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Literature / Chanters of Tremaris

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For her entire life, Calwyn has lived among the priestesses in the city of Antaris, which is surrounded by a wall of pure ice created and perserved by the priestesses via chantments (or magical singing that allows them (in this case) to summon ice ('ice call')). One day, while singing her chantments to mend the Wall, she comes across an injured stranger named Darrow. Soon she finds herself joining him on a journey to stop Samis, a powerful singer of chantments whose goal is to learn all nine songs from the Nine Powers in order to conquer the world and unify it under one ruler—himself.


There are three books in the Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy by Kate Constable.

  • The Singer of All Songs
  • The Waterless Sea
  • The Tenth Power

Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: They have 'em in Gellan.
  • A House Divided: The crew of the Fledgewing, after Xanni dies.
  • An Ice Person: The Daughters of Taris, priestesses who learn the art of ice-call, or ice chantments.
  • Annoying Arrows: Double subverted. Mica is extremely worried when Trout takes an arrow in the ribs, but he's able to run and get Calwyn perfectly fine afterward.
  • Anti-Hero: Calwyn is this at the beginning of The Tenth Power. While still morally good, she is bitter and cruel, even to her friends.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Trout dishes out a lot of this in The Singer of All Songs.
  • Badass Normal: Xanni and Tonno, the sailors who have kept the Fledgewing seaworthy; Trout, who especially comes in handy at the end, when he destroys the orb absorbing all the Nine Powers that Samis wants.
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  • Berserk Button: The pirate captain makes the mistake of insulting Mica's grandmother. Idiot.
  • Break the Haughty: Tamen gets this.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Keela and Samis (although only half-siblings) are accused of this. Keela doesn't really deny it, but it's not officially confirmed, either.
  • Brown Note: The Shadow Chanments are a downplayed example of this. While they don't cause true insanity, they worm around in your brain, making you nauseous and uneasy.
  • But Not Too Black: Subverted with Halasaa.
  • Call-Back: In The Tenth Power, Mica references the first time Calwyn showed her ice, an event which occurred in the first book.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Trout suffered the effects of an experiment gone bad in his past, culminating in an explosion that left him deaf to sounds above a certain range in pitch. This fact comes back to haunt Samis, whose favourite tactic and primarily feared ability is to use the extremely high-pitched chantments of Seeming (read: illusion).
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  • The Chessmaster: Keela, of all people, plays a short-term one towards the beginning of The Tenth Power. Samis also does this, and his plans are more complex.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Trout's exclamation of, "What are you doing? This is no time to start singing!" Justified, as he doesn't know chantments are actually real at that point.
  • Cool Airship: The entire City of Spareth turns out to be one of these in disguise.
  • Crossing the Desert: The second book has the characters cross one to reach the Palace of Cobwebs.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Mica has blond hair and gold eyes.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Darrow has one.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Ice-call is the power of dark, cold, and death, but it's still not evil at all. Heck, our protagonist is an ice priestess.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Mica is described both as blond and tan.
  • Decadent Court: In The Palace of Cobwebs.
  • Death by Despair: Halasaa and Calwyn's father.
  • Death by Childbirth: The priestesses of Antaris have a song honoring those who die this way. It's also sung for those sealed into the wall.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mica isn't very fond of Calwyn, at first.
  • Discard and Draw: At the end of The Waterless Sea when Calwyn over exerts herself and wakes up unable to make anything happen with her chantment.
  • Distracted from Death: A chapter starts out in Mica's POV, then switches to Calwyn's. Two pages later, Mica is dead and we missed it.
  • Divine Race Lift: Calwyn is priestess to a female deity.
  • Does Not Like Men: Many of the priestesses.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Lia doesn't want anyone pitying her for being crippled.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tamen.
  • Elemental Powers: The Nine Powers, depending on how far you've gotten through the last book. Ice/Darkness, Fire/Light, Wind, Iron,—hold on, now—Becoming, Tongue, Beasts, Seeming, and Goddess/the Great Power/the Power of all that is. The Tenth Power: is the awesome might of writing in general, and musical notation in the specific, which grants the world of Tremaris the ability to record and teach the chantments without resorting to oral tradition and memory.
  • Fantastic Racism: People who have knowledge of chantments aren't exactly loved...
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flashback: Used to flesh out Darrow's past. Mostly in the form of Troubled Backstory Flashback.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Trout starts out scorning the idea of chantments and the gods, even after being attacked by Samis. Although this is a Justified Trope, as he can't hear high-pitched sounds like the Power of Seeming due to an accident, so the chantments didn't affect him. Eventually, he gets better.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: During the pirate raid, Trout grabs two saucepans as weapons.
  • Funetik Aksent: Mica has a very mild one.
  • Genki Girl: Gilly. Interestingly enough, she's still portrayed as practical, at least after some Character Development.
    • Keela also acts this way, sometimes.
  • Glamour Failure: Samis' Power of Seeming is unable to affect Trout because an explosive accident from his past left him unable to hear sounds above a certain range. With the songs of seeming being the highest pitched Powers, ranging about falsetto, he does not even notice the chantment going on.
  • Taris Is Good
  • Greater Need Than Mine: Trout stops Calwyn from treating him to direct her attention to Mica.
