddenly want to do" whatever the queen was asking. Cricket objected and reminded Katydid that she was forced to drag away an elderly, crying dragon, and Katydid responded, "She is the queen, Cricket," and told Cricket that she would never refuse the queen in real life. Cricket thought otherwise, but she did not voice her opinion. Katydid agreed that they would not tell anyone Cricket's secret, and the flashback ends.
Following the memory, Cricket recalled that the first thing they did together when they were in a new location was scout out a hiding place if the tribe was mind-controlled. Cricket then remembered that Katydid was always the one to care for her, not her mother and father. It was Katydid that had noticed that Cricket's vision was poor and took her to the eye doctor to get her glasses. Cricket remembered wondering why her mother didn't like her and why her father didn't seem to care. Cricket snapped back into the present and focuses on how to solve her boredom. She amused herself by imagining that she could read the reading monkey's books. Cricket then laughed at herself and admitted that her talons would be too big for the tiny book and the reading monkeys would have a different language. She thought about the four more agonizingly slow days she had to endure with nothing to read. Cricket considered leaving the cave, but she recalled the promise she made to Blue about when he started his Metamorphosis. She had sworn to be there when he came out of his cocoon with his new wings. Cricket's thoughts then swooped to Sundew, Luna, and Swordtail, and she hoped for their safety and return. Suddenly she heard talonsteps, and Cricket realized there's someone else in the caves.
The dragon turns out to be Sundew, dragging along an unconscious Swordtail. Cricket is delighted that she is here, though Sundew did not have the same feeling. When Swordtail awakes, he admits he couldn't find Luna. Sundew explains she wanted Blue to burn down the Hives with his flamesilk when he got out, but Cricket didn't like the idea at all and they bickered for a while. Swordtail took Sundew's side, which made Cricket miserable. Sundew then went off to look for her parents, and Swordtail left to search for Luna again, leaving Cricket alone.
A little while later, Blue emerges from his cocoon. Cricket then shared a flashback of when her mother moved away. The group decided to go to Jewel Hive, where they could search for the Chrysalis. The group donned disguises in order to make it in, with Cricket pretending to be a HiveWing with her many servants. They found a note that led them to the Library at midnight, a step closer to finding the Chrysalis. While waiting for midnight, Cricket takes the group to one of her hiding spots. As they waited, she spied her sister, Katydid, sneaking into her mother's house with Scarab. Cricket then leaves to see her sister. When the two meet, they embrace, and Cricket tries to get Katydid to believe Wasp's evilness, although her sister doesn't buy it. Katydid then reveals that Cadelle and her husband are not Cricket's parents.
Part Two: A Trail of Silk
Cricket is trying to focus on what "5" meant on the note while she, Blue, Swordtail, and Sundew walked to the library. When they got there, the library doors were locked so they waited a bit to see if the Chrysalis would come. After waiting for some time, Cricket and the others were thinking that the Chrysalis wouldn't come. Cricket began inspecting the Clearsight statue outside of the library. She then noticed that the Clearsight statue had five spikes on the back of her head, and on the fifth spike, there was a key. She tested to see if the key could open the library doors, and it worked. While Cricket, Blue, Swordtail, and Sundew walked into the library. Sundew then grumbled on about the number of trees that were killed in order to make the library and books. Cricket quickly replied that the book pages were mostly made of silk. Soon enough, they heard shouting coming from the second floor of the library. They quietly walked into a room with one large window, where three Silkwings named Morpho, Tau, and Cinnabar were arguing about someone named Argus. Swordtail introduced himself awkwardly after listening to them for a few minutes. Then, he talked about finding Luna and said he had other friends with them. When Blue stepped out of the shadows, all three Chrysalis Silkwings got excited and recognized him from the Wanted posters. Blue explained that a nice HiveWing named Cricket helped him escape, and motioned for Cricket to come out. However, when the Chrysalis saw her, they screamed and covered their faces with pillows and blankets. Cricket tried to explain that she couldn't be mind-controlled and she was a good HiveWing, which does little to ease Morpho's suspicion.
Finally, Sundew comes out, shocking the Jewel Hive Chrysalis, and says that she has an army prepared for them to help their cause. After the Silkwings came over their shock and Sundew explained a few things, Morpho immediately said that he would ally with Sundew and the LeafWings to destroy the HiveWings. This shocked Tau, Cinnabar, Cricket, and Blue, who didn't want to burn the Hives. Throughout the conversation, Cricket saw silver flashes coming through the window but thought it was nothing. She turned around and saw a reflection of the armor that HiveWing soldiers wore. Sundew immediately shushed the dragons, and Cricket could hear a faint jingling as if someone was trying to find the right keys to unlock the library door.
