Winter Turning is the seventh book in the New York Times bestselling series Wings of Fire, the second book in the second arc, and the first book to feature an IceWing as the main character. The main protagonist of the book is a male IceWing dragonet prince named Winter, who first appeared in the sixth book in the Wings of Fire series, Moon Rising. The book was officially released in the United States on June 30, 2015.
The title likely alludes to Winter turning into a kinder and more open dragon.
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series soars to even greater heights with a new prophecy and five new dragonets ready to claim their destiny!
Daring mission … or deadly mistake?
Winter has been a disappointment to his royal IceWing family his whole life. When his sister, Icicle, runs away from Jade Mountain Academy, fleeing terrible crimes and possibly planning to commit more, Winter knows that they both need a second chance to make things right — if only he can find her.
Winter's new clawmates, Moon, Qibli, and Kinkajou, won't let him make this dangerous journey alone. They don't seem to understand that IceWings, the most superior of all dragon tribes, can fix their own problems. When their search leads the dragonets straight into Queen Scarlet's vicious talons, Winter is grateful to have some help. But even the bravest dragons can't follow him to the Ice Kingdom, where he'll have to face the greatest threat of all: his own family.
Quote on back
Winter hesitated for a moment. Why was he agreeing to this? An IceWing warrior didn't need help from anyone else, least of all a pack of misguided dragons from other tribes.
He could see their faces so clearly; that look they got whenever he did something wrong. The look that said, If only we'd lost you instead of Hailstorm. If only you were everything an IceWing should be.
Shaking rain off his tail with a clatter of spikes, Winter ascended into the storm and took off without a glance at the other dragons.
To Catherine and Ella, because you are awesome and could definitely save the world (from dragons or for dragons, either way)!
The book began two years earlier from Hailstorm's PoV. He was taking his younger brother, Winter, out flying to find a scavenger den near SkyWing territory. Winter became increasingly worried that they might be caught by the SkyWings, but Hailstorm assured him that he could fight off a couple of SkyWings if they did get caught, and they were doing this for Winter's "weird little obsession." Hailstorm continued to boast about his position in the Ice Kingdom and being the second-in-command of the IceWing army.
Fourteen SkyWings appeared from the trees behind them, prepared to kidnap both IceWing princes. Hailstorm threatened to kill the SkyWings that dared to come close with his frost breath, but the main SkyWing (likely a SkyWing princess, as she says "Mother will be interested," most likely referring to Queen Scarlet) in front didn't seem to care. Hailstorm attempted to make a deal to let Winter go and take him instead. Winter was entirely against the idea and tried to be brave and stay with Hailstorm, so his older brother started shaming him and calling him useless, knowing that it was the only way to get Winter to leave. Finally, the SkyWings decide to let Winter go and knock out Hailstorm.
Later, when Hailstorm woke up, he realized he was face to face with Queen Scarlet. A strange SkyWing (probably Chameleon wearing the "Pyrite mask") was standing near the Queen's throne. After a short discussion, Scarlet told the strange SkyWing that Hailstorm was dangerous and needed to be imprisoned. The SkyWing turned and approached him, making the IceWing prince feel cold with fear. She reached for something around her neck. Hailstorm, too entranced by her eyes to move, couldn't run. He noticed that her eyes weren't SkyWing eyes anymore. Her eyes were black, and they were going to "swallow him whole."
Part 1: A Cold Wind
The book started with a flashback to when Winter disappointed his family when he was two years old. He was out in the Ice Palace's courtyard along with his brother and sister, Hailstorm and Icicle, his parents, two of Glacier's dragonets, and others. Tundra discussed catching a polar bear for Queen Glacier, and after some more talking, they all set out to hunt.
Winter decided to head out towards the open sea, knowing that polar bears were often on islands off the coast. After some searching around, he finally spotted a female polar bear with two of her cubs. But before he can kill them all, he noticed a lone scavenger with a spear and who was also willing to hunt the polar bears. As Winter wonders about it, his mother suddenly yelled at him, and Winter desperately tried to catch the polar bears, but they disappeared into a passageway.
