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The Wind Singer

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

This review was contributed by Ben G

Cover of The Wind Singer

Author: William Nicholson

Series: The Wind on Fire

Publisher: Mammoth

Published in: 2000

Age Range: Pre Teens

Period: Indeterminate

Setting: Aramanth City

Genres:  Fantasy


Characters:

  • Kestrel Hath, rebellious teenager, tired of her city's regimented ways. She and her twin brother Bowman are very close, to the extent of being able to exchange thoughts.
  • Mumpo Inch is a grubby and simple lad who tags along with the Hath children, loyal to them both, but especially to Kestrel.
  • Ira & Hanno Hath are Kestrel & Bowman's mild and loving parents who in their own way rebel against the city's regime. Ira comes from the family of a famous prophet and is herself an occasional prophetess.

Synopsis:

Three teenagers, Kestrel and Bowman Hath, who are twins and their grubby, seemingly retarded friend, Mumpo, follow a quest to recover the voice of the WindSinger sculpture, protector of their city.

They escape from their home city of Aramanth where your lifestyle is determined by how well your family does in exams. If your family score is low you have to live in one of the city's unpleasant slum quarters and you can only wear, for example, grey clothes. The Hath family as a whole dislike this system and Kestrel in particular rebels. Following repeated acts of rebellion she is taken off to be incarcerated.

She escapes (too easily), and she and Bowman, followed by Mumpo escape into the underground world of the Mudpeople. Here they nearly drown in the mud but are saved in the nick of time by a Mud-man. The purpose of the childrens' adventures is their quest for the 'voice' of the Windsinger, a large sculpture, which turns in the wind, in Aramanth. It has a piece missing: an 'S' shaped silver pendant which, when slotted into the Windsinger will make it 'sing' and restore peace and equilibrium to Aramanth.

Notes:

The book is at points pathetically predictable, for example, the children are captured by the Ombaraka and are sentenced to death; amazingly they are saved in the nick of time. Certain aspects of the story are left unexplained &emdash; we never find out why the Windsinger restores balance to Aramanth and why physically ancient “children” keep turning up to rob the three heroes of their health and youth.

The characters are all very thin and not at all well developed by the author which means that the book is plot driven and while some characters seem to have potential this is left unexplored. The positive aspects of the book are the strong brother and sister relationship between Bowman and Kestrel and later on with Mumpo. The Hath family are very loyal to each other and although they often have an opportunity to report another family member to the authorities they never do. The language of the book is simple and does not present a challenge to the reader. The book tends to drag a little.

I also feel the book is a little fatalistic, many of the characters seem destined to take a certain path.

Family relationships are a strong point of the book, particularly since the Hath family share strong and loving bonds in constrast to their uncaring city and their competitive neighbours

At one point in their travels, the children encounter an underground race who seem to rely on a mildly narcotic drug to help them endure the day.

“I hate school! I won't strive harder! I won't make tomorrow better than today!”

Closely guarded all the way, the children were marched across the base deck to the huge rolling edifice that was Ombaraka.

Wednesday 16th July 2003