Slaves of the Mastery
This review was contributed by Ben G
Series: The Wind on Fire
Published in: 2001
Age Range: Pre Teens
Setting: Aramanth and the Mastery.
- Kestrel: wily, determined and obstinate girl who shares an unexplained telepathic power of communication with her brother Bowman, the gentler and more reserved of the pair, he can nevertheless be determined.
- Mumpo Inch: The third part of the trio, he is very much infatuated with Kestrel.
- Hanno: father to the twins and slightly henpecked husband of Ira a prophetess who predicts the future of her people.
- Zohon: Arrogant and self-obsessed captain of the guards.
- Ortiz: The very young officer of the Mastery who takes joy in doing the bidding of the Master a mysterious old man who lives like a demigod while ruling over the Mastery.
The story is set five years after its predecessor and the city of Aramanth has completely changed. Gone our the exams that used to govern the very existence of a citizen and the areas where one was forced to live, yet in all this liberation Aramanth has become weak and is easily attacked and flattened by Ortiz a soldier of the Mastery. The citizens are enslaved and taken off to the Mastery, with the exception of Kestrel who escapes and vows revenge on the seemingly cruel soldiers of the Mastery. Bowman and the rest of the Hath family arrive at the Mastery only to discover that in this nation everyone, except for the Master himself, is enslaved. Meanwhile Kestrel finds herself on board a caravan of a smaller principality that is also, coincidently, on the way to the Mastery. The reason is the marriage of Ortiz, the very man against whom Kestrel has vowed revenge for the incarceration of her whole family.
Literary: The sequel is certainly an improvement on its predecessor, the plot is certainly somewhat less predictable and the characters more developed, yet there are still certain holes and minor annoyances within the story. The fact that the story is very fatalistic is most certainly an issue that needs to be addressed and the fact that the Hath family have no flaws is also a minor annoyance, although this is perhaps positive the book cannot maintain a sense of realism as a result. Ira's ceaseless predictions which all begin with 'oh unhappy people...' also manage to get on my nerves more often than not.
Death: While living in the Mastery Mumpo becomes some sort of gladiator, consequently he kills another man yet shows little remorse for it. He fairly soon becomes accustomed to the brutal lifestyle. At one point several people are rather brutally burned alive by Ortiz, who seems indifferent to any particular code of morality.
Fate: As suggested earlier, nearly every major action undertaken by the likes of Bowman and Kestrel seems to be governed by fate, at certain points the concept of free will seems totally removed.
“As the others departed for their days work, Bowman went to his bed, in the many bedded room. Mist followed him silently, almost unnoticed, and lay down under the bed. Here, as Bowman slipped into sleep, when he was least expecting, he caught the tremor he had strained for night after night: the sound too distant to hear, the movement too distant to see, the passing of a shadow in the dark- Kess! So faint that even thinking the thought made too much noise. Now it was gone again. But it had been his sister, he was sure of it. She was coming.”
Saturday 16th July 2005