This is the sequel to the book I just reviewed and the second in the Wind on Fire trilogy. I suggest you scroll down and read the last review before you read this one. Go one. Off you trot.
Anyway, seeing as there is a sequel I don’t think it is too much of a spoiler to say that everyone survived the previous book. 5 years on from that story, the city of Aramanth has become a much fairer place but it has also become weaker. This makes it vulnerable and soon the entire Manath people have been enslaved by the evil Mastery. By some miracle Kestrel escapes and she sets out trying to free her loved ones and her people.
I must admit I enjoyed this story a lot more than the previous one. I don’t know if it is because the characters are slightly older so I relate to them a bit more, or if it is because this book feels a little more light hearted. There are still a few heavy parts and there is just as much moral, social justice stuff happening but there is also a princess and a wedding which I suppose can even be read as a feminist point. This story is also a little more about the character’s relationships with each other rather than the epic quest they are on and I enjoyed that. The friendships and romances that ensue are really interesting and make you think about good and bad and do evil deeds make you an evil person.
The issue that I had last time of the scale being too vast for the pace has gone. Everything feels much more in proportion and as Kestrel and Bowman make their separate journeys across the country time seems to pass at an appropriate rate. The story also moves between different locations and time frames, which I hadn’t realised I enjoyed until I read this book. The linear progression of the previous book felt very childish and obvious where as this story is much more complex as a result of the dual narrative. It is as if in the first book everything had been sweeping wide shots where as in this book there are more close ups.
I also liked the introduction of the Singer People who I am guessing come into play much more in the final book but the mystery was set up really nicely giving just enough away and keeping just enough back. I hadn’t been bothered about reading the next one until I wrote this review but thinking about it again has really sparked my interest. The introduction of the Singer People also really develops the character of Bowman. Previously I had written him off a bit as it felt much more like Kestrel’s story but now I think that Bowman will be crucial before the end.
Now I feel I should put in a little warning here. I mentioned earlier there is some pretty heavy stuff, well I had forgotten until now about the monkey cages. They are pretty gruesome and very disturbing and I found them upsetting even as an adult. Perhaps before you let your 10 year old lose on this book be aware there is some pretty graphic torture that happens.
Would recommend to: slightly older children.