Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


***The Singer of All Songs

by Kate Constable

Reviewed June 23, 2004.
Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic), New York, 2004.  297 pages.

Here’s a lovely fantasy by a new author who shows lots of promise.

Kate Constable brings us smoothly into a world where magic is performed by chantments.  (I love that word.  It speaks of both enchantments and chants, and that’s the way the magic works, with the power of song.)  Calwyn is training to be a priestess, using chantments with the other Daughters of Taris to strengthen the great Wall of ice, the Wall that has always enclosed her world.

Then she finds an injured stranger, a stranger who says he has flown over the Wall.  Calwyn learns, when she talks with the high priestess, that they have long feared that she would be like her mother, who went outside the Wall, and only returned to leave baby Calwyn with the priestesses.

The stranger tells her that someone is hunting him, a man named Samis, who wants to become the Singer of all Songs.  He wants to learn the nine different powers of chantments, of which the Power of Ice is only one.

When Samis gets through the Wall, Calwyn sets out with the stranger.  First, they are trying to escape Samis, but they end up on a quest trying to stop him, trying to gather together people with the nine ancient powers to overthrow him in his quest for power.

I did enjoy this book, but I never felt very close to the hearts of the characters.  As with A Great and Terrible Beauty, I’m not sure I quite understood the magic involved in the big climax and confrontation with the enemy, or what, exactly, happened.  Still, the world, with its magic of song and people who are forgetting the ancient ways, was an intriguing one.  What did it mean that Calwyn could master some of the other Powers so quickly and easily?  I believe that this book is only the first in a planned series, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Calwyn and her interesting world.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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