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In Aramanth, exams are everything, deciding where people should live and what they should wear. When Kestrel rebels, her family are sentenced to the harshest punishment. In order to save them and to restore happiness to Aramanth, Kestrel knows she must restore the voice of the wind singer, an ancient statue standing in the city’s square. She embarks on this dangerous mission with Bowman, her twin, and along the way they encounter Mumpo, the silly, smelly school dunce who adores Kestrel. Their daring journey encompasses the Mudpeople, the malevolent Old Children and bloodthirsty desert tribes.

My local library was never very good. It’s not bright, or welcoming. I have no fond memories of a librarian who suggested things to me, or did storytime, or whatever. I didn’t discover favourite authors there, but I did read a lot of the older children’s section, just working my way through in the hope that I would find something I liked. The Wind Singer, and the rest of The Wind On Fire trilogy, was an example of that selection process, and I think I read it when I was about 10. I forgot about it for years, until I noticed that we had it at work, and thought about re-reading it, but I didn’t get round to it until I was choosing kindle books for my summer holidays. I read it on the train between Ljubljana and Zagreb, and enjoyed it even more than I hoped to, between watching exceptionally beautiful countryside slip by. It’s such an original, clever story, with incredible world-building and character development. The main characters are fantastic, easy to identify with, which is crucial to children’s books, and I’m determined to keep it in mind for the next time someone asks me to recommend a book for a young person.

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