Sundew quickly asked Cricket if she had a hiding place in the library. This is due to Cricket always trying to find a place to hide when Queen Wasp begins to control the other HiveWings. Cricket led the Chrysalis and her friends to the first floor of the library and was surprised that the Chrysalis trusted her enough to follow her. She showed the dragons book drops, in which dragons put their returned books in. Tau and Cinnabar got into one, Swordtail and Morpho into another one, Blue and Cricket in the next, and Sundew hid alone in the last one. Just as Sundew shut all the doors of the book drops, the key clicked and the door opened.
Queen Wasp was talking through the mind of one HiveWing soldier, but she didn't control the other ones. She told them to search every corner of the library. However, the HiveWing soldier couldn't find Cricket's friends and the Chrysalis. This angered Queen Wasp who knew she saw dragons in the library and threatened to kill the soldiers and burn all the books in the library. Cricket was terrified and was thinking of turning herself in because she thought she wasn't as important as Blue or Sundew. Just when the HiveWing soldiers were about to start the fire, Tau and Cinnabar leaped out of their hiding places. Cinnabar made up a story about how she and Tau were hiding from Lady Jewel because she said they were reading to much and not working enough, so they had been sneaking into the library after hours to read.
Queen Wasp asked if anyone else was with them, and Tau lies by saying, "No one, your Majesty." Queen Wasp said she saw blue wings, and Cinnabar quickly replied that her cousin, Morpho, had come earlier to scold them. Queen Wasp was satisfied by this answer, and Cricket could hear talonsteps walking out of the library. However, Cricket decided to not come out yet. A few minutes later, a HiveWing soldier came back into the library and told the Queen Wasp-controlled HiveWing that they think Lady Scarab was hiding a dragon.
Queen Wasp said they should, "…pay Lady Scarab a visit," and with that, they left. Cricket immediately got out of her hiding spot, knowing that Queen Wasp was going to find Katydid, but Sundew said it was a really bad idea since Cricket would never make it in time. However, Cricket stubbornly replied that she was going anyway, so Blue volunteered to go with her, which made Sundew want to come, too. Swordtail and Morpho's got out of their hiding place, and Morpho said he needed to go back home or his dad would worry. Sundew said that when he goes back home, he needs to tell everyone in the Jewel Hive Chrysalis (four of them didn't come to the meeting) to meet her in the farthest stall of the Glitterbazaar at noon.
When Sundew, Cricket, and Blue reach the street where Lady Scarab's mansion was, they could hear Queen Wasp ordering Lady Scarab to open the door. The trio joins a party near the building to eavesdrop on the exchange. After some time, Lady Scarab opens the door and tells Wasp she doesn't have the dragon she was looking for. From their exchange, Cricket realizes Scarab couldn't be controlled. Lady Scarab still denied Wasp access to her house and the dragon she was keeping there. This angers Queen Wasp, and she now started controlling all the HiveWing's minds. Lady Scarab used her odor power, which was even more powerful and unbearable than the other times she used it. Katydid finally woke up and told Lady Scarab she didn't want to get her in trouble. Since Queen Wasp found out the identity of the dragon, she controlled Katydid's mind and marched her and her soldiers away.
After the soldiers leave, Cricket bangs on Scarab's door, to which the old dragon opened it and let her in. Cricket told her that she had a few questions. First, Cricket asked if Scarab knew why she couldn't be mind-controlled. Surprisingly, Lady Scarab didn't know either, so Cricket said that she might be half SilkWing. However, Lady Scarab said that Cricket was wrong and told her that her real mother was Katydid. When Cricket asks as to her father's identity, Scarab tells her his name was Malachite, and he had been her secretary and one of her favorite dragons. Wasp had been aware of her preference for Malachite, so she forbade Malachite's marriage with Katydid. Eventually, Queen Wasp mind-controlled Malachite, and Lady Scarab never saw him again. When Katydid was with egg, Lady Scarab helped her devise a plan to hide her identity as the child's mother. Cricket fears that she would never see Katydid again, and Queen Wasp would do the same thing to Katydid as with Malachite. She then asks Scarab to borrow a paintbrush.
Part Three: The Queen's Secrets
Cricket discussed her plan to Blue, Swordtail, and Sundew. She wanted them to write multiple copies of the last page of The Book of Clearsight and then hang them up in the Hive and tell the truth the HiveWings deserve to know. Cricket also decided that doing some graffiti art would be a great idea. She was almost done putting up all the posters and paintings all over the place when she bumped into Cadelle. Cadelle was angry to see Cricket, and dragged Cricket into her house. Cricket tried to explain what she was doing in the Jewel Hive and explained the last page of The Book of Clearsight, but this made Cadelle want the book. Cricket tried to get past Cadelle, but out of nowhere, Cadelle's eyes turned white, and Queen Wasp spotted Cricket. Cricket tried to run from the mind-controlled HiveWings chasing after her, but there were too many. She was brought down by Cadelle and stung multiple times by another HiveWing. They drag Cricket into Lady Jewel's dungeon and lock her in a cell. Queen Wasp tells Cricket that she will be on her way to "fix her."
