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Modern(ish) fantasy series by William Nicholson, describing the lives of the Hath family and their quest to find the homeland. Consists of three books;
- The Wind Singer (2000)
- Slaves of the Mastery (2001)
- Firesong (2002)
The first book is set in the city of Aramanth, where hierarchy is decided solely on exam results for the age of 2 onwards. Kestrel and Bowman Hath, after being prosecuted by the head examiner, decide to find the key to the Wind Singer,a device in the centre of Aramanth which once made people happy. However, it was stolen and the city fell into depression.
Slaves of the Mastery is set a short time later, where Aramanth is no longer ruled by exams. However, the raiders of an empire called the Mastery destroy it and takes all the citizens of Aramanth as slaves. Kestrel is split up, and meets the representatives of a different kingdom, who are heading to the Mastery to marry their princess daughter to their prince son. Eventually, the Mastery is overthrown and the citizens begin to search for their homeland.
Firesong is about their journey to their homeland. And without giving away everything, we can say very little else.
This series contains examples of:
- Abduction Is Love
- Apocalypse How: Class 0-2, it's hard to tell, but from a glimpse near the end of Wind on Fire things look pretty desperate.
- Arranged Marriage: Sisi and Ortiz. It's entirely politically motivated.
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The endless legion of the Zars cross a chasm by marching across their own dead.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted in Slaves Of The Mastery.
- Black Eyes: Definitely Kestrel, and more than likely Bowman (her twin), too.
- Brainwashed and Crazy
- Childhood Friend Romance: Mumpo's puppy-like adoration for Kestrel develops into something more serious as the kids reach marriageable age. It is, however, completely unrequited.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: "If you tell anything you've heard here, I'll have your tongues pulled out, and rabbits' heads pushed into your mouths, and your lips sewn up." - Princess Sisi.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Mumpo might never have taken any notice of Pinto if it weren't for Kestrel's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Determinator: Kestrel, who often gets by on her stubborn determination alone.
- Dissonant Serenity: The Zars are an army of beautiful boys and girls who slaughter anything in their path with smiles on their faces.
- Distant Finale
- Does Not Like Men: Kestrel.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Pinto despises her baby-name from the first book, Pin-Pin.
- Eyes of Gold: Sisi's eyes are amber.
- Foe Yay: A smidge between Ortiz and Bowman.
- Happiness in Slavery: Despite being taken from Aramanth by force and having several of their fellows brutally burned to death in cages, many of the Manth people choose to stay behind in the Mastery simply because it offers an easier, more peaceful and stable life than travelling the long journey to the Homeland with the others.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Kestrel, though only her physical body; her spirit becomes one with her twin brother, Bowman, which may lead one to wonder (only in the name of practicality, of course,) just where her spirit goes when he's getting busy with the missus...
- Hive Mind: The Zars
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Mumpo and Pinto, towards the end of Firesong.
- I Am Legion: The army of the Zars.
- Impossibly Delicious Food
- It Got Worse: A subtle example from the reader's point of view. At the beginning of the trilogy the reader is not shown much about the world, the perspective gradually changes so that by the end of Firesong you truly get an example of how close to disaster the world is.
- Mind Over Matter
- May-December Romance: A fairly mild version crops up in the Distant Finale.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Pinto attempts this while Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Kestrel and Bowman. (Possibly Pinto, but she's never explicitly described as such.)
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Kestrel and Sisi.
- Settle for Sibling: Since Kestrel no longer exists in a physical form, Mumpo settles for her younger sister Pinto instead.
- Spoiled Sweet: Despite the occasional threat of ordering someone's eyes to be gouged out, Sisi is generally a sweet-natured, loving girl.
- The Empath: Bowman can use his powers to understand people on a subconscious level and have mind-to-mind combat with other empaths such as the Master. The downside is that he is easily affected by the feelings of those around him.
- The Force
- The Load: Mumpo may have his moments in The Wind Singer, but boy does that change.
- The Migration: in Firesong the Manth, their old home destroyed, travel across the continent to seek a prophesied homeland.
- The White Princess: Princess Sisi, though she changes after the end of Slaves of the Mastery.
- Took a Level In Badass: Just about all the main characters over the trilogy, some combat based and others gaining wisdom and maturity. Munpo and Sisi probably have the greatest.
- Redemption Equals Death: Rufy Blesh
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Pinto in Slaves Of The Mastery and moreso in Firesong. It's easy to forget she's seven.