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The Wind Singer

(The Wind on Fire Trilogy #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  16,756 ratings  ·  584 reviews
The first in a trilogy, The Wind Singer is a mesmerizing and remarkably realized fantasy novel full of adventure, suspense, humor and warmth.

In the city of Aramanth, the mantra is, "Better today than yesterday. Better tomorrow than today." Harder work means the citizens of Aramanth can keep moving forward to improved life stations--from Gray tenements and Orange apartments
Paperback, 486 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,756 ratings  ·  584 reviews

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Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness! I read this book when I was about eleven years old and I've been searching for it every since. No, really. You know those books you read as a kid that kind of stayed with you, but you can't remember the title? That was this book. I searched for it in the library, rooting through the orange coloured books. I scoured titles for something with "Wind" in it. That's all I could remember.

And then, by some bizarre chance, a friend asked, "Did you ever read the Wind on Fire trilogy?"
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Children's books about the horrors of standardized testing are increasingly popular these days. From Edward Bloor's well-intentioned, Story Time to The Report Card by the otherwise talented Andrew Clements, these books have attempted to capture the dangers of this destructive teaching tool. Both books have fallen short, leaving some people to wonder if there could ever be a book that discusses this controversial subject well. What few people know is that there's a fantastic well-written and beau ...more
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela Lloyd
May 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: literary analysts, especially in women's studies programs
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the city of Aramanth, the lives of its citizens are ruled by a color-coded caste system of standardized tests. How well one does on the yearly “High Examination” determines what you do for work, where you live, and even what color clothing you wear. Those that test poorly find themselves consigned to the dismal one-room tenements and menial labor of the Grey district, while those who test well can eventually aspire to life in the mansions and illustrious careers of the White district. Free th ...more
Apr 29, 2013 added it
Shelves: review-written
In year 7, my class was split into reading groups. There were six people in my group and we were the more capable group of the class. When it came time to select the book we would read and discuss, our group was divided in regards to what we should choose. The four boys in my group wanted to read this book (I assume just to spite us) and my friend and I wanted to read another book (the title escapes me at the moment). After much heated debate about how good our book would be, purely because of t ...more
I remember reading this trilogy many, many years ago. Mumpo and Kestrel were my favourite characters. However, the most I remember about it is just how weird it is. Like, really weird. With creepy bald children that want to eat you soul kind of weird.

I might be tempted to reread this if I can dig it out at my mam's house.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Overall Honest Book Review: (I read this book years ago, may not be as concise of a review)

The Hath family is a very supportive loving family.

Kestrel Hath is a little girl who has more courage to stand up for what she believes in then the whole town. She is cute, spunky, intelligent, fair and honorable.

Bowman Hath is Kestrels twin brother who goes on the quest with her.

Mumpo tags along, he doesn't take no for an answer.

Kestrels is a little girl who is a great protagonis
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book when I was much younger (about six or seven) and I was hooked. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish it until much later (about three or four years later) and it still had me hooked. The book made me happy. Of course, there wersome unaswered questions especially about the old children and the windsinger but the rest of it was really charming. I didn't really mind the made-up words because they just added a lighter tone towhat could have been a depressing story. I especially l ...more
Brigid ✩
ummmmm this book was very strange. VERY VERY STRANGE. but i found myself liking it, for some reason. but just to warn you, if you haven't read it, this is one of the weirdest things i have read in my entire life.
Katie Lumsden
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe 3.5. I enjoyed this one. I read it as a child but have very little memory of it, and it's an enjoyable read as an adult - a very interesting world, almost a fairytale universe, with a great story and very strong characters. I loved the family dynamic between the main characters.
Patricia Crowther
DNF’d at page 115 because Made. Up. Words. 🙄😒
Christianne Ellene
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-kindle
I read this 4 years ago for school, and I never regretted sticking with this book until the end.

William Nicholson introduces us to the twins Kestrel and Bowman Hath, who share a telepathic/empathic connection on top of Bowman possessing the empathic abilities. The city they live in, Amaranth, is bureaucratic to the extreme (e.g. every family has a "family rating" that is determined from the family members' individual performances in written exams and decide the living conditions of the family).
Amber Scaife
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brother and sister team rebel against their city's soulless and color-coded caste system, face dire consequences from the Chief Examiner, and instead escape the city walls and head out in search of the key to the Wind Singer (a strange and ancient device in the middle of the city). There are hints that finding and replacing the key will unlock the Wind Singer's song and along with it, the freedom of the citizens of Aramanth. But to get it they must travel a long way and face the Big Bad, Morah ...more
Patty Zuiderwijk
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty obvious it is a slightly older series, do I mind that? Nope!

story 4/5
characters 4,5/5
writing 3,5/5
audio/paper Paper. Found the boxed set in a thriftshop.
reread? I certainly might!
Ash Ebrahim
Jul 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-hell
Recommended to: People who don't have a life, people who didn't read books, people who are around 7-9 years old ONLY.
I feel Sorry for: people who read it, People who counts it as a big part of their childhood, people who thought of reading it, people who bought it, people who enjoyed the whole thing.
So I made this WHOLE new shelf just for this stupid book. to-hell (I LOVE IT).
So from where to start... oh yeah the prologue, wasn't intresting it was a nice prologue a good one, a total normal
Leonie Hinch
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Well this sure takes me back. The Windsinger is the first novel in the trilogy titled 'Winds on Fire' and it was one of my favourite books growing up. I must have read it when I was around 9-10 years old and I absolutely loved it. I've indulged in a little nostalgia these past few months and bought a lot of the books I loved as a child so that I could enjoy them all over again.