Disappointed in his son, Narwhal yelled at Winter, and Icicle taunted him about the failed hunt. Winter doesn't look back at the scavenger, deciding not to tell his parents about it so that they wouldn't kill it for the feast. The hunting incident sends Winter down to the Fifth Circle. Winter remembered that he had struggled to make his way back up to the rankings and tried so hard, with no luck, to do so. He later recalled Hailstorm and his dumb decision to leave him there and why it was all his fault, and the memory ended. Winter was then shown standing in the middle of a rainstorm in a forest looking at his scavenger, who was in the cage Winter built. As Winter tried to make Bandit leave by setting him free, he heard his name and turned around, seeing the rest of his winglet — Moon, Qibli, Kinkajou, and Turtle, running up to him. He demanded to know why they were all here, and Moon said they were looking for him. She also told him about her mind-reading and prophecy powers, causing him to get extremely angry at her for keeping that secret from him.
Later they discussed how they would go about rescuing Hailstorm from Scarlet. Winter, not wanting all of them to go, quickly tricked Turtle into going off to take care of Anemone and going back to Jade Mountain. Qibli then warned Winter that it would be harder to get rid of the rest of them. The group decided to go to the Rainforest Kingdom to find Icicle. Qibli reasoned that Icicle would go to the Rainforest to get Glory who is hated by Ex-Queen Scarlet for what Queen Glory did to her in the first book, The Dragonet Prophecy. After landing next to a river, Winter was suspicious when Moon commented on how he must hate it there because of the heat. Qibli was about to eat an orange toad, but Moon stopped him due to its terrible effects and offered him a dragonfruit instead. Winter mentioned how he hated fruit and immediately tried to eat a sloth but was stopped by Ex-Queen Exquisite. As they neared the NightWing Village, Deathbringer pounced on Winter, believing him to be Icicle. This attracted Queen Glory, who was upset that she got a message from the school saying that four five-year-olds were going off to find some dragon who just tried to kill Starflight (Icicle), and then stopped someone else who had tried to kill them "ninety dozen times" (Scarlet). Winter explained that he came to search for his sister, and he requested that no one is to get in his way. Glory told him that they were more than capable. Glory asked Heliconia, another RainWing, to get the scout captains to meet at the pavilion as soon as possible. Heliconia said that she should stay to guard Glory, but Glory argued that "I think seven guards are quite sufficient," making Deathbringer protest that there was no point in a secret invisible guard if the queen tells everyone about it. They then met the scout team, and Queen Glory asked if they have seen an IceWing. They all answer no, so Moon — having heard a thought from one of the RainWings — prompted them by asking if they have seen anything that could have resulted from an IceWing's frostbreath. A RainWing scout replied that they had, and they led them to the spot. They found an area frozen with frostbreath, and then a NightWing's dead body. Queen Glory assembled search parties for Icicle and sent Moon, Winter, Kinkajou, and Qibli to the dragonet wingery. To escape and find Icicle before anyone else does, they started a game of "hide-and-seek" with RainWing and NightWing dragonets counting up to a thousand. Unfortunately, the dragonets couldn't count, giving the team less time. While they were distracted, Winter froze a hole in the wall, and the four of them jump through. Kinkajou explained that the dragonets wouldn't give up until they have searched every square inch of the wingery. Winter planned to ditch them and go home or find Icicle himself but failed to execute the plan after Moon alerted the group of a nearby search party. The group hid under a nearby fallen tree to avoid getting caught.
After the search party left, Winter wondered if Moon was right, that he did have a confusing mind. He remembered his first rankings test with Hailstorm and Icicle, and he wondered why his winglet risked their lives for him. He wondered if he could ditch them now, as they were distracted. Kinkajou reprimanded Winter, telling him, "The words you're looking for are thank you." Winter decided maybe it would be better to follow them, just for a little while longer. They later arrive at the secret NightWing island tunnel. The group marveled at how Kinkajou survived as a NightWing prisoner and how she did not hold a grudge against them. They found a huge dragon that got caught in the volcanic eruption and died with its talons up, most likely Morrowseer. Winter told the story of Arctic and Foeslayer, and how she kidnapped the animus dragon. They later had eggs, and one of them was Darkstalker. Each IceWing could only use their animus magic once, to create a gift for the tribe. Moon started to hear a scraping sound, so the group follows it. Thus, finding Winter's wounded sister, Icicle.
