I picked up the second book in this children’s series in a 3 for £5 book deal. I read the back and it sounded somewhere between Divergent and The Hunger Games so I thought why not give it a go? It was then I realised that I had bought the second book. The first book in the series The Wind Singer I managed to get off BookMooch and I started at the beginning because you know, logic.
I had vague memories of the cover from my primary school library and I must admit the target audience for this book probably doesn’t reach past 13. That being said it deals with some pretty heavy stuff. The supposedly idyllic city of Aramanth encourages its citizen to strive to make themselves better. Citizens are tested throughout their lives in the hopes of moving up the ranks to the next level of society. However, there are those that disagree with the system and Kestrel her twin brother Bowman and their school friend Mumpo set out on a quest that takes them far beyond the city’s walls to try and free their people from endless toil.
This book is certainly a rich, detailed fantasy and the world is multi-layered and dynamic. There are also clear morals and the messages are the kind that you want your 10+ child to be reading. But there is a really creepy enemy in this book. It gets so weird. I won’t mention anything more because I don’t want to spoil it but it gets really heavy really quickly. I am trying to remember back to my pre-teen self to think if I would have been cool with that or not. Maybe? I think this is a children’s story for children who are passionate about reading. It isn’t exactly accessible but I don’t think that is a bad thing it just makes it a bit niche.
My only other criticism is that this world is so deep and complex and the quest is of pretty epic proportions but the writing feels a little rushed. It is quite hard to imagine 3 children who haven’t hit adolescence yet trekking across the dessert and up a mountain so quickly. It feels like they do this epic journey and then are done within a week. If I read it again I might be able to figure out the timings and realise that it wasn’t that speedy but something in the writing style made me feel that.
All in all it was quite an enjoyable read. When I finished I was quite compelled to read the sequel so it was a good thing I already had a copy.
Would recommend to: children 10+ who are accomplished readers.
P.S. Happy World Book Day!