Cricket woke up to see Lady Jewel and Lady Scarab arguing in front of her cell. Both Lady Jewel and Lady Scarab hate Queen Wasp because of what Cricket told them. Cricket asks Lady Jewel if she could be freed, but Lady Jewel said that Queen Wasp would punish her and her guards severely. Lady Scarab comes up with a plan about putting Lady Jewel's worst guards on duty and giving Cricket flamesilk to burn a hole on the top of her cell. The hole would be at the bottom of the kitchen, and she knew some dragons who would help Cricket. When Queen Wasp finds out, it would seem like Blue burned the hole, and if she punishes the guards, Lady Jewel wouldn't care because she hates those guards anyway. While Cricket was burning a hole in the roof, a SilkWing in a nearby cell ask if he could help Cricket escape somehow, and Cricket told him to say to Queen Wasp that he saw a dragon named Blue burn the hole. When Cricket finally made the hole, she was surprised to see that Cinnabar and Tau were there along with other SilkWings. Cinnabar and Tau led Cricket to a door that opened to the savanna. Tau walked up to Lady Jewel's treasurer, Treehopper. Cricket could see and he and Tau were in love. Tau led Treehopper out of his post, so Cricket could fly for freedom. However, as Cricket had promised to find answers for Lady Jewel, she doesn't escape and instead flies for the hatchery.
At the hatchery, Cricket sneaks past the guards and enters. When inside, she inspects the eggs and notices select differences with each one — some were marked with two stinger shapes, some with only one, and others with none. Among the eggs — each one marked with their mothers' name — Cricket finds one with the word "Orphanage" written on it. On a whim, she takes the egg and flies into the rafters of the building to hide, just in time to see Queen Wasp enter the hatchery. Cricket sneaks to a dark area where Queen Wasp would be unable to spot her whilst carrying the egg.
Cricket watches as the Queen stops by a cluster of eggs marked with only one stinger and picks one up. She stabs it with her tail, injecting the dragonet inside with her venom, and then draws another stinger mark on the shell before moving on to another egg. Here Cricket finally figures out how Wasp was able to control her tribe: by injecting the eggs, Wasp was able to connect the dragon to her so that the instant they hatched, and throughout their whole lives, she'd be able to control them. The reason why Cricket herself couldn't be controlled was because Katydid had originally intended to hide her egg, consequently keeping it from Wasp, and later replicated the same stinger markings Wasp made so Cricket would pass as an officially registered egg.
Cricket flies through the storm outside, and bumps into Blue who shows her where their other friends were hiding: a stall in the Glitterbazaar. The next day, they went back to the cave to meet Sundew's parents, but they weren't there. The egg Cricket saved hatches to reveal a dragonet, and Cricket ends up naming her Bumblebee. She notices that the inside lining of Bumblebee's egg is covered in an odd green substance, which Sundew claims to know the source having been surrounded by the smell while inside Wasp's greenhouse. Suddenly, Blue spots a column of smoke coming from the distance. The LeafWings were burning down Bloodworm Hive. This angers Sundew because her parents said that they would wait for her report. Cricket, Blue, Swordtail, and Sundew journeyed to Wasp Hive. They managed to blend in even though they are wanted fugitives. Since Queen Wasp was more focused on Bloodworm Hive, they managed to burn down Queen Wasp's greenhouse. After that, the group decided to go to the Poison Jungle to meet the LeafWings.
Tsunami and Turtle go through a tiresome journey to reach Pantala. They land in the Poison Jungle and get saved from a large snake by a LeafWing. The LeafWing tells the SeaWings that her name is Willow, but afterward immediately tells Turtle and Tsunami to go back or they will get killed. Back on Pyrrhia, Luna asks Moon if she found a way to get to Pantala themselves. Moon says not to worry because the Pantalan dragons are coming to them.
- There is a Barnes & Noble exclusive edition with a foldout map of Pantala in the same style as the map of Pyrrhia that came with the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition of Darkstalker.
- There was a Barnes & Noble promotion where a set of trading cards, one for each tribe and three with ads for the series, was free with the purchase of the book.
- While designing the cover, Tui only described the shape of the Hive and what Cricket looked like. Joy Ang drew the rest of the details, such as the shops.[event 1]
Click here to see the cover gallery.
- Russian: Драконья сага. Королева ульев (May 2020)
- French: Les Royaumes de Feu. Les rebelles de Pantala (September 3, 2020)
- German: Wings of Fire. Die Schwarmkönigin (September 2021)