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The Poison Jungle is the thirteenth book in the New York Times bestselling series Wings of Fire, and the third book in the third arc. The main protagonist is Sundew. The book was officially released on July 30th, 2019. The book cover was released on January 31st, 2019.
Some secrets are deadly.
It's no secret that Sundew wants to destroy the HiveWings. It's her life's mission to exact revenge on the tribe that tried to wipe out the LeafWings and ripped every tree from the surface of Pantala.
Every tree, that is, except the wild and dangerous Poison Jungle, where the surviving LeafWings have been hiding since the war. Hiding, plotting, and waiting for a dragon like Sundew, who is uniquely qualified to bring down the Hives.
There are dark secrets in the jungle, though — some that Sundew is keeping, and some that she's only just beginning to discover. And now that a new war is upon them, Sundew and her friends must unearth the oldest secret in the jungle — even if what they find has the power to destroy them all.
Quote on Back of Hardcover
"It's easier when you grow up knowing what to avoid," Sundew said. "Nowadays we only lose a few dragons a year to the carnivorous plants."
"The what now?" Swordtail said. "CARNIVOROUS WHATS?"
"Yeah, you will probably get eaten," Sundew said with a shrug.
"Do we have to go to the place with certain death?" Blue asked.
"Yes, because it's my home," Sundew said. "And also the only place you'll be safe."
The prologue was set before the Burning of Bloodworm Hive and showed the dragons who had planned it: Bryony, Hemlock, Pokeweed, and Grayling behind one of Bloodworm Hive's greenhouses in the middle of the night moments before burning it. They talked about the fates of the SilkWings, worrying about them, but ultimately decided to go ahead with burning Bloodworm Hive. Grayling thanked Bryony for caring about the SilkWings enough to fight the HiveWings for them, and Grayling felt guilty, thinking about how they had planned this only as revenge, without thinking of the SilkWings at all.
Part One: Roots and Sprouts
Sundew led Blue, Cricket (who was holding Bumblebee), and Swordtail through the Poison Jungle to the LeafWing village, trying to protect them from the dangerous fauna. Swordtail asked Sundew if the rumors about the jungle's dangers were real, and Sundew responded that they were. She also noted that Queen Wasp had sent expeditions to the Poison Jungle — the rumors came from the HiveWings who survived and returned to tell the tale. She also said that Wasp once tried to burn down the Poison Jungle but failed. She also stated that the dragons who came to burn the Poison Jungle all died. Blue, Cricket, and Swordtail continued to argue about entering the jungle, but Sundew said that they do not have a choice. She warned the group not to touch anything that she had not touched first. They took a passage through some makahiya and moved across a branch, but Swordtail leaned down to sniff at a pink flower that turned out to be a Venus dragon-trap underneath them. It pulled him off of the branch and swallowed him whole.
Cricket and Blue panicked, while Sundew was angry that Swordtail did not listen. Blue attempted to get Swordtail out, but Sundew pulled him back and told him not to touch. She shouted at Swordtail to stop thrashing since the plant would release him if he were motionless, but he did not hear her and continued to struggle. Cricket suggested slicing the Venus dragon-trap open to get Swordtail out, but Sundew told her that they had adapted to resist attacks from dragon claws and grow in clusters, so if somebody tries to help, they will also get eaten. Before she could do think of anything to do, Blue shot a strand of flamesilk at the Venus dragon-trap. Sundew yelled at Blue and then put out half of the fire with water from nearby bromeliad leaves. In an attempt to put out the rest of the fire, she used her leafspeak to grow a chokecherry tree up to her height. She grabbed the chokecherries from the tree and smeared them on burning branches, stopping the fire from spreading any further. Cricket helped by getting more water, and eventually, the fire was put out completely. The Venus dragon-trap holding Swordtail was dead, so Blue flew down and attempted to cut open the plant. Sundew yelled at Blue for nearly setting the jungle on fire, but they got Swordtail out of the dead plant. Sundew, Blue, Cricket, Swordtail, and Bumblebee got back on the branch to avoid the other carnivorous plants around them. Sundew yelled at the group again, reminding them that the Poison Jungle was dangerous and they should all listen to her. They continued along for a while, with Blue feeling guilty, Swordtail muttering under his breath, and Cricket holding Bumblebee. Cricket finally asked whether Sundew made the tree grow, and she was forced to reveal her power.
