Book 1 The Wind Singer
The first in a trilogy, The main characters are twins Kestrel and Bowman Hath, who share a telepathic/empathic connection and include what seems a useless character Mumpo. The children are from a very controlled life and are suddenly chased into an epic, at times strange adventure. On top of Bowman possessing empathic abilities, the group have to overcome completely different lands. In part, it is a children’s book about the horrors of standardized testing. In the city of Aramanth, the lives of its citizens are ruled by a colour-coded caste system of tests. How well one does on the yearly “High Examination” determines what one does for work, where one lives, and even what colour clothing one wears. Yet there is more to the book, the complexity of friendship and challenging the thoughts of aggression as one only form of attack or defence. You are left with many questions about what will happen next (good job, it is a trilogy) and why the world is so different. So if you want an honestly mind-boggling adventure with loads of fun, here is a book for you.
What’s The Next Book?
Book 2 Slaves of the Mastery
picks up the story of twins Kestrel and Bowman five years on from the closing chapter of The Wind Singer. released from the grip of the fearsome Morah the city is new and is therefore not ready to deal with an oncoming attack. This time it is the whole people that are taken from their homes and led on a death march to a new land. with the exception of Kestrel Hath, the Manth people who survive are brought to the Mastery, a beautiful country built up entirely on slave labour. They are branded and given jobs.
This is as dark as the first story but for me, much more clear about its enemy. Every day the Manth people have to deal with life and death choices and Nicholson spares no mercy in how he delivers the test of characters. reading this book I’m reminded of how we have so many choices and how difficult it would be to try and give others hope in such a dark test of time/trust. the whimsy of the first book is gone and I like this telling of characters and situations better. The narrative is cleverly written so young readers can manage the subject matter, evoking vivid imagery but never going so far as to make it too graphic. A much cleaner and more mature narrative with lots of adventure and plenty of emotion put in every step.
Book 3 Firesong
The third and final book in the Wind On Fire Trilogy. The story of the Hath family and the Manth people continues from where book 2 left us. They all go on a long, and harsh journey from their city prison, to their homeland. Led by Hanno and Ira Hath, thirty-two mostly Manth survivors of the fall of the Mastery search for the fabled Homeland. Ira knows that as long as she feels the warmth on her face, despite the wintry conditions, they are heading in the right direction. This part of the story is brilliant at giving children an understanding of long-term illness even death within the family. She grows weaker with every step. Hanno must keep up the spirits of the marchers, Kes and Bowman are different in the way they face their mother’s fight for life.
Kestrel Hath is One of the most active characters throughout the trilogy. A strong-willed girl, telling the authorities exactly what she thinks of the system. She and her twin share a telepathic bond but use this ability less as they get older. At the end of the third book, Kestrel becomes part of the army to permanently destroy the Morah.
Bowman Hath: Kestrel’s twin brother. He is somewhat empathic, and can ‘read’ peoples’ hearts and minds. by the end of this journey, he has experienced the power of both the Morah and the Singers. Sirharasi (Sisi), the beautiful but spoiled and childish princess is in love with Bowman, At the end of book two she rebels and refuses to marry, which throws the whole country of the Mastery into chaos. Here with her scars, she becomes a vessel for fate and faith. it’s not a strong charter but I find her slow and calm undertone really helps the narrative from becoming too dystopian.
This is a powerful and imaginative ending. full of energy and emotional force.
[SPOILER ALERT] Kes dies, However, this is only a physical. Bowman reaches into her mind and they become one. They see through each other’s eyes and think together. This way Kestrel lives on through Bowman and they are always together. I’m not sure this life-after-death moment is as cute as it is spooky. It left me feeling haunted rather than comforted.