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Firesong [Paperback]

William Nicholson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 10 2009 The Wind on Fire Trilogy (Book 3)
The final book in William Nicholson's award-winning epic fantasy series, Wind on Fire. 'Gloriously cinematic and completely enthralling' - Independent In the time of cruelty, the Manth people march back to their homeland. Ira Hath is the only one who knows the way, but she is dying. Bowman eagerly awaits his calling to join the Singer people, but when Kestrel is taken by bandits, he must use his powers to find her. Together they fight, until their destinies tear them apart. And all the while they wait for the wind to rise. Only one will sing the firesong ...Fantasy books for children don't get more spectacular than Firesong. Since first publication, William Nicholson's Wind on Fire trilogy has been translated into over 25 languages and won prizes including the Blue Peter Book Award and Smarties Prize Gold Award. One of the greatest writers of our time, William Nicholson's has not only sold millions of children's books worldwide, he also written for the screen and the stage, including the Oscar-winning film Gladiator and the BAFTA-winning play Shadowlands.

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From Amazon

Firesong is what publishers like to call an "event" book. Launched with huge razzmatazz, this weighty--at 350-plus pages--yet highly readable novel is a fitting conclusion to the story of the Manth people, and their long, dangerous and imaginative journey, Moses-like in scale, to a new and promised land. Highly-anticipated final books in big fantasy trilogies don't come much bigger than this and, reassuringly, William Nicholson's concluding instalment of his Wind on Fire sequence lives up to the immense expectation established by its excellent and award-winning predecessors The Wind Singer and Slaves of the Mastery.

The story picks up with the flight of the Hath family, and their crew of other willing Manth families and friends, away from the ruined Mastery. After the defeat of the Master, alone and displaced, they seek a new homeland but have no real destination and very little food. Ira Hath leads the way, prophesising their eventual success but also her own, sad demise. Bowman and Kestrel Hath, brother and sister, carry burdens of their own. Bowman, in particular, is anxious. He awaits a summons from the Sirene, and must make a great sacrifice for his people. The journey is long, and his preparation is tough--especially in the unforgiving hands of an unexpected teacher.

As with the previous two volumes, there are some wonderfully exciting moments of action, as well as vivid landscapes and colourful characters. Last time it was Mumpo in gladiatorial combat--this time it is the dramatic attempted rescue of the Manth women who fall into the grubby hands of a desert people.

So after all of this, the ending is definitely worth waiting for--and very emotional. There are some surprising twists and turns, and a truly satisfying conclusion. Yet, despite all three books being so immensely well-written and popular, it remains to be seen whether or not this author will continue to write novels for children as well as screenplays for Hollywood (his other job). Write to your MP if he doesn't, but make sure you read his next book if he does. (Ages 10 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With Firesong, author William Nicholson brings the Wind on Fire trilogy, begun with The Wind Singer, to a close. Led by their prophetess mother, twins Bowman and Kestrel travel with the Manth people to their promised land, struggling along the way Bowman with desire, and Kestrel with the troubling realization that she cannot foresee life beyond this journey. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Series Sept. 26 2013
By Megan K
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great end to a great series! This book ties off the story very well. I place this series pretty close to the level of Harry Potter in terms of how good I think it is. It's an awesome book series, and I highly recommend it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Trilogy Ever! Nov. 4 2004
Format:Hardcover
I've read a lot and even though I don't have much time to describe this book, I must say it is the best trilogy ever, even beating The Lord Of The rings. Best money ever spent!
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5.0 out of 5 stars good can come from evil Sept. 16 2003
Format:Hardcover
Nowadays many books for children, like Harry Potter or the Golden Compass books, focus on societies or people that are wholly good or bad, and act accordingly. What captured me about this trilogy was the concept that oppressive societies, slavery, and other cruelties can be the calalyst for goodness, artistic beauty, and personal growth and understanding. Although this is closer to reality, it is refreshingly painted in an unambiguous, stark style that is compelling without being overpowering. The children are clever and confront challenges with creative, bold action. A wonderful story with great inspiration hidden under the edges. Recommended for kids in 6th grade or so.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book Ever!!! March 10 2003
Format:Paperback
I Love this book!! Is the best!!! William Nicholson has done a great job with the trilogy 'The Wind on Fire' I highly recomed this book to persons that likes fanstasy. If you want to read this book make sure you read the 1st book (Wind Singer) first and then the 2nd one (Slaves of the Mastery) and after this one. If you dont you might be confused. Trust me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THAT is a good book! April 26 2003
By Sarah Gilmour - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ok im only 13 years old and it wasnt a struggle to read at all. I cant write very good rewievs, so make sure you read all the other ones written by intelligent and extremely helpful people. I just want to say if you are thinking of buying this book go RIGHT AHEAD! i guarantee you will not be dissapointed. The characters are all brilliant. I have written books myself but i have never got so involved witht he characters emotions and feelings before. It even made me cry- which i dont often do. I keep reading it again and again and again. Im still not bored of it just sad that it's ended.I rate this book a well deserved 5 out of 5! It is extremely gripping, adventurous and jam packed with stuff. PLEASE read it, especially if you have read the other two in the trilogy. If you like teen books like artemis fowl, his dark materials ect you will LOVE this. It is even better! The ending isn't absolutely great as it is a bit soppy but who cares??? Its... its... its...amazing! INGENIOUS!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good can come from evil Sept. 16 2003
By ellen close - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Nowadays many books for children, like Harry Potter or the Golden Compass books, focus on societies or people that are wholly good or bad, and act accordingly. What captured me about this trilogy was the concept that oppressive societies, slavery, and other cruelties can be the catalyst for goodness, artistic beauty, and personal growth and understanding. Although this is closer to reality, it is refreshingly painted in an unambiguous, stark style that is compelling without being overpowering. The children are clever and confront challenges with creative, bold action. A wonderful story with great inspiration hidden under the edges. Recommended for kids in 6th grade or so.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Cruel, Undying April 10 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is insane.
There's no point trying to read the third book without the first two, because they build to the beauty of the trilogy. Actually, I read the first book in fourth grade when I was nine and I loved it because it was funny and awe-inspiring. Last year, at age eleven, I remembered the first book and I came here to buy the other do, impulsively. The second book was not immature. Each scene was beautiful in its own way, with titles like "Terror at Dawn" that were very symbolic in deeper ways. You started to see the beauty of Kestrel and Bowman's connection and how much they needed each other. The action wasn't what turned me on about the book, but the pure beauty of what was happening. The third book was a great ending. The Wind of Fire was so beautiful it made me cry. You must find out what that is.
One word to describe this book: beautiful.
WHERE BROOKLYN AT!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest trick the devil ever pulled Sept. 28 2007
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Children's books about the horrors of standardized testing are increasingly popular these days. From Edward Bloor's well-intentioned, Story Time to The Report Card by the otherwise talented Andrew Clements, these books have attempted to capture the dangers of this destructive teaching tool. Both books have fallen short, leaving some people to wonder if there could ever be a book that discusses this controversial subject well. What few people know is that there's a fantastic well-written and beautifully put together fantasy series that begins with the horrific results of what happens when a society bases all decisions on testing. Regular methodical testing. In William Nicholson's, "The Wind Singer", (the first in his "Wind On Fire" trilogy), the term "distopia" takes on a whole new look and meaning. In a book that is simultaneously wise, beautifully penned, and deeply moving, "The Wind Singer", gets to the bottom of rigid test-based communities and show us a great worst-case scenario.

Aramanth is a community that loves its tests. Living by the daily pledge, "I vow to strive harder, to reach higher, and in every way to seek to make tomorrow better than today", its citizens embody the ultimate caste system. Based on strict standardized testing, people live according to how well they test. The nicest homes belong to those members of society that answer quizzes effectively and intelligently. For those people who don't like tests or don't do well on them for a variety of reasons, they live on the bottom rungs of society. There's very little rebellion in Aramanth due to its rigid control of any possible insubordination on the part of its citizens. That is, until the day little Kestrel Hath decides that she doesn't want to live in a world based on testing anymore. Suddenly she's endangered her family and herself. There seems no escape from Aramanth's rules and regulations, until the ancient Emperor, a disused ruler, tells Kestral about the Wind Singer. This gigantic and ancient construction of pipes that towers over the town was once given the ability to sing to its citizens, calming their hearts and making them happy. When the key to the Wind Singer's voice was stolen, the society became cold and hardened into its current state. With her twin brother Bowman and their initially unwanted tagalong Mumpo at her side, Kestral and company embark on a quest to save Aramanth from itself once and for all.