They continued towards the LeafWing village until Sundew heard Mandrake. She went over and saw him trying to kill a panther while his father, Wolfsbane, and his sister, Nettle, watched disapprovingly. Sundew made a thorn bush grow in the panther's way to kill it and revealed herself to the three LeafWings. Blue, Cricket, and Swordtail came down, and Wolfsbane and Nettle became hostile, but Sundew explained that Blue and the others were helpful. Nettle and Wolfsbane left to inform Commander Belladonna, while Mandrake volunteered to stay with the group. He introduced himself as Sundew's fiance, which prompted questioning from Cricket as to whether he was the one true love that Sundew had mentioned previously. Sundew was mad at herself for saying that to Cricket. They arrived at the LeafWing village and discovered that the flamesilk used to burn the hive was Blue's. This devastated Blue because he had been against the burning all along. After Belladonna treated them like prisoners, Cricket and Blue started to wonder if they could trust Sundew.
Near midnight, Sundew snuck out, across the border towards the SapWing village. She remembered meeting her girlfriend Willow for the first time, and after some time, Willow arrived at their designated meeting spot. Sundew told her about her mission and the plant that Queen Wasp used for her mind control. This shocked Willow, and the old LeafWing queen, Sequoia, appeared out of the undergrowth. She asked Willow and Sundew to follow her to the SapWing village, where Sundew told the Queen everything and showed her the mind control plant. Queen Sequoia asked them to meet with her in the morning, so Willow took Sundew to meet the two SeaWings that she had rescued, Tsunami and Turtle. There was a SilkWing there as well, who turned out to be Swordtail's sister Io. Sundew met them and found out that they came because of Luna, who had washed up on the shore of Pyrrhia. Belladonna arrived, and the queen invited her to a meeting. Belladonna brought Cricket and Swordtail along with her, and Swordtail was finally reunited with Io. Tsunami told them that Luna was alright, while Belladonna and Queen Sequoia argued about the future of the tribe. The LeafWing queen got down to business and asked, "Have you ever heard of the Legend of the Hive?"
Part Two: Tendrils And Teeth
Queen Sequoia began to tell the legend. When dragons arrived on Pantala for the first time, they would be attacked by swarms of insects every night, all moving as one and seemingly united by one mind. After many deaths, the dragons discovered that cutting back the breath of evil, the vine that covered the entire continent, gradually made areas safe. Eventually, the plant had been removed from almost the whole continent. After telling the story, the queen asked Cricket, Willow, and Sundew to venture into the most dangerous part of the jungle and find Hawthorn, a LeafWing who guarded the small amount of breath of evil still growing in the jungle. Belladonna ordered Sundew to bring Nettle and Mandrake in addition to her choice of traveling companions. On the trip, Nettle fell and got trapped in a carnivorous plant, forcing them to cut it open with a thorn. Later, they came across the most dangerous obstacles of the journey so far, forcing them to fly across a lake. They all managed to cross until Sundew and Bumblebee were the only ones left. Sundew got close to the other side of the lake, but Bumblebee screamed and landed on Sundew's face. Blinded, Sundew was trapped by a sundew. After a little searching, she was able to attract an enormous tsetse fly and distract the plant. They made it the rest of the way across and discovered that the next part of their journey would be through the Den of Vipers. After entering this area, they spotted dragonbite vipers above them, behind them, and on their sides staring at them. They were not dead but were paralyzed in place. Once they were almost to their destination, the vipers all moved and cornered them. It turned out that the snakes had been mind-controlled by Hawthorn, who appeared and invited them in for tea.
They talked to Hawthorn, who told them that he was the one who gave the breath of evil to Queen Wasp, and that was why he had been exiled. He also said that he had found an antidote, which he called the heart of salvation. They convinced Hawthorn to come with them to give the antidote to the arriving HiveWing army, with Hawthorn agreeing on the condition that he brought a few snakes and his favorite carving — the seed of the breath of evil.
Part Three: Leaves in a Storm
Nettle, Sundew, and Cricket left Bumblebee with Tsunami and traveled toward the LeafWing camp with Hawthorn's antidote, a root called the heart of salvation. When they arrived, they talked with Queen Sequoia and Belladonna about their plans to distribute the heart of salvation into the HiveWing army. They asked Blue to let them use his flamesilk to burn the root, hoping that fumes would have the same effect as consuming the root. He agreed, but on the terms that Belladonna and Queen Sequoia would not use any of it to harm another dragon.
