Beast of Stone: Wing & Claw, Book 3

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Beast of Stone: Wing & Claw, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Animal series finale satisfies with many solid messages.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Despite this being a fantasy series, the ways of these apothecaries are rooted in numerous healing traditions. Much ingenuity shown in preparing for battle when the only weapons are what's available in the forest. Some talk about the natural behavior of animals such as bats, foxes, wolves, and stoats.

Positive Messages

Much talk about discrimination against immigrants, where it comes from, how to fight against it: "My da says we have to always make the extra effort [to care about] people who aren't like us. To care about them and listen to them, especially if they're different from us. Because that's one of the things that makes us human." The importance of being truthful, even if it's difficult. "Truth is seeing the world with both your mind and your heart." Avoiding violence when possible in conflict: "A quest for justice without wisdom and compassion can all too easily become cruelty." A strong plea to respect animals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Raffa is a boy who weighs right and wrong with great care. When he lies and realizes his lie may hurt others, he stands up, admits he lied, accepts the consequences. He learns lessons from others who have faced adversity, especially about choosing to be kind no matter what, not feeling responsible for the actions of others. Some diversity: Kuma has darker skin, and there's a deaf character.

Violence

The stabbing death of a beloved character with threats that more beloved characters will be executed. Substance-controlled animals attack people, biting them. Talk of a few deaths and one 10-year-old boy has his leg amputated. Talk of more deaths from falling and fighting. Mention of a big earthquake that displaced many people, loss of homes, being driven from homes.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beast of Stone is the third and final book in the Wing & Claw fantasy series by Newbery Medal winner Linda Sue Park (A Single Shard). It's a great fit for animal-loving kids who are just digging into fantasy, but expect some violence involving substance-controlled animals. They bite and attack people; one boy loses his leg to a bite, and there's talk of a few others killed. There's also a stabbing death of a beloved human character and threats that more beloved characters will be executed. What stands out more than the brief fighting, however, is the drive for displaced people who are discriminated against to fight for themselves with the least amount of violence used. They would rather find a way to free the animals and reason with soldiers. The main character, Raffa, is a boy who weighs right and wrong with great care. When he lies and realizes his lie may hurt others, he stands up, admits he lied, and accepts the consequences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In BEAST OF STONE: WING & CLAW, BOOK 3, Raffa narrowly escapes prison and the Chancellor's grasp and follows a secret exodus of the slums into the Forest of Wonders. The Chancellor is determined to gut the slums and expel all the people she calls Afters: those who settled in Gilden after a great earthquake ruined their homelands. It's not long before the Chancellor notices where the Afters have gone -- not far away enough for her -- and sends her substance-controlled animals to attack them. Those who make it to a camp know it won't be long before soldiers arrive. With no weapons and just the forest to protect them, it's up to young Raffa the apothecary to teach everyone how to use what's available to them in the forest. The Afters, Raffa, and his friends know they can't avoid a battle, but hope to save as many people and animals as possible.

Is it any good?

The satisfying conclusion to this animal fantasy series is full of solid messages about truth, nonviolence, and compassion for animals and displaced people. It's a great discussion book for conscientious kids and exciting enough that it doesn't feel like just a discussion book. The main character, Raffa, is adept at problem-solving with just the botanicals offered to him by the forest. As readers wait for the final battle, the ingenious preparations Raffa makes to protect those he cares about help pass the time.

What's refreshing about Beast of Stone is that characters spend as much time in their battle preparations discussing how to stop the soldiers and animals coming for them as they do on how to cause the least lasting harm. That awareness about the enslaved animals deserving their freedom more than death, even if they are trained to bite and kill, keeps readers thinking far beyond friend and foe, good and evil. The evil here is the violence and intolerance itself, and defeating those things, more than specific people in power, leads to the satisfying and extremely hopeful conclusion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Raffa's lie in Beast of Stone. Why do you think he told it? Who would this lie end up hurting? How is owning up to a lie an incredibly brave thing?

  • How do the Afters prepare for battle? What plans do they make to try to cause the least harm to people and animals? Why do they do this?

  • What do you think of this trilogy conclusion? Is everything resolved?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love fantasy and animals

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate