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Literature: Wind on Fire
Modern(ish) fantasy series by William Nicholson, describing the lives of the Hath family and their quest to find the homeland. Consists of three books;

  1. The Wind Singer (2000)
  2. Slaves of the Mastery (2001)
  3. Firesong (2002)

The first book is set in the city of Aramanth, where hierarchy is decided solely on exam results for the age of 2 onwards. Kestrel and Bowman Hath, after being prosecuted by the head examiner, decide to find the key to the Wind Singer,a device in the centre of Aramanth which once made people happy. However, it was stolen and the city fell into depression.

Slaves of the Mastery is set a short time later, where Aramanth is no longer ruled by exams. However, the raiders of an empire called the Mastery destroy it and takes all the citizens of Aramanth as slaves. Kestrel is split up, and meets the representatives of a different kingdom, who are heading to the Mastery to marry their princess daughter to their prince son. Eventually, the Mastery is overthrown and the citizens begin to search for their homeland.

Firesong is about their journey to their homeland. And without giving away everything, we can say very little else.


This series contains examples of:

  • Abduction Is Love
  • Adorkable: Bowman. Mumpo. Hanno. Ortiz. It seems as though most main male characters will have their fair share of the spotlight in this category.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0-2, it's hard to tell, but from a glimpse near the end of Wind on Fire things look pretty desperate.
  • Arranged Marriage: Sisi and Ortiz. It's entirely politically motivated.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The ultimate fate of all the Singer People, including Kestrel.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The endless legion of the Zars cross a chasm by marching across their own dead.
  • The Atoner: Bowman by the end of Slaves of the Mastery.
  • Bad Ass Family: The Haths (and their adopted kin, Mumpo, Sisi, and Emperor Creoth).
  • Base on Wheels: The warring desert cities of Omchaka and Ombaraka.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted in Slaves Of The Mastery.
  • Berserk Button: Try to separate Bowman and Kestrel and it won't turn out well for you. Ira Hath will defend any and all members of her family viciously. And let's not forget Pinto's Embarrassing Nickname from back in the day.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Half the cast falls victim to this trope at one point or another.
  • Break the Cutie: The first book was beautiful in its childish glory, containing a few disturbing elements. However, childhoods are shredded to pieces from the second book onward and we're looking at some serious Gorn when the Mastery seizes Aramanth, and the manaxa, and the monkey cages, and let's not forget the grand finale. Bowman goes from a timid boy lost in his sister's shadow to the destroyer of the Master's civilisation. Kestrel goes from a rebellious young girl to being the avenger, caught up in what seems like a million unending love triangles. Mumpo goes from a friendless screw-up to a masterful killer. And Sisi goes from a ditzy, sheltered princess to a stern-faced queen-in-exile.
  • Broken Aesop: Bowman, Kestrel, and their friend Mumpo spend the first book learning that if they work together, they can make things happen and nothing can hurt them. In the book's two parallel plots, the twin's father convinces downtrodden people that they need to stand up and peacefully insist on being given their rights, and their mother makes her views heard and gets the town to listen to her and consider her ideas. Then... the MacGuffin shows up and makes it all better. Or at least makes them happy for the remainder of the book.
  • Character Development: Quite a smidgen here-and-there, notably Sisi and Mumpo.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Mumpo's puppy-like adoration for Kestrel develops into something more serious as the kids reach marriageable age. It is, however, completely unrequited.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: "If you tell anything you've heard here, I'll have your tongues pulled out, and rabbits' heads pushed into your mouths, and your lips sewn up." - Princess Sisi. She later disembowels a young man with a steak knife—in self-defense, of course.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Bowman - at least when it comes to Sisi. Vice versa in the Kestrel and Ortiz scenario. She's not just clueless - she's totally oblivious.
  • Cool Old Guy: Creoth and post-Mastery Albard.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Mumpo might never have taken any notice of Pinto if it weren't for Kestrel's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Decade Dissonance: The world appears to be quite out of whack technologically. Aramanth is implied to be rather technolgically advanced in The Wind Singer, as does the Mastery in Slaves of the Mastery, yet the primary mode of transportation seems to be horse and carriage, with civilizations becoming ever-more ramschackle and sparse the farther out from Aramanth you go.
  • Determinator: Kestrel, who often gets by on her stubborn determination alone.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Maslo Inch in The Wind Singer.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The Zars are an army of beautiful boys and girls who slaughter anything in their path with smiles on their faces.
  • Distant Finale
  • Does Not Like Men: Kestrel.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Pinto despises her baby-name from the first book, Pin-Pin.
  • The Empire: The Mastery
  • Happiness in Slavery: Despite being taken from Aramanth by force and having several of their fellows brutally burned to death in cages, many of the Manth people choose to stay behind in the Mastery simply because it offers an easier, more peaceful and stable life than travelling the long journey to the Homeland with the others.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kestrel, though only her physical body; her spirit becomes one with her twin brother, Bowman, which may lead one to wonder (only in the name of practicality, of course,) just where her spirit goes when he's getting busy with the missus...
  • Hive Mind: The Zars
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Mumpo and Pinto, towards the end of Firesong.
  • I Am Legion: The army of the Zars.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food
  • In Love with the Mark: Ortiz. Although he doesn't know it.
  • The Kingdom: Gang, or at least it's implied to be (it's never seen in the trilogy).
  • Mind over Matter
  • May-December Romance: A fairly mild version crops up in the Distant Finale.
  • Messianic Archetype: Played with: Bowman is set up to be one, but he's stopped on the threshold of actually saving the world by Kestrel, who does it in his place.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Pinto attempts this while Brainwashed and Crazy. Oritz is the hypotenuse of no less than three simultaneously overlapping love triangles. Guess what happens to him?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By restoring the voice of the Wind Singer and cleansing the Morah's influence over Aramanth, Kestrel, Bowman, and Mumpo inadvertently condemn the city to destruction at the hands of the Mastery.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Kestrel and Bowman. (Possibly Pinto, but she's never explicitly described as such.)
  • Rags to Royalty: Bowman, who becomes the "Bowmana of Gang" after marrying Sisi and helping her apparently reclaim her family's empire during the Time Skip between the climax and epilogue of Firesong.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Kestrel and Sisi.
  • Settle for Sibling: Since Kestrel no longer exists in a physical form, Mumpo settles for her younger sister Pinto instead.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Princess Sisi, though she changes after the end of Slaves of the Mastery.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Despite the occasional threat of ordering someone's eyes to be gouged out, Sisi is generally a sweet-natured, loving girl.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Maslo Inch, who's burned to death by the Mastery in the opening chapter of Slaves of the Mastery.
  • The Empath: Bowman can use his powers to understand people on a subconscious level and have mind-to-mind combat with other empaths such as the Master. The downside is that he is easily affected by the feelings of those around him.
  • The Force
  • The Load: Mumpo may have his moments in The Wind Singer, but boy does that change.
  • The Migration: in Firesong the Manth, their old home destroyed, travel across the continent to seek a prophesied homeland.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Just about all the main characters over the trilogy, some combat based and others gaining wisdom and maturity. Munpo and Sisi probably have the greatest.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Rufy Blesh
  • Warrior Poet: Rufy again, though he was a poet first and a warrior later.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Pinto in Slaves Of The Mastery and moreso in Firesong. It's easy to forget she's seven.

Wind And SparksFantasy LiteratureThe Windrose Chronicles
Wildwood DancingLiterature of the 2000sThe Windup Girl

alternative title(s): Wind On Fire
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