Thursday, 21 August 2008

Book review: The Wind Singer - William Nicholson

The Wind Singer (The Wind on Fire Trilogy): William Nicholson
Name of the book:The Wind Singer
Author:William Nicholson
Genre:Children's, fantasy
Brief review:

This is very much a children's book and that would be the only reason I did not rate it 5 out of 5. I just seem to relate better to teen or young adult fiction. Having said that, this is a masterpiece of a book and definitely deserving of the awards that it won (the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Best Book Award). William Nicholson has invented a world and a society completely unlike our own. His ideas are absolutely unique and often quite surreal. The city of Aramanth is (according to Wikipedia) a meritocratic dystopia and coupled with the urban setting, it reads almost Kafkaesque at times. The story follows the journey of three children as they escape the city and search for the mystical Wind Singer which they are told will heal the city of it's evil and ambition. They encounter strange and wonderful cultures which Nicholson describes in great detail and they travel through underground mud mines, deserts and forests in this epic journey.All in all a great story and I give it 4 out of 5.

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2 comments

  1. I had to read this book for school, and quite honestly I really didn't enjoy it. Firstly, his ideas are completely stolen from 'a brave new world' and the world he created may look diffrent to our own but really mirrors it in the distinct class system and the way it is controlled. Like our own the 'highest grade' achieves the highest wage and best job.
    I think you need to re-read this book at try to find the hidden messages within it. x

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    Replies
    1. What if I don't want to find the hidden messages? What if I just want to read and enjoy the book. You have to analyse it, you need to do so for school, but I'm long past needing to do all of that.

      I think you'll find that many dystopian novels share similar themes, just like sci-fi, supernatural and romance novels do. There is plagiarism, for sure, but I didn't really notice mud mines and marching Zars in A Brave New World, just like I didn't notice the latter's decidedly adult themes in The Wind Singer.

      Finally, I think you'll find that the point of dystopian literature is just how closely it all mirrors our current situation and just how easily these future realities could come to fruition. Of course Nicholson's book mirrored our own society, that is the point.

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