The Hive Queen is the twelfth book in the Wings of Fire series, and the second book of the third arc. The book was officially released in the United States on December 26th, 2018, although some people who pre-ordered got the book a day earlier. The book cover was released on September 17, 2018. The main protagonist is Cricket.
The first chapter can be found here: https://www.hypable.com/hive-queen-wings-of-fire-cover-chapter-1/
A considerable portion of the book, including the epilogue, was leaked via an Amazon preview, and sites such as the one above.
There is an audiobook, read by Shannon McManus, available on Spotify.
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 I think you are kindred spirits!”
Quote on back of Hardcover Edit
"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 the Hives for us."
Moon gazed across the ocean with the thought that the sea was the end of the world. She then thought about Luna and Darkstalker, believing it was her fault for trusting him too much and not thinking about his bad side. Wanting to help Luna using her visions, she continued to think about Luna and Pantala. Reading the SilkWing's thoughts about Moon telling her what might happen next and having grand ideas of the NightWing's powers, Moon sighs. Luna approached the NightWing and asked why she was alone to which Moon responded by saying that she liked gazing at the moons, and that her full name was Moonwatcher. Luna told her that her name means 'moon' in the old language.
Upon seeing Luna's flamesilk, Moon was surprised and told Luna about it, to which the SilkWing shrugs. Luna then proceeded to ask about Clearsight's changing in the old language. Later she asked Moon if she was having a vision to which the NightWing declined, much to Luna's disappointment. Moon apologized and Luna answered saying she wanted to return back to her sibling, Blue, and Moon stated that Qibli would think of something to get her back. Sensing movement behind her, Moon grabbed Luna's talons and speaks a prophecy.
Tsunami and Turtle arrived with Moon greeting them. Turtle stated that his animus magic, including Anemone's, are broken. Tsunami later told them all that the only way to get to the Lost Continent is by swimming there.
Part One: The Glittering Hive Edit
Cricket was in the cave dutifully standing by Blue's cocoon as she promised him. However, she started to regret her choice to watch Blue's cocoon as she was suffering from extreme boredom with no one to talk to and nothing to read. As she sat there, her mind wandered, and she had a flashback of her childhood.
The flashback began 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 Temple of Clearsight. While she was reading, her mother entered 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's 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 ended.
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, and Cricket is delighted that she was there, though Sundew did not have the same feeling. Sundew dragged an unconscious Swordtail in with her and when he woke up, he admitted that he could not find Luna. Swordtail was covered in seaweed at the moment and was trying to pull it off. Sundew explained 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 went off to look for her parents, and Swordtail left to search for Luna, and Cricket was left alone.
A little while later, Cricket got excited because she thought Blue was about to come out. Soon after, Blue came out of 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 and blend in easily, which involved some sparkly outfits (not to Sundew’s pleasure). As they tried to get in, Cricket pretended to be an arrogant, selfish HiveWing and snuck past some guards by “gossiping” with another HiveWing. They found a note that led them to the Library at midnight, a step closer to finding the Chrysalis. While waiting for midnight, Cricket took the squad to one of her hiding spots, where she found her sister, Katydid, sneaking into her mother’s house with Lady Scarab. When Cricket speaks to her, Katydid said that she had no time and the only thing she could say before she left was “Cadelle is not your mother. And Father is not your father, either", which sent Cricket’s world into a tizzy.
Part Two: A Trail of Silk Edit
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 on how she and Tau were hiding from Lady Jewel, because she wanted the SilkWings to do their chores, but Tau and Cinnabar wanted to read books, so they sneaked into the library at night to read some books.
Queen Wasp asked if anyone else was with them, and Tau lied by saying, "No one, your Majesty." Queen Wasp said she saw blue wings, and Cinnabar quickly replied that her cousin, Morpho, had came 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 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 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 reached the street where Lady Scarab's mansion was, they could hear Queen Wasp ordering Lady Scarab to open the door. The trio tried to blend into a party near Lady Scarab's mansion while listening to what Queen Wasp was saying. Lady Scarab finally opened the door, but she looked angry. A few of the dragons in the party were thinking Lady Scarab would use her smelly HiveWing power, and edged away. Lady Scarab said that she didn't have the dragon Queen Wasp was looking for (Cricket). Cricket figured out that Lady Scarab couldn't be mind-controlled since she was putting up a fight. Lady Scarab still denied Wasp access to her house and the dragon she was keeping there. This angered 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. Cricket approached Scarab's mansion, and begged Lady Scarab to let her in. Scarab grumbled about Cricket, but 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. Her real father was actually Lady Scarab's secretary, Malachite, and told Cricket that Malachite gave her hope for the future with his brilliant ideas and talent. Unfortunately, Queen Wasp saw how Malachite made Lady Scarab happy, but the queen wanted to hurt Scarab in any way possible. So she forbids Malachite's marriage with Katydid. Soon enough, Queen Wasp mind-controlled Malachite, and Lady Scarab never saw him again. When Katydid was with egg, Lady Scarab helped her devise a plan. It took a lot of persuasion with Cadelle, but she finally gave in. Lady Scarab wrote on the birth certificate and other legal papers that Cadelle was Cricket's mother. Cricket feared that she would never see Katydid again, and Queen Wasp would do the same thing to Katydid as with Malachite. This angered Cricket. So, she borrowed one of Lady Scarab's paintbrushes and designed her own plan.
Part Three: The Queen's SecretsEdit
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. Even Sundew discouraged her, Cricket wanted to hang up the copies 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 painting 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 in 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 a guard named Treehopper, and 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 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.
- This is the first book to have a HiveWing PoV.
- This book confirms the whereabouts of the LeafWings: The Poison Jungle.
- This book also reveals Lady Jewel is Queen Wasp's cousin, and Lady Scarab is Queen Wasp's aunt.
- This book is the shortest book in the series so far, having only 286 pages. (The line spacing in the book is also wider than other books.)
- This book reveals that at least HiveWings are able to fold their wings, as Cricket does so when she takes Bumblebee's egg and dives down from the Nest
- 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.
- The Hive Queen is the first book to have the chapters end differently. The rest of the books have chapters end and just continue on to the next page, but The Hive Queen has the next page blank if the chapter ends on the page on the right, like when a "part" of the book ends.
- The Hive Queen and The Dark Secret are the only two books to share a part name (The Queen's Secret).
- This is the first book released a day after Christmas, the second being Dragonslayer (however, Dragonslayer's release date has been moved to February 4, 2020, so it's the only book released a day after Christmas so far).