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The Wind Singer

by William Nicholson

Other authors: Peter Sís (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Wind on Fire Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,839389,336 (3.77)1 / 70
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.
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» See also 70 mentions

English (35)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
This reminded me a bit of The Giver by Lois Lowry when I first read it. It still kinda does. I didn't much like The Giver when I had to read it for school so I guess it made it hard to get into the first time through. But as much as there are dystopian vibes, The Wind Singer has a lot of fantasy elements once you get past the dystopian society. And I've evolved as a reader. Or something like that anyway.

The story follows the Hath family, an orange ranked family in the city state of Aramanth. The Hath family are smart but they're not much good at tests meaning their family ranking is and remains low. When Kestrel and her twin brother Bowman forget their homework they have to move towards the back of the classroom but Kestrel is resentful of the punishment and decides to move all the way to the back of the class where a boy named Mumpo sits in rebellion. The teacher is furious at her dissent. Mumpo is excited that he might have a friend and he tries to hug Kestrel but she's disgusted by his running nose and terrible odour. The teacher sees this and takes it as a win, making sure to mock Kestrel and her new friend Mumpo for the rest of class. At lunch, Kestrel decides to ditch and Bowman and Mumpo both follow her.

She ends up climbing the Wind Singer - a mysterious tower that was built many years ago and is said to sing but has been silenced for many years. Kestrel climbs to the top and insults and mocks the entirety of Aramanth, the people, the structure and the mindlessness in the loudest voice she can. Her punishment sees not just her, but the entire family punished for their disobedience. But in the midst the family finds that there may be more sinister behind the sameness of Aramanth - that great evil runs afoot. And so starts Kestrel's journey to find the key of the Wind Singer and restore uniqueness to her people.

I liked Kestrel for the most part. She can be a bit whiny but she's brave and daring and set on marching to the beat of her own drum. Bowman was the perfect foil to her brashness, full of kindness and heart and compassion. I liked Bowman as well - I liked the loyalty he had to Kess. Mumpo was sad. I felt really sorry for him and the life he leads. I liked the bravery he portrayed and the loyalty he had when it came to his friends and I liked that Kess and Bowman may not have been overly nice to him but they did return his loyalty, doing their best to keep him safe.

Ira Hath (the mum) amused me with her prophetess routine. And I liked the gentleness and caring Hanno (the father) has for his family. The plot was a bit slow at times. Although I did enjoy the craziness of Ombaraka and Omchaka and the logic they used convinced if you weren't one, you had to be the other.

There are still quite a few questions left unanswered but it is the first book in a trilogy. I vaguely remember them being answered when I first read the series. Overall it was an average fantasy read. It will likely appeal more to fans of dystopian societies than true fantasy readers. If you liked The Giver by Lois Lowry this will probably be a real win for you. 3 stars. ( )
  funstm | Jul 1, 2023 |
**The Wind Singer** by *William Nicholson* is somewher between Fantasy for kids and YA. As I'm not the target audience, my opinion can't serve as a good recommendation.

I found it a fairly ok fairytale, complete with good vs evil, strong patterns, but no strong character decelopment; with a strong internal logic that didn't make sense when looking at it in any other light than that of a fairytale. Strong siblings vs the rest of the world, humanity vs bureaucratic dystopia, all very good patterns, and a decent-enough execution, but not something that felt particularly important to me. I can't say how I would've liked it as a kid, but I probably would've read it just like I read a ton of Fantasy: entertaining in the moment, then merging into a vague memory of all the other somewhat generic Fantasy arcs. ( )
  _rixx_ | May 24, 2020 |
I first read this first in elementary or middle school. I absolutely loved it, and have been trying to find it again for years. I am not a big fan of fantasy novels, but for some reason this book has kept with me since i read it 10 years ago ( )
  JennVelez | Feb 9, 2019 |
I remember reading this book when I was in the eighth grade, maybe freshman year of high school and enjoying it for the most part. I read it again since I got it in a library sale free bag day.

That being said, this book has characters that struck me as annoying (though that is almost certainly due to my age at this point). The adults of course are grossly incompetent and the chuldren, quite young in this case, are left to go on an extremely dangerous journey alone, witnessing the deaths of 2 species (wolves and eagles) along the way, and nearly getting killed several times themselves.

The story itself has lazy writing. When the situation seemed dire, a solution magically poofs into being without any explanation what soever. As a result, the entire story was a chore to finish.

Another annoying thing about this story were the made up slang/cursings. "hubba hubba" was repeatedly used and it meant something along the lines of "yay". ( )
  Moore31 | Feb 25, 2018 |
I remember reading this book when I was in the eighth grade, maybe freshman year of high school and enjoying it for the most part. I read it again since I got it in a library sale free bag day.

That being said, this book has characters that struck me as annoying (though that is almost certainly due to my age at this point). The adults of course are grossly incompetent and the chuldren, quite young in this case, are left to go on an extremely dangerous journey alone, witnessing the deaths of 2 species (wolves and eagles) along the way, and nearly getting killed several times themselves.

The story itself has lazy writing. When the situation seemed dire, a solution magically poofs into being without any explanation what soever. As a result, the entire story was a chore to finish.

Another annoying thing about this story were the made up slang/cursings. "hubba hubba" was repeatedly used and it meant something along the lines of "yay". ( )
  Moore31 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicholson, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sís, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SamuelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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At the time the strangers came, the Manth people were still living in the low mat-walled shelters that they had carried with them in their hunting days.
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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.

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