  • Grief Song: We're in a world of singers, of course.
  • Healing Hands: People can use the Power of Becoming in this way.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tonno falls into a mild one of these after his brother dies.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Xanni gets killed while trying to save Calwyn and Trout from Samis. His brother, Tonno, doesn't take it too well.
  • Heroic Suicide: Athala poisons herself so her body can be sealed into the wall and hopefully stop the spread of illness. Others presumably did the same, although the reader doesn't see it happen.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Keela. A Justified Trope, as it's at least partly due to her personality being magically rewritten.
  • Human Sacrifice: The priestesses of Taris apparently do this, at least to trespassers.
  • Infodump: Marna's lecture to Calwyn about the other Powers gives us a lot of information in not a lot of time.
  • It's All About Me: Mica accuses Calwyn of this in The Tenth Power.
  • Killed Off for Real: Xanni, Marna, and Mica.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Tonno and Keela.
  • Long Lost Sibling: Quasi-Subverted in that Calwyn and Halasaa look nothing like each other.
  • Love Epiphany: Trout to Mica, when she dies.
  • Magic Dance: The Power of Becoming
  • Magic Music: The other Powers of ~ (Ice, Fire, Iron, etc.). The Chanters of Tremaris aren't called such because they just like to engage in a little singing while not on their adventures.
  • The Magocracy: Antaris is ruled by the priestesses, who all have the Power of Ice. Because of this it is also a...
  • Matriarchy: since men are generally incapable of singing the high notes necessary for Ice Call.
  • May–December Romance: Occcurs between Calwyn (16 or 17) and Darrow (late 20s to 30), though on the cover art of The Tenth Power he appears a bit younger. Also occurs briefly between Calwyn and Samis. He's nearly forty...
  • Messy Hair: Trout sports this to go with his 'absentminded inventor' persona.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Halasaa and Calwyn are half Tree Person, half Voiced One. He also faces Half-Breed Discrimination for it.
  • Motor Mouth:
    "That woman can't keep her mouth shut long enough to take a breath."
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: It's originally thought that only one individual in the whole world, the eponymous Singer of All Songs, had the power to learn every chantment.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: In a variation, Calwyn declines to speak ill of the soon-to-be-dead, but then subverts it by coming out with it later, anyway.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The crew of the Fledgwing fights their way to the tower where Samis is in order to take him down, only to find the Chantments they used have been helping him to bring the Nine Powers under his control.
    • Tamen also does this, by splitting the wheel in order to give part to Samis to convince him to leave.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Justified in that the Palace of Cobwebs didn't actually have anything holding it up other than continuous ironcraft. Generally things will continue to exist after being sung into that state (i.e. the Ice Wall around Antaris, which has to be maintained but doesn't automatically vanish).
  • Noble Savages: The Tree People.
  • Official Couple: Calwyn and Darrow, of course. With Keela and Tonno their Beta Couple.
  • Oh My Gods!: Calwyn uses "For the sake of the Goddess!"
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Darrow doesn't remember his real name because everyone from his early childhood called him 'Mouse'. His current name is even just a contraction of another nickname, 'Gold Arrow', the name of his family's boat.
  • Parental Substitute: Marna and Mica's grandmother for Calwyn and Mica respectively.
  • Planet of Hats: Many of the countries are depicted this way.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Tree People.
  • Psychic Powers: The Tree People's form of communication involves talking telepathically into people's minds.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Keela frequently displays shades of this.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Samis-fighting crew of the Fledgewing is pretty much patched together of whomever they happened to meet and save the life of on the way.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Trout tries to do this soon after his arrival on the Fledgewing.
  • Ship Tease: Calwyn and Darrow get this, in the first book especially.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Between Xanni and Tonno, the former being easy-going and light-hearted and the latter being more serious and down to earth.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The vast majority of the series is third-person limited point of view centering on Calwyn. However, Darrow and Trout also get turns when Constable needs to show a scene for which Calwyn is absent.
  • Taking The Flying Knife: Xanni does this to save Darrow.
  • The Theocracy: Antaris is ruled by its priestesses.
  • Thirsty Desert: In The Waterless Sea.
  • Token Minority: Mica and Halasaa are the only main characters described as tan and dark, respectively.
  • True Companions: Calwyn & Co.
  • Tsundere: Mica.
  • The Wall Around the World: The above mentioned giant ice wall that surrounds Antaris.
  • They Do: Calwyn and Darrow, eventually.
  • Witch Species: Played with. At first it seems assumed magic is inherited (Mica thinks Calwyn must have island blood to sing the chantments of wind), but later it appears everyone can learn all magic.
  • We Can Rule Together: Samis offers this to Calwyn. She refuses.
    • He also first said this to Darrow.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mica calls Calwyn out for wanting to give up the fight against Samis.
  • Wham Line: "Not me! MICA!"
    • And from The Singer of All Songs: "The attack came without warning."
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Keela. But she employs a turban and some colored contacts instead.
  • Woman Scorned: Keela again, who pretends to defect after Samis "tries to kill her". But it's all a ruse, of course.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Subverted. Calwyn comes home to a very, very changed Antaris and has to hide from Tamen in a barn, but soon her home is returned to more or less its old state.


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