by Kate Constable
The Singer of All Songs
Scholastic, March, 2004.
Hardcover, 297 pages.
Ages Young Adult
There must be something in the water in Australia; the Aussie invasion of talented childrens' authors continues unabated with Kate Constable's The Singer of All Songs, the first entry in a spellbinding new fantasy series. Calwyn is a Daughter of Tarsis, a noviate in a convent of priestesses who are mistresses of the ice call, the power to control ice, wind and rain with song. The priestesses' duties include maintaining the giant and inpregnable Wall of ice that protects their idyllic valley of Antaris from the warring other nations of Tremaris. When a wounded Outlander named Darrow manages to breach the ice wall, Calwyn helps him to the infirmary. The stranger tries to tell the priestesses of a great danger that pursues him, but they dismiss his warnings as blasphemy. But Darrow's warning that the evil sorcerer Sanis is learning all Nine Chantments that control the world is all too true. So Calwyn helps him escape, leaving behind the valley that has been her home all of her life.
A richly-imagined fantasy world provides an intriguing backdrop for the adventures of Calwyn and the other friends that she meets on her quest. Calwyn learns of the other Chantments which can control the wind, create fire and talk to animals, among other things. She also learns that the chanters are being hunted for their powers. There is a dose of hard-edged reality mixed in with the fantasy; Calwyn suffers losses and heartache, along with finding friendship and hints about the answers she seeks about her own past. Kate Constable is an author that American audiences are sure to embrace.
The Singer of All Songs is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the November-December, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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