Everyone is on a journey. Everyone needs to learn how to be brave, and resourceful, and kind. The world is full of cruelty and danger, but it is also filled with unexpected magic and wonder, and it is those who are open to the possibility of magic who triumph in the end. These are the lessons that fairy tales teach, and though not all fantasy writing sticks to the fairy tale rules, I would argue that fantasy can confer the same benefits on its readers. --Kate Constable
Fortunately for us, after trying unsuccessfully to write realistic novels, Kate Constable turned to fantasy and gave us something fresh and new in that genre. I just finished reading The Singer of All Songs and enjoyed it very much. How interesting that I had never noticed the word “chant” in the middle of the word “enchantment.” If you enjoyed the Earthsea novels by Ursula LeGuin, you will enjoy this one.
Calwyn is a novice priestess and she is pulled from her cloistered world by Darrow, a young wizard of sorts, who needs rescuing. In the world of Tremaris there are many forms of chantments, and they are practiced in different lands, although they have become frowned on and even banned in some. Calwyn has led a sheltered and privileged life, raised by the priestesses in Antares who sing a chantment which raises a ring of ice which protects their lands. Calwyn chafes somewhat under the restrictions placed on her and wonders what lies beyond the walls. And then one day while singing the wall, she finds a young man lying injured in her path who claims to have flown over the wall.
Darrow said quietly, “Thank you for all you have done for me, Calwyn. Perhaps we shall meet again someday.”
For a moment Darrow seemed about to say something more, but then he turned toward the river. She watched him plunge into the water, holding his stick above his head. Already the river had seized him in its current; soon he would be carried beyond the Wall and into the Outlands. Once more he would roam the world, and sail the wide seas in those boats of his, while she was locked inside the gray walls of Antaris, watching the moons wheel overhead and the seasons come and go, every day the same as the one that had gone before. And she would never see him again––
Abruptly she thrust the little globe deep into her pocket
“Wait!” she cried, stumbling down the slippery bank. And then she was in the water.
This is a great story for young adults. It is easy to follow and the characters are easy to like. I hope that the author does a better job of developing the character of Darrow in the next novel. My only complaint was that he was constantly terse, troubled and thinking too deep thoughts to be troubled to communicate with Calwyn. I thought the brooding hero thing was a bit overdone. All in all, I think the author has done a better job with her female characters than with the men, but she has such a nice lyrical touch in her writing that I am willing to forgive her this and hope that more will be revealed of his character in the following books. Ah well, if there were no obstacles to the course of true love, the story would be over too soon and I am looking forward to immersing myself in the rest of this story.