The Wind Singer

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The book begins in the walled city of Aramanth, an extreme meritocracy where endless exams and ratings are the only way to move forward to improved life stations; to be unsuccessful in this is seen as a great source of shame. Using a system based on colour classifications, the governing Examiners dictate what people can wear, where they can live and what jobs they can do. The levels are grey, maroon, orange, scarlet and white, with grey the lowest and white the highest.

Kestrel Hath and her twin brother Bowman live in the city of Aramanth where their family is looked at as rabble-rousing rebels of the town. They are encouraged by the ancient Aramanth legend about a time when the Wind Singer, a device in the center of town, sent beautiful sounds wafting over their city and all the people were equal and everyone lived together in harmony. But many years ago, the key that made the Wind Singer sing was taken by the evil lord Morah, in a war.

When Kestrel dares to voice her opposition against the system in Aramanth she causes humiliation and a loss of social standing for her family. Now she must make up for her rashness by saving Aramanth from itself. She must find a way to bring the city back to the harmonious times of the Wind Singer, by finding its voice, its key. Kestrel knows that all she can do is try. She can no longer live in the shifting class society of Aramanth. From high on the wind singer's tower she shouts down to the officials of Aramanth, "I'm sorry for me, and I'm sorry for you, and I'm sorry for this whole sorry city!" And thus, starts the adventure.

She is taken away from her family to be "educated" by the teacher frees her out of pity. Kess is chased by palace guards into a tower where at the top she ducks into a hidden room. In this room she finds the Emperor of Aramanth. Thought to be a powerful figure, he is just a sad old man kept quiet for political reasons. He tells her that she must recover the Wind Singer's voice because he can't bring himself to leave his somewhat voluntary prison. He gives her a map and sends her on her way. Using this archaic map given to her by the Emperor she sets off, joined by her twin brother, Bowman, and their brave but pitiful new friend, Mumpo, who has an unshakeable affection for Kestrel, they set off to recover the Wind Singer. They are chased by the Morah into the city sewers where the queen there looks into thier lives and declares the famous statement: "He is the one who feels, and she is the one who does". After leaving the sewers, the group faces the desert. There they are taken priosoner by desert people living on a moving desert city. These warrior people constantly battle a rival moving city daily with wooden machines that crash into each other. When they try to kill Kess and company by putting them in one of the machines, the kids take control of the machine and destroy the enemies fleet. The children are regarded as hero's but quickly leave to continue on their journey. They arrive at a nearly impassable canyons where they meet the Morah again but defeat them on a thin bridge over the canyon. They then enter a dangerous forest where they meet an army of wolves and eagles that are ready to fight the Morah for the children and rid the evil. The wolves lead them to the Halls of the Morah, the very heart of the evil that has taken control of the city. Here the children finally retrieve the voice of the wind singer, in the process waking the terrible Zars, army of the Morah. Pursued by the beautiful, evil and unstoppable Zars, the children race back to Aramanth while the wolves and eagles attempt to slow the Zara down. The children arrive just in time to return the wing singer’s voice. The voice allows the wind singer to emit a powerful song that destroys the Zars, and the people of Aramanth, finally free of the Morah, are happy again.