The Windsinger is one of those books which is both a children's book and a YA book. Set in the fictional city of Araman
Jenni Frencham
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tween, fantasy
It's been a very long time since I found a book I genuinely wanted to keep reading to the point of ignoring my other responsibilities. It's been a very long time since I woke up thinking, "I had better get my stuff done quickly so I can get back to my book." The Wind Singer is a book like that.

The Wind Singer is the first book in the "Wind on Fire" trilogy, but it would stand alone just fine. When Kestrel tires of constant examinations and the focus on ranking of families, she rebels against the
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I feel terrible giving a book two stars, but "it's okay" was truly how I felt. I didn't dislike it, and it was an entertaining, fast read, but everything happened so quickly that I felt like some of the plot points were over before I really understood what was going on. This book needed less telling and more showing! Give me details! There were a fair amount of minor characters introduced that disappeared so quickly I questioned why they were even mentioned.

I also felt like some of the main ele
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not a kid anymore; really, I'm at the other side of the curve. It would have been simple to look at this book from that perspective and rate it lower for many reasons: in your face points being made about society, simplistic writing style, convenient wrapping up of situations to the favor of the main characters, lack of character development, etc.

But... the book was targeted at the younger set and I wouldn't be doing it (or the author) justice if I didn't try to look at it from the rising si
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, fantasy
This is a very simple book, but one I would deeply have loved to read as a younger child. It is refreshingly GENTLE for an adventure story.

Its main heroes are siblings--brave, frustrated, impatient Kestrel and her gentler, more empathetic brother Bowman. Unlike the usual trope, they aren't orphans! They are in fact very close to their parents and their baby sister. While the main action follows Kestrel and Bowman as they try to fix their cursed city by magical means, we do see their parents tak
Amanda Landegren
This book was recommended to me by my teacher, she loves this book. I thought it was a great story, but the out-of-this-world fantastical epicness was somehow lost on me.

It is a wonderful story, with that I agree. Nicholson has a special and very magical feeling to his writing and you easily get sucked into the world.
His descriptions are incredibly vivid and he painted beautiful pictures in my head.
My favorite thing about this book was by far the characters. Perhaps the story itself was at time
Aug 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: upper elementary/middle school
The Windsinger is a wonderful tale of twins who fight against the leaders of a town who reject diversity and independence. The main characters are twins who have the ability to read each other's thoughts. The twins are forced into situations where they learn a great deal about themselves. The various "obstacles" they encounter are a very creative and deal, in some aspects, with fears children may have, such as old age. Highly enjoyable book that I read in one sitting.
Chafic (Rello)
When I was in school, I always loved having a free period - I mean, we couldn't leave the classroom, but we could read a book!
This was the book that I had on hand, courtesy of the library.

While I enjoyed it thoroughly as a kid, my biggest mistake was revisiting this as an adult.
I mean, sure - it's a good story, dystopian world-building, adventures and all.

But oh my god, what the hell was I thinking. Way to go adult me, ruin another precious childhood memory will you?
Joey Woolfardis
Feb 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, masculine
This might possibly be the worst thing I've ever read. The names? And the stupid words? And the writing? I quite liked the prologue. It seemed a nice idea: a building built to sing with the wind. But then what the fuck happens? It's like a 5 year old started writing it after that. There's never any need to write a children's book like this, never. It is so detrimental to all who will read it.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wanted to read about a dystopian future with land pirates, mud people, and an un-stoppable killing army? Yes? Well these are all in the book "The Wind Singer" by William Nicholson.

The book introduces us to what the wind singer is; a large device that plays music with the wind. Then it tells us about the testing system they have in the city of Aramanth where their test grades dictate where them and their families live. After this the main characters are introduced; there is Kestral,
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I love a good quest and this doesn't disappoint. We follow twins Kestral and Bowman, together with their classmate Mumpo, on a quest to escape the tyrannical regime at home and search for the elusive way to make the Wind Singer sing again. Along the way they encounter children who have grown old and who can swiftly age anyone they touch, a civil war where no blood has been shed for decades and where both sides are excited to sacrifice our heroes and finally they encounter the Zars, a race who ju ...more
Georgina Peachey
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It had themes of rebellion and bravery, as a 12 year old girl fights back against the unfair nature of her city. Kestrel Hath decides that she no longer wants to complete unfair examinations and follow the strict and unjust rules of her city, so she embarks on an adventure to find the wind singer.

This book would be great to use with a ks2 class as the adventure is full of vivid imagery and language that could be used to create a piece of writing. It could also be used across
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I began reading this book about a month after the 11+ had finished and I had found out my results.This dystopian fantasy follows Kestrel and her family who are citizens of Aramanth and them putting up with the continuos humiliation caused by the chief examiner but themselves as well.In Aramanth people live based on exams and they are housed and found work based on the exam.I have had discussions on this book and continue to believe that exams are not everything which is why I believe this book i ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the Wind Singer on Audible and it was the perfect audiobook experience. I just found this entire book so charming. The world and writing was light, but not enough to really be childish; probably due to the really gritty themes and concepts it explored through the view of children and adults filled with hope. Unlike other books aimed at a younger audience, this was not irritating, but simply fun, even funny, and endlessly charming. I loved it. I loved all the characters.

However the
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

William Nicholson was born in 1948, and grew up in Sussex and Gloucestershire. His plays for television include Shadowlands and Life Story , both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award in their year; other award-winners were Sweet As You Are and The March . In 1

Other books in the series

The Wind on Fire Trilogy (3 books)
  • Slaves of the Mastery (Wind on Fire, #2)
  • Firesong (Wind On Fire, #3)

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