While Blue and Swordtail went with the other LeafWings, Sundew slept for the night. When she awoke, she broke the news to Mandrake that she did not want to marry him, but he let her know that he already knew. The two decided to grow more of the antidote. As Sundew tried to reach it with her leafspeak, she felt some barrier, making it harder for her to talk to it, and when it finally grew, it turned into the breath of evil, whose premature root was disguised as the antidote. Sundew told Mandrake to stop, but it was too late — the fire had already been lit.
As they panicked, Hawthorn appeared on the other side of the river with Willow beside him and a dragonbite viper poised at her neck, ready to strike. As Sundew, Mandrake, and Cricket landed, vines wrapped around their talons, trapping them. Sundew realized that the plant was talking through Hawthorn as he tried to soothe them into taking the breath of evil. Cricket tried to distract Hawthorn by asking how the plant worked as Sundew tried to find something that could help them escape. Sundew found a sundew in between Willow and Hawthorn and used her leafspeak to make it eat the viper and Hawthorn. It worked, but once Hawthorn was caught, he tried to strangle Cricket. At the same time, he attempted to use his leafspeak to free himself. Before he could do anything, though, Willow stabbed him with an enormous thorn, killing him instantly.
They cut the vine, which retreated away from the dragons. The group rushed to the village and told others about the grave situation with the newly-named othermind. Queen Hazel, looking through the Book of Clearsight for help, cut open the binding and found a secret page. It turned out to be a map of the route from Pantala to Pyrrhia, using small uninhabited islands to rest along the way. They hurriedly planned to use this discovery to escape the continent. Io came in, asking to save the rest of the SilkWings, and Hazel reluctantly lets her have a quickly-made copy of the map. Io, Cinnabar, and several other SilkWings prepared to leave, but before they took off, Sundew asked them to bring Hemlock, Bryony, and Pokeweed with them. Suddenly, a LeafWing guard crashed into the pavilion with the news that Wasp and her army were setting the jungle on fire.
Hazel ordered her tribe to evacuate to the coast, and Mandrake organized the PoisonWings into groups for evacuation. Willow approached Sundew and asked why she was not managing her tribe herself, and Sundew told her that she believed Mandrake would be better at the task at hand. After some prodding from Willow, Sundew admits that she does not want to run away from the othermind and was extremely angry about it. She was caught off guard when Willow said that she was also angry about everything that had happened to them. In a decisive moment, she told Sundew that not every dragon deserves her anger, despite Sundew's protests. She finally agreed with Willow, and the two lovers professed their feelings. Willow mentioned that Sundew needed to run to prevent the othermind from using her leafspeak to spread. The two dragons then took off with the rest of the LeafWing tribe, following the map towards Pyrrhia. Sundew thought about how they would come back to Pantala once they found help and dealt with the othermind once and for all.
Jerboa flew down to meet with Snowfall somewhere south of the Great Ice Cliff and was criticized by Snowfall for being late. Jerboa landed and responded by saying that Queen Glacier had usually been the later one. She noticed Snowfall flinch at the comment and wondered if the young queen might have a heart after all. Snowfall then requested that Jerboa make the Cliff surround her kingdom to stop an invasion from another direction. The ancient animus told her in no uncertain words that no one would invade the Ice Kingdom, but she insisted someone may want to attack the IceWings like Darkstalker. She told Jerboa that one of her scouts had spotted the hundreds of Pantalan dragons fleeing from the othermind, and was convinced they want to invade. Jerboa reminded her that she should not assume they want to invade and that maybe they needed help. She refused Snowfall's request, the queen ruefully responding that Glacier could have done so much more with Jerboa's power and that she should have told Snowfall about her earlier. Jerboa said that she is not her animus and revealed that animus magic had stopped working all over the continent. When Snowfall asked for proof, Jerboa enchanted a stick to make anything it touches green, but it did not affect herself or the rock next to her. Snowfall called her useless and flew away in a rage, and Jerboa was satisfied by this, thinking, "Completely useless, […] Yes. Just like I've always wanted."
- When the book was ordered online from Barnes and Noble, it came with a set of three free buttons: one with a headshot of Sundew, one with a headshot of Sunny, and one with a yellow version of the Wings of Fire logo.
Click here to see the cover gallery.
- German: Wings of Fire. Der Giftdschungel (November 2021)
- Russian: Драконья Сага.Отравленные джунгли (January 2021)
- France: Les Royaume de Feu.Le Soufle du Mal (April 1, 2021)