Wind Singer

Elizabeth Evans er.evans at auckland.ac.nz
Thu May 31 16:02:47 EDT 2001


Thank you to Melissa, Liz and Ros for your input into this book. You have
persuaded me to buy it, and hold it in The Drawer, where I put books I want
to read - I know they're in there, but they aren't in full view to tempt me
when I should be studying.
Regards
Elizabeth.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dwj at suberic.net [mailto:owner-dwj at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
> Melissa Proffitt
> Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 10:13
> To: dwj at suberic.net
> Subject: Re: Wind Singer
>
>
> On Thu, 31 May 2001 09:08:42 +1200, Elizabeth Evans wrote:
>
> >Our largest city bookshop has a lovely display right in the front of the
> >store, of about 5 DWJ titles, plus a couple of Bartlett books
> and HP4. There
> >is also a book which I haven't heard of before: Wind Singer by William
> >Nicholson. Has anyone read this, or heard anything about it? It
> looked quite
> >tempting, but my life is so busy at the moment, I think I would need some
> >positive reinforcement before I allow myself to be distracted by
> something
> >else.
>
> Ahhhh.  Really good book.  I need to buy this one.  Too bad I'm
> so forgetful
> of details, because I've only read it once and for some reason the names
> didn't stick with me.  Ah well, someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
>
> The Wind Singer of the title is an object that was built into a tower by
> some mysterious traveling people centuries before the book begins.  It was
> supposed to protect the city from evil, particularly this
> ravening horde of
> evil whose name I've forgotten, but in recent times, a king gave
> up the Wind
> Singer to someone he hoped would protect the city (apparently not having
> faith in this ancient artifact).  This person protected the city
> but turned
> out to be just as bad, and the wonderful civilization they had created
> started to fall apart.
>
> When the book starts, the city has become a rigidly stratified
> society where
> people's position is determined by their whole family's standing: for
> example, if your kid doesn't do well on their 1-year-old birthday test
> (like, are they walking, are they trying to talk, etc.) then it drags the
> whole family's rating down.  Different "classes" are marked by
> color--orange, white, blue, red, I can't remember exactly, but it's a sort
> of Brave New World-lite without the obligatory "I'm SOOOO glad
> I'm an Alpha"
> chant.  The main characters are a boy and his sister, whose family is
> already struggling in the ratings because their dad can't seem to
> do well on
> his Head of Household exam.  All of them think the situation stinks, but
> they don't know what they can do about it.  So they all rebel in
> little ways
> that turn out to be not so little, and eventually the brother and
> sister end
> up fleeing for their lives out of the city, accompanied by a
> low-intelligence classmate who's become attached to them because
> they're the
> only ones who were ever nice to him.  Their flight becomes a quest to find
> the missing Wind Singer and restore order to their city.
>
> The reason I liked this book so much is that it's a Young Adult
> novel which
> doesn't take the usual route of getting the (frequently stupid or
> misunderstanding) parents out of the way so the kids can Save the World.
> While the main plot does focus on the children's quest, we also get to see
> what happens to the parents who are left behind--the mother becomes a
> "prophetess," and the father begins a little rebellion of his own.  It
> really is a book about a whole family, and as an adult I think I was more
> interested in what the parents were doing than the kids.
>
> It's supposed to be the first book of a trilogy, but I have no idea how,
> because all the plot elements are so neatly tied up at the end of *this*
> book.  Not that there aren't more stories to be told; it's a
> fairly complex
> world, even if it looks simple because we see such a small part of it.  I
> just can't see what big question could be answered by a trilogy that isn't
> answered here.  I'm looking forward to the next one.
>
> Melissa Proffitt
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