"After Kestrel Hath rebels against the stifling rules of Amaranth society and is forced to flee, she, along with her twin brother and a tagalong classmate, follow an ancient map in quest of the legendary silver voice of the wind singer, in an attempt to heal Amaranth and its people.After Kestrel Hath rebels against the stifling rules of Amaranth society and is forced to flee, she, along with her twin brother and a tagalong classmate, follow an ancient map in quest of the legendary silver voice of the wind singer."
Not being a regular reader of fantasy should not put off potential readers from reaching for this book; the narrative hook of a nation controlled by exams and tests and the engaging nature of the very human characters soon, in a funny sort of way, draws you into this fantasy world quicker than you can say "Lord of the Rings". It is the mixture of human and fantastical elements which, woven together with William Nicholson's clear dexterity, make this book so appealing to children and adults, and while it certainly does bear some similarities to the great fantasy precursors that have gone before it (such as Lord of the Rings, the works of Diana Wynne Jones, and, to some extent, the works of JK Rowling and Garth Nix), The Wind Singer is clearly all its own book.
Nicholson's skill in blending the chilling, the humorous, the touching and the suspenseful is to without doubt be commended. He is also to be praised for introducing the dystopian genre to children in a way that is fully accessible, with enough adventure and nightmare without being too terrifying. In addition, the storyline is concise and absorbing, leading to a label of being literally 'unputdownable' as readers hang on eagerly to see the story's denouement play out in all its eventually triumphant glory.
However, there is one criticism; for reasons that are not completely fathomable, the ending seems rather rushed. Did the author run out of steam? Was his deadline looming? Or was it just so clear in his mind about how the story would end that it all just came out in a rush naturally? Either way, the ending itself deserved more development, attention and care.
After following the adventures of the unique cast of goodies and baddies, though, it's easy to forgive the author this one transgression - particularly as it is already arguably quite long for the target age group. One could say that even more detail could have caused readers to give up and wander away - although given the book's action-packed nature, this is perhaps unlikely.
A rollicking tale that keeps up the pace, The Wind Singer is an expert portrayal of character and adventure that immediately draws readers towards not only the other works in the Wind of Fire trilogy, but to Nicholson's other works thereafter.
Other works by William Nicholson
Slaves of the Mastery (Wind of Fire Trilogy; 2001)
Firesong (Wind of Fire Trilogy; 2003)
The Society of Others (2004)
The Trial of True Love (2005)
Seeker (Noble Warriors Trilogy; 2005)
Jango (Noble Warriors Trilogy; 2006)
Noman (Noble Warriors Trilogy; 2007)
The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life (2009)
First three Chapters....
8 years ago