I nominate this book for the title, Perfect Distopian Novel. I've not fallen for a fabulous fantasy in a long time, and this book has everything you could want in it. A great (and little used) moral. Characters you care about deeply. A gripping plot. Everything. I greatly appreciated that the parents of the heroes in this book were not only both alive (not usually the case in fantasies) but also active, amusing, and subversive aids to their kids' efforts. Too often parents fret and flail in children's novels, adding nothing to the story but woe. In this book Mr. and Mrs. Hath recognize the quest their children are on and decide to raise a little hooplah in Aramanth on their own. The results are quite fabulous. I was also impressed by the character of Mumpo. A developmentally challenged boy who loves the Hath twins desperately, Mumpo could easily have been a kind of mock-Forest Gump character, spouting simple platitudes and giving everyone around him a patented new lookout on life. Ugh. There's a little of that, but Nicholson is clever enough to know how to give Mumpo more complexity than Mr. Gump. His character learns and grows (sometimes frighteningly) through his experiences and his very existence makes the twins kinder people through his presence.

There are an awful lot of other great moments in this story, though. For one thing, I think it contains the scariest evil army I've ever read. You can keep your The Lord of the Rings-type orcs and goblins. I personally believe that the army of the Zars, a relentlessly cheery troop of endless, young, white-suited, peppy people given to singing "Kill Kill Kill" at the top of their voices, is the most horrifying group to ever appear in a children's book. The Zars are rivaled in evil, however, by a prematurely old group of children with the ability to suck the youth out of anyone they touch. Worst of all is the evil spirit-lord, the Morah. The Morah has long since convinced the citizens of Aramanth that he's a myth. It reminds me of the quote, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist". With these incredibly awful foes, it's a wonder Kestrel and Bowman keep their wits about them. Finally, the book has a deep emotional core that I think will be appreciated by all readers. The Hath family is very loving and caring. The bond between the twins is deep and Nicholson deftly portrays the depths of Mumpo's loneliness and despair. Plus the book has an amazing array of different worlds through which the kids travel. From the deep mud world below Aramanth to a traveling city on wheels (somewhat similar those found in the more recent Hungry City Chronicles by fellow Brit, Phillip Reeve), Nicholson creates new fantastical universes out of thin air. The result is a book that'll have you continually reading for hours on end, unable to stop even part way through.

The most recommended fantasy book in schools nation-wide is undeniably Lois Lowry's, The Giver. I suggest that, as good as it is, we give, "The Giver", a break for once and encourage our kids to read "The Wind Singer" instead. Those children that suffer under the strain of repeated testing will appreciate the book's strong message. Children who like great action sequences and heightened danger will fall for the book's fast-paced escapes and battles. And those children that simply like a good story with good writing will be entranced. I say with conviction that this is probably one of the strongest British fantasy book for children written in the twenty-first century. It's simply the best.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SPECTRUM Children's Book Club Recommendation Dec 10 2003
By BookBuzz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reading Level: Young Adult
The final book of the Wind on Fire trilogy is firesong. Unlike the gap between books one and two, Firesong begins only a short time after the fateful events in the Mastery. The rich literary heritage of this story continues as the Manth people, lead by the Hath family, embark on their epic exodus from slavery as they wander the wastelands of a disintegrating world, in search of their homeland and safety. It is an odyssey that has challenges of character and trials of trust and faith worthy of biblical or classical Greek heros.
After reading the three books I have modified my view about the lack of depth to the main characters. I never felt the humanity of Bo or Kestral in the same way as I felt for say, Harry Potter or Lyra, the heroine of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. But then, the Hath family is cut from a different mold. They are descendents of mythic heros like Moses, Hercules, Oedipus, and Sir Gawain. In the end, The Wind on Fire is about deeds, choices, and fate.
If your child likes this story, I would serve well as a springboard into re-tellings of other classic epics like The Iliad, The Odyssey,or the Knights of the Round Table.
- KB Shaw, Publisher
SPECTRUM Children's Book Club
[...]
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