When they found her, Icicle was in horrible condition. Her wounds from Jade Mountain Academy hadn't healed, she was covered in red and blue blood, and she hadn't slept to avoid seeing Scarlet in her dreams. Icicle explained that she would sit by the lava when she got tired, and the heat would wake her up. Kinkajou attacked Icicle because she insulted Queen Glory, but right before Icicle killed her, Glory shot her with a tranquilizer dart and arrested Icicle for "murder and attempted murder." As Icicle tried to fight sleep, Winter whispered to her to make Scarlet tell her the truth, and that if she did, Winter would kill Glory. Kinkajou admitted to leaving a trail for the queen to find them. Qibli asked Moon if she could get into Icicle's dream and find out what Scarlet is telling her. Moon replied that she was trying but that Icicle was sleeping too deeply to dream.
When Winter woke up back at the RainWing village, Moon explained to Winter that Scarlet has left. Winter then asked Moon if Icicle was alright and if Scarlet said anything about Hailstorm. Moon replied that she trusted that Winter wouldn't kill Glory because if Winter did, he might start a war between the IceWings and Glory's two tribes. Moon stated that she thought Winter wouldn't kill any dragonets and that Winter didn't just think about himself, that he thought about his tribe too. Winter said that sometimes he only knew one thing: that he hoped he would never hurt Moon. Kinkajou then popped up behind Winter and exclaimed she figured it out. Moon followed Kinkajou into the pavilion as Winter calmed himself. As Winter stepped in, he saw Kinkajou under the firefly jars. Moon drew a picture of a mountain that she saw behind Scarlet when the ex-queen was dreamvisiting Icicle. No one recognized it, but Moon said it would be easy to track Scarlet down, now that they knew she was near an oddly shaped mountain. Kinkajou commented on how awesome Moon's powers were and how lucky she was.
Part 2: In the Claws of the Clouds
Deathbringer couldn't identify the mountains that Moon saw but told them that the Talons of Peace might have a SkyWing that could. The four dragonets and Deathbringer headed off to find them and passed by a scavenger den. The scavengers tried to hit Qibli with a weapon, most likely a ballista, but Winter blasted frostbreath at the spear, knocking it off course. He told them to move to a higher spot to avoid being hit.
After explaining and drawing the weapon for Qibli, Winter was attacked by Squid. Riptide, who had followed Squid, told him to leave the dragonets alone. He couldn't identify the mountains either, so he called other dragons, including Cirrus and Pyrite. Winter didn't remember Cirrus because Cirrus had been in the Talons of Peace before he was born. Pyrite remembered the mountains and offered to lead them to it. Winter touched her scales and identified her as an animus dragon.
While everyone was asleep that night, Winter told Moon about his theory. Moon said to him that Pyrite's thoughts were all the same as if she didn't think anything else. They wondered if she could be the part of the prophecy; "Beware the one who is not what she seems." However, Qibli pointed out that Pyrite couldn't be an animus because the SkyWings hadn't had one possibly as long as the IceWings.
In the morning, they saw the mountain peak and found a scale, which Pyrite identified as Scarlet's. They searched the valley, but with no signs other than the destroyed structure where the scale was found. Scarlet visited Winter's dreams that night and told Winter that she would kill Hailstorm in the morning. After realizing that Scarlet must have seen them dreamvisit him, Moon, Qibli, and Winter headed off to find Scarlet. They were able to find her and saw that Scarlet had a NightWing ally. Scarlet decided she no longer had any use for Hailstorm and sent the NightWing to get Pyrite. Pyrite was necessary for the death of Hailstorm.
The trio flew back to their camp, waking up Pyrite and Kinkajou. Winter started fighting with Pyrite, and then Kinkajou shrieked upon the NightWing's arrival. He struck her three times and then knocked her into a tree. Moon and Winter sprayed fire and frostbreath on him until he flew away. While Moon saw to Kinkajou's wounds, Winter took off Pyrite's special necklace. When he did, Pyrite turned into Hailstorm. Hailstorm had almost no memories of the past two years and tried to remember more, but it was difficult for him. Their reunion was cut short when they recalled Kinkajou's current state.
