Review of The Wind Singer by William Nicholson

Kestrel Hath's schoolroom rebellion against the stifling caste system of Aramanth leads to explosive consequences for her and her family: they are relegated to the city's lowest caste and are ostracized. With nothing left to lose, Kestrel and her twin brother, Bowman, do the unthinkable: they leave the city walls. Their only hope to rescue the rest of their family is to find the key to the wind singer, a now-defunct device in the city's center, which was once the course of happiness and harmony in Aramanth. But the key was given to an evil spirit-lord, the Morah, in exchange for the Morah's calling off its terrible army of Zars. Armed with desperate bravery, wits, and determination, Kestrel, Bowman, and a tagalong classmate set off to find the key. Along the way they meet allies and foes, but in order to succeed in their quest, they must face the most sinister force of all: the powerful Morah.

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The Wind Singer was my first ever taste of Dystopia, and possibly YA as well. I've never forgotten it and ever since I've been addicted to Dystopian novels. As it's been a good ten years since I last read it, I wasn't sure what to expect, as other books I loved as a kid didn't seem so good after a second reading. I remembered very little of the plot too – past the colour system and Pinpin's first test, I couldn't remember much of the story.

Thankfully, I thought The Wind Singer was pretty awesome Fantasy/Dystopia, with a very prominent fantasy feel. The world outside the Dystopian city is not Dystopian but there's definitely fantasy elements. It's aimed more towards Middle Grade than Young Adult, with more fun than you would normally expect from a YA book and a much happier ending. The story is told from several characters viewpoints, so when the Twins and Mumpo were in the desert, you could see what was happening back in Aramanth, from Ira and Hanno Hath's eyes. During this, I loved Ira Hath's small rebellion, and read a quite a few pages to my partner. The read some more when the narrative switched to Hanno Hath!

When I originally read The Wind Singer, Mumpo greatly annoyed me and I often found myself wishing his character wasn't in the story at all. However, now I'm older I found myself sympathising with the character and wanting Kess and Bowman to be friends with him, as he was clearly a bit special! Kess and Bowman are equally string characters but in different ways. They can speak to each other telepathically, but this isn't touched upon much in The Wind Singer, so I'm hoping that we'll know more in the next. In addition, Bowman seems to be able to connect with other's emotions and almost read their minds in a way, a skill which often proves useful. Pinpin may be a character that others will recognise – apart from the biting there is a definite resemblance to Sunny from A Series of Unfortunate Events (both books were published around the same time).

The first book in a trilogy, The Wind Singer is a great start and I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book! Filled with daring escapes, terrifying Zars and a Dystopian city, The Wind Singer is a book that I'll likely not forget quickly! And even better is that you can finish the book and not feel as if you have to read the second as there's no cliffhanger ending, in my opinion.

5/5

2 comments:

  1. Oh this brings back happy memories. I loved this series - still do. And I loved Mumpo! He really comes into his own as the books progress - I think I may need to sit down and re-read this series again! :)

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  2. I have never read this one - but it has been on my radar for ages. I haven't ever seen a review of it, so I'm thrilled to have run across yours! I'll definitely be moving it up my TBR list now.

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