The trio took turns carrying Kinkajou to Possibility, a town in the Kingdom of Sand. Moon and Kinkajou were taken to a MudWing doctor named Mayfly. Hailstorm, Qibli, and Winter waited in the garden, where they disassembled Pyrite's necklace, discovering a strange piece of paper inside that read:
Enchant this paper so that when any dragon wears it in the form of a necklace, he or she shall fully become a female SkyWing named Pyrite, with the following conditions:
(1) Completely loyal to Queen Scarlet and the SkyWing tribe
(2) Insecure and weak
(3) No memory of his or her former identity
(4) Compelled to wear this necklace at all times with life-or-death urgency
Winter wanted to try on the necklace to see what it felt like being Pyrite and to see what Hailstorm went through. But before he tried it on, Qibli ripped off number four to see if Winter could take it off. Winter tried it on and ultimately regretted his choice. Winter forgot everything about being an IceWing until he took the necklace off.
After Hailstorm made a fool of himself, Winter decided to take Hailstorm back to the IceWing kingdom. Moon was trying to make him stay, but he left and told Moon that they were never friends, and he could never trust a NightWing. Then he and his brother left and went to the Ice Kingdom.
Part 3: Beneath the Ice
As they went to the Ice Kingdom, Winter explained the Great Ice Cliff for Hailstorm to remember. He said it was animus touched that if any dragon from another tribe were to pass, they would die. As they entered the palace, Winter and Hailstorm met their father, who said, "So. My two sons have returned to me. One I thought would never come back — the other I hoped never would." Winter looked at the rankings and saw Icicle and himself in the last two places. Narwhal was extremely displeased with Winter for his actions, but Hailstorm claimed Winter did so to save his life. The next day during a rankings ceremony, Narwhal added Hailstorm back into the rankings. However, he was placed at the bottom of the Seventh Circle. Winter was moved into first place for bringing Hailstorm home. Hailstorm then attempted the Diamond Trial, which took place at sunset the next day. On the flight there, Winter told Queen Glacier everything that had happened since he left Jade Mountain. However, he left out a few things. Once they arrived at the Diamond Caves, Glacier made a short speech. Winter and Hailstorm then entered the Diamond Caves.
Hailstorm and Winter went deep into the ice caves. Winter was appalled to see that there were almost a hundred dragons encased in ice. Hailstorm then flew over to the spot where Foeslayer was frozen. He tapped on the frozen dragon, bringing Foeslayer to life. They introduced themselves, and then Hailstorm attempted to kill her. Foeslayer was about to stab him with the spear when Winter knocked her aside. Winter tried to make scenarios where they both lived, but Hailstorm disagreed with all of them. Foeslayer requested for one of them to kill her, which Hailstorm did. Winter then told Hailstorm to go out and claim victory and that he would sneak out later and stay away from the Ice Kingdom. Several hours later, Winter revived Foeslayer and told her how much she stole when she took away the tribe's animus dragons. She argued that the IceWings might have used the magic for evil and revealed that she didn't steal Prince Arctic. Winter freed Foeslayer and proceeded to go with her, as she knew exactly where the "Lost Kingdom of Night" was.
Darkstalker listened in on the thoughts of various dragons at Jade Mountain. He learned that Onyx was planning something with some old dragon and thought about how the possible futures would play out and if they would work to his advantage. After studying Anemone's futures and reading her mind, he moved on to Peril. He theorized that she might be the "Talons of Power and Fire" and noted that she could change everything.
A letter from Smolder of the SandWings to Vermilion of the SkyWings is a letter shown by the end of the special editions of The Brightest Night and hardcover versions of Winter Turning. It is written by Ex-Prince Smolder to Prince Vermilion on how to raise scavengers and includes artwork of Smolder and his scavenger, Flower.
Click here to see the cover gallery.
- Chinese: 火翼飞龙. 勇闯冰翼国的钻石炼狱 (July 2016)
- French: Les Royaumes de Feu. Le piège de glace (September 2017)
- Russian: Драконья сага. Сердце Холода (November 2018)
- German: Wings of Fire. Winters Wandlung (December 2020)